September 21, 2012

Thinking on God's Holiness - Part 2

Yesterday's post dived into the subject of God's holiness and asked the question "Have God's expectations for His people have changed since the Old Testament?"  I have come to the conclusion that God is as holy as He was 5,000 years ago because God never changes.  I do not believe His expectations for His people to live differently from the rest of the world have changed.  We ended yesterday with the sobering reminder that Christians have become so afraid of what the world thinks of us until we no longer separate ourselves from it.  Christians DO NOT WANT to be different anymore.  What are God's expectations for the New Testament Christian?   I have been studying this throughout the summer because I needed some answers for myself.

First of all, I believe it is important to point out that God works on the inside first

 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. Luke 6:45

The Bible clearly teaches that what is in our heart will eventually come out through our words and actions.  Christians whose constant thoughts are of our holy God, our great Creator, our suffering Savior, and our sinful ways will constantly be bringing our thoughts and actions under control so that they will not displease or shame our Savior in any way.  A Christian whose focus has become the pleasures of world and self will not be as concerned that his outward actions separate him from the world who so hates the Savior.  He may try to be a good person, but he is not striving to be truly without sin in an effort to be completely, as much as is possible, like Jesus.

Once the Holy Spirit begins working on the inside, there are many commands given in the Bible for Christians to follow.  These are not requests; they are commands.  We live in a world of overwhelming information, and we all have developed a "take some, leave some" philosophy as we sift through it all. In reality, that is the only way our brains can process everything.  However, the Bible is not a "take some, leave some" book.  If we are Christians, we must take everything - literally and wholeheartedly - and apply it to our lives in every way.  Do I do this?  Sadly, no!  I try - desperately, I try, but we live in a world bound by sin, and we ourselves, even though we have been bought by Jesus Christ, still fall into the temptations of the world and our own flesh.  This takes us back to the heart.  God sees our true desires.  He knows where we long to be.  He can see whether or not our goal and focus is to become like Him.  Are we doing our part?  Are we obeying the commands God gives us - commands such as not conforming to this world but renewing our minds (Romans 12:2), thinking only of true, honorable, pure, lovely, excellent things (Philippians 4:8), loving God with all our hearts (Matthew 22:37), denying ourselves that we may follow Him completely (Luke 9:23). Are we allowing God to change us on the inside in such a way that it cannot help but change us on the outside too?

In all of this, please do not misunderstand.  We cannot separate ourselves from the world so much that we cannot reach out to them.  Absolutely not!!! As a matter of fact, I believe we should make opportunities to be with those who are unsaved so that we can present our lives as a living witness of God's grace and salvation. But here is the truth, friends.  THE WORLD WANTS US TO BE DIFFERENT.  THE WORLD NEEDS US TO BE DIFFERENT!!!  We see all around us people who are searching for the answers to life. Many of them have "everything" but are still empty.  The best looking actress in the world who has spent millions of dollars and hundreds of hours on her appearance is still left broken-hearted when her husband leaves her for another woman.  People who have millions of dollars waste it on drugs and alcohol and end up spending most of their lives in and out of rehabs.  Why do we want to be like them?  How can we tell them about our Holy God if we are living in all the muck of sin with them? Why do we allow our lives to become shallow while pursuing things that will last such a short time in comparison to all of eternity.  When we finally see our Savior, we will all wish we had done more to bring glory to His name.  

I am thankful for God's forgiveness, for His love and for His mercy, but let's not deceive ourselves into thinking that the Bible is full of options for us, or that holiness and separation from the world is a choice.  It is a command, and it is a command that holds our Savior's name at stake. 

God, help me not to trample your grace by living life my way.  Help me not to waste this time you have given.  Help me not to shame or disgrace your Holy Name.  Help me always to remember the sinner I am and the great and Holy God You are.  Thank you for your love.  Thank you for your mercy, and thank you for Your grace and Holy Spirit that enables me to be holy as You are.

No comments:

Post a Comment