Tag Archives: holiness

Confession

Confession

confessionI’m so glad that that we no longer live in the horrific age of the inquisition. In those days the Roman Catholic Church and the Pope held sway; any that dared challenge his authority and church dogma, refusing to recant, were horribly tortured in order to extract a confession and then burnt at the stake without mercy:

“Anyone who attempts to construe a personal view of God which conflicts with Church dogma must be burned without pity.” Pope Innocent III

What is confession?

Today, in modern times, the word confession is used more in the context of a criminal admitting to a crime, which interestingly enough – according to the principle in UK law called corpus delicti – isn’t on its own enough to convict.

Wikipedia defines confession as :

“A statement – made by a person or by a group of persons – acknowledging some personal fact that the person (or the group) would ostensibly prefer to keep hidden. The term presumes that the speaker is providing information that he believes the other party is not already aware of, and is frequently associated with an admission of a moral or legal wrong:”

Confession for a Catholic

For many though, the word conjures up the confession booth and the penitent confessing both mortal and venial (less serious) sins to a Roman Catholic priest in order to receive absolution. This is called the Sacrament of Penance.

By the way, Catholics believe that mortal sins, are those which if not forgiven before death, send a person to hell because they separate the person from God’s grace (go figure that one!) Sins such as: Murder, Adultery, Masturbation and deliberately missing Mass – amongst many other sins in the list!

The Bible has one category … sin!

Confession in the Old Testament.

Where do these Catholic ideas of confession come from then? Well to some extent they are modelled on Old Covenant biblical practices: Under the law, if you sinned, you came to the priest with a sacrifice and confessed your sin in order to receive forgiveness.

Leviticus 5:5 “And it shall be, when he shall be guilty in one of these things, that he shall confess (Hebrew ‘yadah’) that he hath sinned in that thing:”

Later on in the Bible, the people confessed as a nation for their sins:

Nehemiah 9:2 “And the seed of Israel separated themselves from all strangers, and stood and confessed their sins, and the iniquities of their fathers.”

It’s important to realise though, that ‘confess’ is not the only translation of the Hebrew word ‘yadah’, as in many contexts it means ‘to praise’ or ‘give thanks.’ In fact, this is where the name Judah comes from and is its first usage in the Bible:

Genesis 29:35 “And she conceived again, and bare a son: and she said, Now will I praise the LORD: therefore she called his name Judah; and left bearing.”

Confession for a Protestant

What about Protestant Evangelicals though, what do they believe? Well certainly they don’t believe that forgiveness of sins is administered by a priest. No, they believe that they have direct access to God and can therefore confess their sins privately whenever they wish – basing this on 1John 1:9.

Indeed, this kind of freedom and access to God, was intuitively understood by King David living thousands of years earlier under the law. Somehow he looked forward to the time when the believer could approach God directly without mediator or priest:

Psalm 32:5 “I acknowledged my sin unto thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid. I said, I will confess my transgressions unto the LORD; and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin. Selah.”

Of course, the Catholic might reasonably ask the Protestant: “how do you know you have been forgiven though?”

This is a good question. A Catholic believes that he or she knows that they are forgiven because they have received absolution from a priest. The Protestant … not so much?

That is why I believe, that 1 John 1:9 is not some miraculous bar of soap to be applied after sinning. No, under grace the believer confesses any sin knowing the certainty of total forgiveness.

Colossians 1:14 “In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins:”

Under the Law you confessed to get forgiven; under Grace you confess because you are forgiven!

By the way, the story of the prodigal son in Luke 15 brilliantly illustrates these ideas, as when he eventually returns home to his Father with his practiced confession and suggested penance, the Father has already forgiven him and instead showers him with love and affection that he doesn’t deserve. That’s grace for you!

Luke 15:18 “I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, And am no more worthy to be called thy son: make me as one of thy hired servants.”

New Covenant Confession

So then, what does New Covenant confession look like? Firstly, a conversion experience is accompanied by the confession of sin and repentance:

Acts 19:18 “And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.”

However, like the Hebrew word for confess, the word Greek word for confess ‘homologeo’ is not exclusively used in regards to sin either but simply means to agree or to say the same thing as another.

John uses the word extensively in his Epistle in regards to the believers confession or statement of faith:

1 John 4:15 “Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God.”

1 John 4:2 “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God:”

2 John 1:7 “For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist.”

The Apostle Paul also used the same word in the famous salvation passage:

Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess (aorist) with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession (present tense) is made unto salvation.”

Confession to one another.

Just to finish though, James also talks about confession but in the context of confessing sins to one another (not a priest).

James 5:15 “Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.”

What this verse is saying, is that if you have sinned against someone go and put it right – as Jesus explains in Matthew 18. Maybe though, James is thinking of when Abimelech inadvertently sinned against righteous Abraham?

Genesis 20:8 “Now therefore restore the man his wife; for he is a prophet, and he shall pray for thee, and thou shalt live: and if thou restore her not, know thou that thou shalt surely die, thou, and all that are thine.”

Read More:

What to do when you sin

Can you miss the grace of God?

Sinning wilfully

A driving analogy

Are future sins forgiven?

Total forgiveness

My Kindle books

Gods Grace Works BookLatest book Gods Grace Works Every Day

 Kindle book – Christ in You

Kindle book – Christ the End of Law

Facebook page

641 total views, no views today

A driving analogy

A driving analogy.

drivingIt’s tough passing a driving test these days. Get one major or serious fault and that’s it – your out. You failed. God’s standard – God’s law – is even harder though, and no one has ever been able to keep or attain this perfect standard without fault – except Jesus Christ. All have sinned and have come short of the glory (standard) of God.

Its a gift!

Imagine though, if you could pass the driving test as a gift – wouldn’t that be awesome! In fact, that is exactly what God has done for us spiritually through the free gift of righteousness obtained for us by Jesus Christ at the cross.

Romans 5:17 “For if by one man’s offence death reigned by one; much more they which receive abundance of grace and of the gift of righteousness shall reign in life by one, Jesus Christ.”

Consequently, this righteousness is imputed to us by faith (we just receive it). Romans 4:22. Therefore by faith, we are qualified and licensed to live righteously. We are justified in God’s eyes – although maybe not in the sight of men!

No condemnation

As Romans 8:1 says: “There is now therefore no condemnation for those in Christ Jesus. In other words, there is no ‘driving test’ or future judgement now or ever for those who receive the gift.

Can I drive?

If we obtained a driving license like this – it’s never going to happen in the UK thankfully – imagine the chaos, as technically and legally, it would mean that you could get in a car and drive without having any lessons. Would this be a wise or safe decision on the part of the government? No of course not. God however, is prepared to take the risk, but as we shall see later on, He doesn’t leave us on our own  – we are given our own personal coach.

The analogy also differs slightly in one important regard: In my illustration you are given a license but no ability to drive! Through new birth, the believer is not only legally righteous (you have a license to live righteously), you actually have been changed at the spirit-level. In other words, you are given the supernatural ability and desire to live righteously because Christ is in you. Formally you instinct was sin, now your instinct is righteousness. Therefore, you can drive to some degree without lessons!

We still need driving lessons?

However, even though now we have some ‘natural’ ability or shall we say spiritual ability, we still need to learn how to ‘work out’  this salvation and that is why God gives us our very own instructor or coach who comes to live with and in us. He is called the Helper or Holy Spirit and his title is apt. He is there to help and encourage.

This means though, that He is not going to do it all for you. I’m afraid you are  going to have to drive this car. You are in the driving seat. You have got to steer and use the various controls. Initially, He will tell you exactly what to do and how to do it, but as you grow in faith and ability He will back off, only intervening when necessary. Most of the time he will prompt you verbally:“have you seen that child about to cross the road ahead?”  Occasionally, He may intervene with the dual controls or grab the steering – if your getting into real danger – but his goal is to get you to do it!

The good news is: He’s there every step of the way and He will never leave you.

What happens when you make mistakes?

sorryDo you make mistakes when you learn to drive? Of course you do. In fact you learn by making them. This is the same in the christian life. Yes you are born again but even though you are declared righteous that doesn’t mean everything you do and say is going to be righteous – as you will soon find out from your wife, husband or children! It follows then, that when you are born again you still sin. The difference is how you deal with mistakes and the sin.

Again, this is where the role of the Holy Spirit is crucial. As an instructor, part of my role is to help the pupil identify and correct faults. I don’t point out every  fault though as that would be discouraging! In fact, I try to spend more time encouraging and affirming the pupil – as no one enjoys correction!

Indeed, the first step in changing incorrect or bad behaviour or performance, is to firstly help the pupil identify and recognise it. What I don’t want from the pupil is an apology. I am not offended by their mistake. I expect it. What I need them to do is actually admit or confess the fault – preferably verbally. At this point I know they are conscious of it and they are on the first step.

Similarly in the spiritual life this is important, because before we got saved half the things we used to do and say we didn’t even realise were sin! Now we are saved we begin to realise that many things we were comfortable with are wrong in the eyes of God because we have a new nature.

Does God break fellowship when we sin?

Wouldn’t it be crazy though, if after every driving fault I stopped the car and refused to drive until the pupil said sorry? So, when we sin God doesn’t break fellowship with us. Sin does not separate us from him. In fact it never did, that’s a theological myth. No, sin and condemnation make us separate ourselves from God (Adam hiding in the garden). For the believer, the scriptures are clear: nothing can separate us from God’s love in Christ.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the relationship can’t be strained at times. If for example as a pupil I refused to listen to the instructors advice then he or she may take the keys off me! However, this an extreme case and most of the time all the coach is looking for is a willingness to learn. After all, the Holy Spirit is the most patient person you are likely to meet. As Graham Cooke says, if you fail the test your just take it again!

Therefore, when we have sinned that’s when we need God the most. That’s when we need to run towards him not away from him. Yes, He may speak strongly to us and correct us (if it’s a particularly serious or dangerous thing we have done) but He will never shut us out! He will never, stop the car, take the keys, slam the door and leave us immobile by the side of the road.

Is God angry when you sin?

hellGod is not angry therefore when you sin. No, the Holy Spirit is patient and is not quite as sensitive as some make out. He can handle you!  After all, when God saved you, did He know what he was getting into, what you were like? God is not angry with you because he has no false illusions about you. Do you think God is surprised that you messed up – again!

I mean, is the driving instructor really that shocked when a pupil stalls the car? No, He has seen every pupil do it! It’s when you realise that God is not shocked at your sin and that rather than wallowing in condemnation and self-pity, you can turn to your coach and ask for help to be delivered from it.

Does God correct our faults?

Graciousness on the part of the instructor though doesn’t mean overlooking everything and pretending you drive perfectly. Grace isn’t ignoring faults and sin. No, a good instructor points out faults in a kind way, the aim being to help the pupil drive better. Unfortunately of course, there are driving instructors who are impatient and treat their pupils like a sergeant major rather than a coach – berating and shouting in anger at the least little fault. You can imagine how well these pupils learn!

Indeed, If that’s how you view the Holy Spirit may I suggest that its not the Holy Spirit talking to you! What I know of the Holy Spirit is that He is not like this. He is never angry or frustrated with you. Yes you can make him sad when you ignore him and refuse to listen but if you work with him, He is an amazing kind, patient, encouraging and loving coach.

The role of an instructor then, is not to convict the pupil of their faults. I am not there to make you feel guilty for exceeding the speed limit again – but I am going to prompt you with a question. I might say the following: did you realise that your breaking the speed limit? Why should we keep to speed limit? If you refuse to slow down of course I will intervene. The only person however that is going to convict you – is the traffic police!

What happens if you crash?

Do believers mess it up really bad though – ‘say crash the car into a tree as it were? Say if they were driving too fast as in the previous example. Yes of course. Maybe we have all heard stories of ministers falling into sexual sin,  leaving the church in disgrace and so on. In these sad situations it’s right that sin is not tolerated because it’s dangerous and destructive. However, where sin abounds grace even more abounds so God’s  heart is always to redeem the individual – there is always a way back.

Would God rather you avoided your foolish choices? Yes. Does he protect you from all of them? No. I mean if you crashed your car into a tree there would be some serious consequences to pay – a ruined car and maybe whiplash or a fatality. Sin may get you to heaven quicker than you planned! However, when we crash and burn, the door to the father is always open, we haven’t lost our salvation and if we approach the throne of grace there is always grace and mercy for our time of need. God can work all things for good for those that love God and are called according to purpose.

Read More:

www.firstclassdrivertraining.biz

Stop saying sorry!

The driving test and the law

Teaching driving and life in the spirit.

The shadow of the law

Jesus and the mosaic law

My Kindle books

Gods Grace Works BookLatest book Gods Grace Works Every Day

 Kindle book – Christ in You

Kindle book – Christ the End of Law

Facebook page

1,508 total views, 1 views today

A better sacrifice

Eternal Salvation

are all sins forgivenIn the last article I looked at how the offerings of the Law were a temporary fix so that God could continue relationship with mankind despite failure. Of course, this all awaited the first coming of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God and High Priest of God, who established a salvation that would last for ever and would never need to be repeated- awesome! A better sacrifice.

Hebrews 5:9 “And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him;”

Eternal redemption

Jesus therefore, was not only the sacrifice but the high priest making the offering and He obtained and bought for us  eternal (permanent) redemption (ransom) that never needed to be repeated!

Hebrews 9:12 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”

He took our sins away:

As a consequence, this superior sacrifice of Jesus took away sins; something the law could never do – only covering it. The blood of Jesus though, cleanses us perfectly from all sin. It’s like a powerful cleaning agent. It removes sin completely. It takes it away.

1 John 1:7 “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.”

Incidentally, it’s interesting that part of the natural function of blood is to fight infection!

1 John 3:5 “And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin.”

Romans 11:27 “For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.”

He cleansed the conscience

In addition, the blood of Jesus not only takes away sins but as a consequence it purges the conscience and guilt of the sinner.

Hebrews 9:14 “How much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

He changes You!

Even so, there was one another important change necessary, a change in the heart of the offerer that was promised centuries before:

Hebrews 10:16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;”

Consequently, the perfect sacrifice of Jesus didn’t just make the sinner holy for a short time (a year) – but for ever! Did you get that? You have been made perfect (in your spirit) for ever!

Hebrews 10:10 “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Hebrews 10:14 “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

God forgets sins

Just to make sure, God now chooses to forget your sin! Under the Old Covenant every sin was recorded. It was reckoned to your sin debit account. Under Grace the salvation that God offers is so complete that He no longer records your sins. They are no longer charged to your account!

Romans 4:8 “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.”

Even better than that, your sins never come into his mind; He never remembers your sins – ever!

Hebrews 8:12 “For I will be merciful to their unrighteousness, and their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more.”

The remission of forgiveness is so complete that it’s as if you never sinned – God has no memory or consciousness of your sins!

No more offering required!

Hebrews 10: 17 “And their sins and iniquities will I remember no more. Now where remission of these is, there is no more offering for sin.”

And, just to underline all this amazing Good News, the verse above clearly says, that the remission or forgiveness is now so complete that –  no offering for sin is required ever again!

Why is this? Think about it. When Jesus died on the cross everybody’s sins from that point were future. If His blood only took away the past sins that had been committed, then a whole lot more blood is going to be needed, because without the shedding of blood there is nor remission or forgiveness!

Hebrews 9:22 “And almost all things are by the law purged with blood; and without shedding of blood is no remission.”

This meant, that instead, of a lamb being sacrificed every year, Jesus had to be re-sacrificed every year for the last 2000 years because people are still sinning! However this is not the case because every sin that has been or will be has been expiated by his precious blood.

1 John 2:2 “And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”

Sin is dealt with once for all

Therefore, Jesus has dealt with the whole issue of sin in God’s eyes for ever.

Hebrews 9:26 “For then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world: but now once in the end of the world hath he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself.”

Are we all forgiven?

Maybe your saying though, does it mean that everybody is forgiven? Well technically yes, BUT… not everyone takes advantage of this amazing special offer:

Hebrews 9:27 “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin unto salvation.”

What if we reject Jesus?

Now, the bad news. If someone chooses to reject this sacrifice of Jesus then there is no hope – this is a sin against the Holy Spirit. This is what some of the Jews amongst the Jewish Christians were in danger of doing by rejecting Christianity and going back to the temple system of sacrifices,

Hebrews 10:26 “For if we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins”

Hebrews 10:29 “Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?”

Read More:

Stop saying sorry!

To tithe or not?

The shadow of the law

Jesus and the mosaic law

My Kindle books

Latest book Gods Grace Works Every Day

 Kindle book – Christ in You

Kindle book – Christ the End of Law

Facebook page

561 total views, no views today

Becoming sanctified (Part 2 messing with holiness)

sanctifiedIn the last article (Messing with Holiness part 1) we discussed what holiness is and what it means to be sanctified. One important conclusion we came to was that being holy doesn’t mean being sinless.

Very soon though,  you will come across those who tell you that you are now in the process of becoming sanctified. Some will even tell you that the Holy Spirit has been given you to keep the moral law or Ten Commandments.

Firstly though, let’s establish what the Bible says about your sanctification, sainthood and holiness.

How are we made holy?

How are you made holy? You are made holy by the work of the cross when you believe. 

Acts 26:18 “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”

This faith in Jesus is what sets you apart to God and makes you a saint. You are cleaned up and sanctified ( past tense).

1 Corinthians 6:11 “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.”

It is not what you do that makes you holy it is simple faith in the work of the cross: it is the body and blood of Jesus that makes us holy not your body or blood.

Hebrews 10:10 “By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”

Hebrews 13:12 “Wherefore Jesus also, that he might sanctify the people with his own blood, suffered without the gate.”

Consequently, its not what you do that makes you holy – it’s what you believe; who you believe in!

Jesus achieved holiness for us

This means that the cross of Jesus has achieved holiness for us. It’s not something we achieve by our efforts. Jesus himself is our holiness!

1 Corinthians 1:30 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption:”

Is this holiness temporary until the next time we mess up? No we have been perfected for ever! Yes you heard it – for ever!

Hebrews 10:14 “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”

Being a saint or holy one therefore, does not await your death and a decision from the Pope. Sainthood is yours now!

Even the Corthinthian believers, who were certainly not sinless in their behaviour, are called holy and saints, further underscoring  that sainthood is NOT based on performance.

1 Corinthians 1:2 “Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:”

I mean, they were hardly glowing candidates for sainthood – with scandal rivalling the Roman Catholic church today! Yet, Paul indeed calls them saints: God’s chosen ones.

Is sanctification a process?

Doesn’t the above scripture though (1 Corinthians 1:2), indicate that sanctification is a process? In other words we are called to be saints, in other words we sort of are but are not quite! A better translation however – as in the ASV –  is:  “saints by calling”.  So this verse is not in fact saying we are becoming holy!

Let me ask you a question. From all the scriptures quoted so far, if you believe in Jesus, are you holy? If you answer: “well I’m trying to be or I hope”,  so then please read them again!

What about this scripture though you might ask?

1 Peter 1:15 “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;”

I like what Graham Cooke says about this one: “we read it as a command but actually it’s a benediction”. In other words, the one who called you is different and special so you be different and special also.

The fact is, you are as holy as you will ever be: An oak tree sapling is as much an oak tree as an oak tree 100 years old. The difference between them is maturity and fruit. The difference between a believer who has known the Lord 5 minutes and 5 years is fruitfulness and maturity.

Holy matrimony

I mean, wouldn’t it be ridiculous to tell a married couple that they need to be more married! Marriage by its very nature is holy – a couple are set apart ‘wholly’ for one another. That doesn’t mean they have a perfect marriage but hopefully they will learn to grow together and love one another. In fact, love and holiness are very close relations!

Ephesians 1:4 “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:”

Furthermore, Paul uses this picture of holy matrimony  to illustrates the relationship of Jesus to his precious bride the church.

Ephesians 5:6 “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word”

Ephesians 5:27 That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

As we can see from the above scriptures, the church is in the process of being cleansed and prepared for her wedding day. She’s at the spa having a leg wax and massage. It similar to the process Esther went through in order to be a Queen:

Esther 2:12 “Now when every maid’s turn was come to go in to king Ahasuerus, after that she had been twelve months, according to the manner of the women, (for so were the days of their purifications accomplished, to wit, six months with oil of myrrh, and six months with sweet odours, and with other things for the purifying of the women;)”

Does this mean then, because Esther went through all these beauty treatments, that she wasn’t beautiful? Of course not, but she ended up not just beautiful but stunning – fit for a king.

Unfortunately, this is not how many  holiness preachers see the church or individuals, with their constant calls to repentance and holiness. It’s as if they think that the church is Cinderella and needs constant abuse? Maybe that’s because they are the ugly sisters! Seriously though, what they are in effect saying is:  “church you look disgusting,  get cleaned up!”

Grace preachers on the other hand,  see the church as beautiful and holy already but maybe in need of a little leg wax and a special hairdo! Holiness and beauty then are also close relations!

Psalm 29:2 “The beauty of holiness! Give unto the LORD the glory due unto his name; worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness.”

Do we have any part to play?

Now, just in case you tempted to think that I am saying that we have no part to play and it doesn’t matter how we respond  –  nothing could be further from the truth!

Titus 2:11 “Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;”

Grace therefore teaches us to deny ungodliness and resist evil. God can’t do that for us. In other words, we don’t have to live like the rest of the common unsaved folk around us because we are already special different and royalty! We get to choose! We get to act!

Titus 2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself  a peculiar people,  zealous of good works. 

James says:

James 1:27 “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.”

1 Thess 5:22  “Abstain from all appearance of evil.”

Peter encourages us because we are different (strangers and pilgrims) we should abstain from fleshly lusts ( probably sexual in nature)

1 Peter 2:11 “Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;”

Paul also tells us to live sexually pure:

“For this  is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication:” 

1 Thessalonians 4:7 “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.”

1 Thess 4:4 “That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honour;”

Consequently, as believers when we learn to obey God, walking in the spirt and believing his word, then godliness and holiness are produced in our lives as a fruit.

Romans 6:19 “I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.

Romans 6:22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.

Romans 12:1  “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.”

In addition, as I have explained in another article, the work of the Holy Spirt in our lives will mean we will want to separate ourselves from situations that contaminate and defile us. If I’m wearing an expensive suit I won’t be going rock climbing!  If I was a freemason before getting saved,  then I should break free from that ungodly partnership – it is not appropriate.

2 Corinthians 7:1 “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

In conclusion therefore, our sanctification and holiness are a ‘done deal’ but how we live is important.  As Peter says we once lived one way but now we have a holy calling and we no longer find it necessary to float down stream – we are swimming against the tide!

1 Peter 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries: Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:

likeusfacebook

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Further reading:

Messing with holiness part 1

Raising the bar on holiness

Gardening and holiness

What is holiness?

True holiness

2 Corinthians 7:1

The dangers of the holiness movement

Please help this ministry by downloading my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory

1,265 total views, 1 views today

Messing with holiness (part 1)

In this series of articles I’m going to mess with you holiness or sanctification theology – you’ve been warned!

Can unbelievers be sanctified?

holinessLet’s start with a bang. Did you know that it is possible for an unbeliever to be sanctified? Yes you heard me right! Here is the verse:

“For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.”

What is going on here? How can an unbeliever be sanctified? I believe the explanation is that  because one member of the family is saved the rest are treated by God as if they were already.

This doesn’t mean they are automatically saved however, only that they are now on a ‘fast track’ to salvation; the spotlight is on them! It’s like when Paul says to the jailor: “believe on the Lord Jesus and you will be saved and your whole house”. This doesn’t mean that every member of the household is automatically enrolled into the book of life; just that the opportunity of salvation has increased because they are probably going to hear the Gospel and see its transforming power first-hand.

Hebrews 10:29

In addition, this helps explain an apparently ‘difficult’ scripture:

“Of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite unto the Spirit of grace?” Hebrews 10:29

Consequently, now it’s clear that sanctification can apply to an unbeliever, this scripture becomes much clearer. The writer of the Hebrews is speaking to Jews (not Gentiles) who are meeting with Jewish believers. They are not saved and in fact are in danger of turning their back on Christianity and returning to Judaism. Therefore, they are described as sanctified for the same reasons as the previous example.

Conclusions?

Both these examples then illustrate an important point: sanctification does not mean sinlessness!

Ok then, so what does it mean? Simply put, sanctification means to be made holy, separated, different, special.  Holiness therefore has nothing to do with sinlessness even though it does have to do with purity and cleansing.

Leviticus 10:10 “And that ye may put difference between holy and unholy, and between unclean and clean;”

Therefore, when God is described as holy its not referring to his sinlessness its referring to his uniqueness!  God is separate, different, perfect and incomparable!  That is why when man tries to replicate God in the form of an animal or human he is making God common and that’s called idolatry.

Romans 1:21 “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.”

In Exodus, Moses encounters this Holy God in the burning bush and he is told to take off his shoes because the ground is holy. Was the ground sinless? No, of course not, it was the presence of God who is unique, special that made it holy.

What does the Bible say is Holy?

Wrapping up, and just to further emphasise that holiness and sanctification do not mean sinlessness, it’s clear that many other things declared by the Bible as holy are not capable of sinning  because they are inanimate:

1. The Holy scriptures. 2 Timothy 3:5 “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.”

2. Your food!  1 Timothy 4:5 “For it is sanctified by the word of God and prayer.”

3. The Sabbath: Exodus 20:8 Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.

4. The Law: Romans 7:12 Wherefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just, and good.”

5. Every Jewish first born male child : Luke 2:23 “As it is written in the law of the Lord, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord;”

Implications?

What then,  if holiness is not sinlessness does it matter how we live? Surely we should be becoming more holy?  That is what we will discuss in the next article!

likeusfacebook

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Further reading:

Gardening and holiness

What is holiness?

True holiness

2 Corinthians 7:1

The dangers of the holiness movement

The law of liberty

The Bible impossible tales

What’s all this fuss about hyper-grace?

Please help this ministry by downloading my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory

940 total views, no views today

Raising the bar on holiness

I don’t know if you been to the gym recently when a Mr or Mrs Super Fit enters and proceeds to lift twice as much weights as you. Suddenly your own paltry success is turned into miserable failure!

Raising the bar!

barLikewise, I want to raise the bar of holiness for all my christian friends who are still believing that we should try and keep the Law of Moses in order to produce holiness. Be assured though, my purpose is not to humiliate you. No, my purpose is to bring you to a total despair of your own self-righteousness!

Are you better than a pharisee?

Jesus himself was the first to raise this bar,  being completely sinless himself. Imagine this: I believe Jesus didn’t even think sin! He not only did no sin; he knew no sin. Jesus then, was ideally placed to raise the bar on holiness and burst the balloon of the scribes and pharisees – who mistakenly thought they were doing quite well. Jesus ‘rains on their parade’ by pointing out that in fact, their righteousness was good but not good enough to make it.

Matthew 5:20 “For I say unto you, That except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven.”

A higher standard

On the other hand, the sinners, who were despised by the pharisees, had no such grand illusions. They knew they had missed the pass mark by a mile years ago. It was to them however, that Jesus preaches pure grace. On the contrary, to the scribes and pharisees He interprets the law to a higher degree of exactitude to demolish their self-sufficient righteousness. For example, Jesus said: if a man even looks on a woman then he’s committed adultery!

In other words, even thinking sin is sin! That’s the level of holiness God requires!

Matthew 5:28 “But I say unto you, That whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart”.

Jesus also said love the Lord with ALL your heart. Can any one of us hand on heart say that we have done that every day!

A young man meets his maker

To another young man in Matthew 19 – who claimed that he had kept all the commandments from his youth upward – Jesus said sell all you have and give to the poor! Maybe this man was like (or was) Saul of Tarsus who became Paul the Apostle, a pharisee of the pharisee who actually made it further with the Law than anyone else in his day claiming to have kept it faultless.

Philipians 3:6 “Concerning zeal, persecuting the church; touching the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.”

However, the same man in Romans 7 is totally defeated by the Law. Later on in Romans, Paul nails the final nail in the coffin of self-righteousness, when he says: “what is not of faith is sin” (Romans 14:23) whose going to be perfect at that one then?

James, also points out that its not only the things we do wrong that matter but also the things we should do that we fail to do!

James 4:17 “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.”

Conclusions

So, if you still think you can live the Christian life by your works of righteousness, repentance and confession; then you are sadly mistaken and have not yet learnt how powerless you are in the flesh. Even worse are those who somehow think they have reached a state of sinless perfection.  John says to such:

1 John 1:8 “If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us”.

No, you need a saviour not only to save you from your sins but a saviour to save you from your sinful flesh or the body of death you are carrying around!

In conclusion, the believer is called not to keep the Law and there bye improve the flesh but to die with Christ, to die to the Law and live anew in the power of the spirit – a supernatural life!

Further reading:

Legalism

True holiness

Living by grace or law (prophecy)

The end of law ( part 1)

Holiness

The dangers of the holiness movement

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

959 total views, no views today

Losing your salvation (an awful thought)

lost and foundThe thought of losing your salvation is an awful and scary thought – and I believe a doctrine of demons designed in hell to rob believers of the joy of their salvation. This is what the scriptures say:

Hebrews 7:25 “Hence, He is able to save forever (completely or permanently) those who draw near to God through him, since he always lives to make intercession for them”

Who initiated your new birth?

You became a child of God through new birth. That was a miracle not initiated by you just as in the natural. You didn’t choose God; he chose you! You didn’t find God; He found you. You didn’t deserve God’s mercy and grace; even the faith you have He gave you as a gift and that faith is simply the ability to believe and receive unseen spiritual things.

Ephesians 2:8 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:”

How and why did that miracle happen? If it did, all you know is that it did! You don’t know how it happened. Your repentance didn’t make you a suitable candidate of grace as some preach. No your sinner-ship, your godlessness made you the object of God’s abundant grace and mercy. While you were a sinner and an enemy christ died.

How can you be separated from God’s love?

How then can you be separated from that love? One minute his child, his beloved son and the next minute back on your way to hell? If God hates divorce, the scriptures say so, then why do you a think a covenant keeping God is going to renounce those he bought with his own blood?

I mean, do we really think that God, who is apparently powerful enough to save rebellious and wicked sinners such as you or I, but yet not strong enough to keep us saved after we are transformed into sons and saints?

God finishes what he starts

Are we not confident that God keeps his word and has the ability to finish what he started?

Philipians 1:6 “Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:”

No, He is never going to leave you or forsake you. Even if you deny him he is not going to deny you. Nothing can separate you from the love of God. When God makes a promise he keeps it. That is why the gifts and calling of God are irrevocable.

Romans 11:29 “For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.”

The fact is, God didn’t put your own salvation into your hands. You may have signed the legal paperwork but the fulfilment of the contract is all His responsibility not yours. To put it plainly, you are not your own saviour – Jesus is and I believe he’s lost none of his sheep yet! In other words getting to heaven does not depend on your endurance, your faith, holiness, amount of confession, repentance or any other criteria other than faith – it depends on Jesus and his endurance!

What God starts he finishes. His glory is at stake; the angels are watching!

Salvation is not like your car keys!

It follows therefore, that if God didn’t put the inheritance of your salvation in your hands in the first place, how can you somehow lose it? Salvation is not like your car keys, it can’t be misplaced or lost that easily!

1 Peter 1:4 “To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you”

Finally, often the charge is made that this doctrine of grace makes for lazy believers? In fact, I don’t believe it does. Indeed, I am convinced that a thorough grasp of God’s grace and eternal security frees believers from an evil works minded mentality and enables them to enter God’s rest: actually trusting completely God’s ability to save rather than relying on their own strength and endurance.

1 Corinthians 15:10 “But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.”

Further reading:

Work out your own salvation (prophecy)

2 Corinthians 7:1 (Holiness)

Eternal salvation

Sinning wilfully

Dangers of the holiness movement 

Download my Kindle books on Amazon:

Christ the End of Law
Christ in you the hope of glory
Christ the End of Law KIndle Amazon

1,188 total views, no views today