Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Inescapable Prompting

Not one Christian can escape the perpetual prompting of the Holy Spirit to give all glory to our Lord Jesus Christ. Jesus said so in John 16:13-14, "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you."

This blog and my current non-fiction writings are highly focused on holiness, that personal holiness bestowed upon us through the redemption of God by the blood of Jesus Christ. That sacrifice alone paid the price for sin and redeemed us to God. That blood alone cleanses us from every sin and provides atonement. The Son of God alone gives us the Word of Truth by which we live. For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things to the glory of God, Amen! (Romans 11:36) Praise the LORD!

But the Holy Spirit has been prompting me lately to write to you that it's not all about personal holiness. It is eternally insufficient for us to say to ourselves, "Yes I know that, but I shall continue along this strain. God understands. He knows I love Him and put Him first." This is fleshly drivel and leads to pride. Listen to the words of Oswald Chambers in his writings from "My Utmost for His Highest". It is no coincidence that this is from today's devotional reading, the same day I write to you also:


"DO YOU SEE YOUR CALLING?

"Separated unto the Gospel." Romans 1:1

Our calling is not primarily to be holy men and women, but to be proclaimers of the Gospel of God. The one thing that is all important is that the Gospel of God should be realized as the abiding Reality. Reality is not human goodness, nor holiness, nor heaven, nor hell; but Redemption; and the need to perceive this is the most vital need of the Christian worker to-day. As workers we have to get used to the revelation that Redemption is the only Reality. Personal holiness is an effect, not a cause, and if we place our faith in human goodness, in the effect of Redemption, we shall go under when the test comes.

Paul did not say he separated himself, but - "when it pleased God who separated me. . ." Paul had not a hypersensitive interest in his own character. As long as our eyes are upon our own personal whiteness we shall never get near the reality of Redemption. Workers break down because their desire is for their own whiteness, and not for God. "Don't ask me to come into contact with the rugged reality of Redemption on behalf of the filth of human life as it is; what I want is anything God can do for me to make me more desirable in my own eyes." To talk in that way is a sign that the reality of the Gospel of God has not begun to touch me; there is no reckless abandon to God. God cannot deliver me while my interest is merely in my own character. Paul is unconscious of himself, he is recklessly abandoned, separated by God for one purpose - to proclaim the Gospel of God (cf. Rom. 9:3.)"

What really sealed it for me though was a posting yesterday on the website www.christianity.com. I go there often to browse the forums and provide commentary. This particular posting however required a reproof for its false teaching. Here's a tidbit:

The article is titled, "Holiness is a Community Project" by Pastor Michael McKinley of Guilford Baptist Church in Sterling, Virginia. He wrote, "The fact is, you can’t be the kind of Christian you’re meant to be without other people. You can’t be the kind of Christian you’re meant to be without real relationships in a local church.

Much of our growth in holiness comes in the context of relationships. So in Galatians chapter five believers are told to reject a whole host of “works of the flesh,” including enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, and envy. These are all sins that emerge when we are engaged in a community."

This was my reply in full:

"Sadly this entire article misses the cause and effect of holiness. Had the author said something like, "you can't be the kind of Christian you're meant to be without Jesus Christ, period," then he would be on the mark. Holiness is not a result of Christian fellowship, nor is such fellowship required to test one's holiness. It is all from, through, and to Jesus (Romans 11:36) and it is only present with a complete filling of Him and complete absence of sin in one's life. I Corinthians 15:34 is the command.

The topic of fellowship is totally separate from holiness. Indeed fellowship is critical to one's Christian life for other reasons and it is commanded as the author points out. But the model, source, and need for holiness is never found in flesh, but only in Jesus."

You see my dear little children that holiness is all about Jesus. My calling is to highlight this truth in the light of Ephesians 5:25-27 where God says, "Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, 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."

While we are quick to put the spotlight on ourselves as the Bride, the fact of pre-eminent importance (and all the glory) is upon Jesus, the Bridegroom. A careful reading of the verse shows the "of, through, to Him" principle in effect. "Of Him" is seen here: "as Christ also loved the church." "Through Him" is seen here: "and gave Himself for it." Finally, "to Him" is seen here: "that He might present it to himself...."

So indeed our calling, my calling, is to give glory to God in Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.

1 comment:

W McCallum said...

"The topic of fellowship is totally separate from holiness. Indeed fellowship is critical to one's Christian life for other reasons and it is commanded as the author points out. But the model, source, and need for holiness is never found in flesh, but only in Jesus."-- J Lawrence

I agree - my Bible teaches Holiness is found in Jesus and that "Holiness is unto the Lord" -- Zechariah 14:21