The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe...
Part II - His Holiness; Our Holiness
As we considered in yesterday's message, God always acts in accordance with His character and nature. He is perfectly and eternally holy, meaning He is so sanctified to His nature that He can only be who He is, and only do that which accords with His pristine moral integrity.
"As for God, His way is perfect… Thou art good, and doest good" (II Samuel 22:31; Psalm 119:168).
Interestingly, this truth also applies to born again believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Our Heavenly Father ever works to lead us to act in accordance with the "new creature" we are in Christ (II Corinthians 5:17).
"Ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord. Walk as children of light" (Ephesians 5:8).
Note the corollary. Just as God first is, and then acts, so believers are, and then should walk in accordance with our being. Note also the difference. We must be commanded by Scripture to live accordingly, whereas our Lord does so as a matter of nature and being. That is, He cannot act contrary to Himself. In our present earthly lives, conversely, Christians can and do sometimes live as if we are the ugly ducklings we were, rather than the swans we became when we trusted in Christ (thank you, Hans Christian Andersen!).
This is counterintuitive to our understanding. It often does not seem or feel that we are the new creatures Scripture definitively affirms us to be. Nor do we always live accordingly. Indeed, believers can still think, speak, act, and relate in ways of darkness no less sinful than unbelievers. Even a cursory reading of the New Testament epistles reveals that genuinely born again Christians often inexcusably wander from the path of righteousness. Consider the Corinthians, affirmed as temples of the Holy Spirit by the Apostle Paul, but also indicted by him as "yet carnal" (I Corinthians 6:19; 3:3). Our brothers of old were spiritual in being - "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit" - but they walked according to the flesh - "ye walk as men" (John 3:6; I Corinthians 3:3).
Growth in the Christian life thus involves our increasingly thinking, speaking, acting, and relating in accordance with who we most deeply are in Christ. "If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit" (Galatians 5:25). In our glorified, eternal state, we will be like our Father in the sense of always walking in accordance with our being. Presently, we are in the process that leads toward such perfect holiness. We are who we are in Christ, a gift of grace given to us in the moment we believed. Nothing changes, or can change our "new man, created in righteousness and true holiness" (Ephesians 4:24). The adventure and challenge of walking faithfully with God therefore calls us to more and more act in accordance with the truth of our spiritual being. "As He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy" (I Corinthians 1:15). Or rather, "As your Lord acts in accordance with who He is, act as who you are as His sons and daughters in Christ. Be in practice who you are in person."
How does this happen? We will consider this question in Part 3 of these messages.
"Ye are not in the flesh, but in the spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you."
"Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God."
(I Corinthians 6:9-11)
Weekly Memory Verse
"Thy Word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path."
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