I’ll never do that again!

dnorris99:

I wanted to re-blog this post from one of the bloggers I follow because I thought it had some interesting insights into our pursuit of Holiness.

Originally posted on As He is...so are we:

Yes, that is an inner vow. We all make inner vows at some point in life, more often when frustrated, hurt, or rejected. What is an inner vow? Here is the perfect commercial to watch. When I watched it I looked at my wife and was like, “That’s a perfect commercial about inner vows!”

Let me be clear. I believe that Jesus’ death, burial, resurrection, and ascension is a finished work. Jesus’ took back authority from satan and has given it to us. It is a finished work, plain and simple. But we play a part. We co-labor with Christ. God hasn’t finished working and neither do we finish working till our revealing as the sons of God. Again, this is a finished work….we just walk in it and appropriate it in our life.

An inner vow is a self-made promise a person makes to themselves usually during or after…

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Observing Purim

Introduction

Purim commemorates the deliverance of the Jewish people from destruction in the reign of the Persian King Ahasuerus, or Xerxes I, as recorded in the Book of Esther.  Held on the 14th and 15th days of the Jewish month of Adar, it is celebrated by feasting and merriment, almsgiving, sending food to neighbors and friends, and chanting the text of Esther.  Although this is not an appointed time by God for remembrance, it is perhaps the most joyous day of the Jewish year, with masquerades, plays, and drinking of wine even in the synagogue.

In 2015, Purim is celebrated on March 5th & 6th.

Setting

The story of Esther takes place in Sushan, an ancient royal city of the Persian Empire, approximately 150 miles north of the Persian Gulf in modern Iran.  It is the traditional burial site of the prophet Daniel.  The events took place in approximately 465 BCE after the Jewish people were allowed to return to Jerusalem from their Babylonian captivity by King Cyrus.

Significance for Today

The Book of Esther is a story of teamwork that shaped a nation and a study of survival of God’s chosen people.  The relationship of Esther and Mordecai vividly portrays the unity that Yeshua prayed for His disciples to experience.  The success of their individual roles, even their very survival, depended upon their unity.

The Book of Esther reminds us that God destroys those who try to harm His people.  From this we are reminded that He is faithful to destroy HaSatan and that His sovereign purposes ultimately prevail.

The Book of Esther has been called the ‘secular’ book of the Bible.  It is the only book that does not mention or even allude to God.  However, His imprint is obvious throughout.  Esther’s spiritual maturity is seen in her knowing to wait for God’s timing to make her request to save her people and denounce Haman.  Mordecai also demonstrates maturity in seeking God’s timing and direction for the right time to have Esther disclose her identity as a Jew.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 19

“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45

“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16

In my last post, we looked at several passages of Scripture that clearly look at what sin is.  We left off by asking: what about issues that are not specifically mentioned in the Scriptures – how do we determine God’s will and develop conviction in those areas?  I’ll attempt to answer this question in this post.

Putting Sin to Death ~ Part B

“Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature – sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry).” ~ Colossians 3:5

I am indebted to Jerry Bridges for introducing me to the following in his book, “The Pursuit of Holiness.”  He writes:

“Years ago a friend gave me what he called his ‘Formula: How to Know Right from Wrong.’ The formula asks four questions based on three verses in I Corinthians:

  • Question 1: Is it helpful – physically, spiritually, and mentally?  “Everything is permitted. Maybe, but not everything is helpful.” (I Corinthians 6:12)
  • Question 2: Does it bring me under its power? “Everything is permitted. Maybe, but I am not going to let anything gain control over me.” (I Corinthians 6:12)
  • Question 3: Does it hurt others?  “To sum up, if food will be a snare for my brother, I will never eat meat again, lest I cause my brother to sin.” (I Corinthians 8:13)
  • Question 4: Does it glorify God?   “Well, whatever you do, whether it’s eating or drinking or anything else, do it all so as to bring glory to God.” (I Corinthians 10:31)

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 18

“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45

“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16

In this post, we will begin to look at putting sin to death.

Putting Sin to Death ~ Part A

“Therefore, put to death the earthly parts of your nature – sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry).” ~ Colossians 3:5

As we previously learned the Bible leaves no doubt that holiness is our responsibility.  If we are to pursue holiness, we must take some decisive action.  The action we are to take is to put to death the practices or misdeeds of the body (Romans 8:13).  Sha’ul uses the similar expression in Colossians: put to death the earthly parts of your nature.”  (see above quote)  What does the expression put to death mean?  The King James Version uses the term mortify.  According to the dictionary, mortify means “to destroy the strength, vitality, or functioning of; to subdue or deaden.”  To put to death the earthly parts of our nature, then, is to destroy the strength and vitality of sin as it tries to reign in our bodies.

It must be clear to us that mortification, though it is something we do, cannot be carried out in our own strength.  Mortification must be done by the strength and under the direction of the Ruach; it is nevertheless a work which we must do.  Without the Ruach’s strength there will be no mortification, but without our working in His strength there will also be no mortification.

The crucial question then is, “How do we destroy the strength and vitality of sin?”  If we are to work at this difficult task, we must first have convictionWe must be persuaded that a holy life is God’s will for every Believer.  We must believe that the pursuit of holiness is worth the effort and the pain required to mortify the misdeeds of the body.  We must be convinced that we are to “Keep pursuing shalom with everyone and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14)

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 17

“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45

“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16

In this post, we will learn that holiness is about obedience ~ not victory.

Obedience ~ Not Victory

“For if you live according to your old nature, you will certainly die; but if, by the Ruach, you keep putting to death the practices of the body, you will live.” ~ Romans 8:13

God has made provision for our holiness and He has also given us a responsibility for it.  As we have discovered in earlier posts, God’s provision for us consists in delivering us from the reign of sin, uniting us with Yeshua, and giving us the indwelling Ruach to reveal sin, to create a desire for holiness, and to strengthen us in our pursuit of holiness.  Through the power of the Ruach and according to the new nature He gives, we are to put to death the practices of the body (Romans 8:13).

Though it is the Ruach who enables us to put to death our corruptions, Sha’ul says we a responsibility as well.  The very same work is from one point of view the work of the Ruach, and from another the work of ourselves.

In this post I want to look at our responsibility – “you keep putting to death the practices of the body.” It is clear from this passage that God puts responsibility for living a holy life squarely on us.  We are to do something.  We are not to “stop trying and start trusting”; we are to put to death the practices of the body.  Over and over again in the epistles – not only Sha’ul’s, but the other apostles’ as well – we are commanded to assume our responsibility for a holy walk.  Sha’ul exhorted us to, “Put to death the earthly parts of your nature – sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed (which is a form of idolatry).” (Colossians 3:5)

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 16

“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45

“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16

In this post, we will continue to the examine help we have in winning the daily battle over sin.

Help in the Daily Battle ~ Part B

As we grow in the Messianic life we face increasing danger of spiritual pride.  We know the correct doctrines, the right methods and the proper do’s and don’ts.  But we may not see the poverty of our own spiritual character.  We may not see our critical and unforgiving spirit, our habit of backbiting, or our tendency to judge others.  We may become like the Laodiceans of whom our Lord said, “For you keep saying, ‘I am rich, I have gotten rich, I don’t need a thing!’ You don’t know that you are the one who is wretched, pitiable, poor, blind and naked!” (Revelation 3:17)

David was like this when he committed adultery with Bathsheba and then had her husband murdered to cover his first sin (see 2 Samuel 12:1-13).  Was he repentant and humbled over his despicable acts?  Not at all.  In fact, he was ready to judge another man for a far lesser crime and to condemn him to death (verse 5).  How could he do this?  Because he was spiritually blind.  It was not until the prophet Nathan said to David, “You are the man!” (v.7) that David was able to see the scandalous nature of his crime.

It is the Ruach’s ministry to make us see that we are poverty-stricken because of our sins.  He comes to us and reveals that we have been in denial.  Even though such a message may come from the loving, caring lips of a brother in Yeshua, it is the Ruach who enables us to accept it and to say as David did, “I have sinned against Adonai.” The Ruach opens the inner recesses of our hearts and enables us to see the moral cesspools hidden there.  This is where He begins His ministry of making us holy.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 15

“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45

“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16

In this post, we will begin to look at the help that God gives us in the daily battle for holiness.

Help in the Daily Battle ~ Part A

In Parts 12 & 13, we saw how God has delivered us from the realm and reign of sin through union with Yeshua in His death.  We were slaves to sin and in slavery we committed sins.  We developed sinful habits regardless of how “good” we were.  But Yeshua came into this sinful world and took our place on Calvary.  He died to sin and through our union with Him we died to sin also.  Now we are freed from sin’s reign; we are no longer its slaves.  We are to count on this fact and resist sin so that it does not reign in our mortal bodies.

In my last post (Part 14), we saw how sin still lives within us, waging its “guerrilla warfare” through evil desires and deceiving our minds.  It may well seem that whatever hope for holiness was held out in Parts 12 & 13 was effectively taken away in Part 14.  You may be wondering, “What good does it do to be told that the war with sin was won by Yeshua in His death on the cross if I am still harassed and often defeated by sin in my heart?”

To experience practical, everyday holiness, we must accept the fact that God in His infinite wisdom has seen fit to allow this daily battle with indwelling sin.  But God does not leave us to do battle alone.  Just as He delivered us from the overall reign of sin, so He has made ample provision for us to win the daily skirmishes against sin.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 14

“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45

“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16

In this post, we will begin to look at how Yeshua has prepared us to enter into the battle for holiness.

The Battle for Holiness

As we’ve learned previously it is through our union with Yeshua in His death that we are delivered from the dominion of sin.  But we still find sin struggling to gain mastery over us, as Sha’ul depicted so vividly:  “So I find it to be the rule, a kind of perverse ‘torah,’ that although I want to do what is good, evil is right there with me!” (Romans 7:21)  We may not like the fact that we have this lifelong struggle with sin, but the more we realize and accept it, the better equipped we will be to deal with it.

Though we still have this indwelling propensity to sin, the Ruach maintains within us a prevailing desire for holiness (see I John 3:9).  The Believer struggles with the sin God enables him to see in himself.  This is the picture we see in Romans 7:21; it distinguishes Believers from un-Believers who are serenely content in their darkness.

If we are to wage a successful war against the enemy within, it is important that we know something of its nature and tactics.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 13

“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45

“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16

In my last post, we were looking at Romans 6.  “So then, are we to say, ‘Let’s keep on sinning, so that there can be more grace’? Heaven forbid! How can we, who have died to sin, still live in it?” (Romans 6:1-2)  In this post, we will continue to look at what provisions God has made for us to live a Holy life.

What Provisions Has God Made for Us to Live a Holy Life? ~ Part B

 What then does Sha’ul mean by his expression “died to sin?”

He means we died to the dominion of sin or to the reign of sin.  Before we trusted in Yeshua for our salvation, we were in the kingdom of HaSatan and sin.  We “walked in the ways of the ‘olam hazeh and obeyed the Ruler of the Powers of the Air” [HaSatan]. (Ephesians 2:2)  We were under the power of HaSatan (see Acts 26:18) and the domain of darkness (see Colossians 1:13).  Sha’ul said we were slaves of sin (see Romans 6:17).  We were born into this kingdom of sin, slavery, and death.  Every person who has ever lived since Adam, except for the incarnate Son of God, has been born a slave in the kingdom of sin and HaSatan.

But through our union with Yeshua we have died to this realm of sin.  We have been set free from sin (see Romans 6:18), “transferred us into the Kingdom of His dear Son” (Colossians 1:13), and turned from the power of HaSatan to God (Acts 26:18).  Before our salvation we were in bondage to sin, under the reign and rule of sin.  Regardless of how decent and moral we were, we lived in the kingdom of sin.  But now through our union with Yeshua in His death to sin, we have been delivered out of the realm of sin and placed in the kingdom and realm of righteousness.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 12

“I am Adonai, who brought you up out of the land of Egypt to be your God. Therefore you are to be holy, because I am holy.” ~ Leviticus 11:45

“Following the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in your entire way of life; since the Tanakh says, ‘You are to be holy because I am holy.’” ~ 1 Kefa 1:15-16

In this post, we will begin to look at the provisions God has made for us to lead a holy life.

What Provisions Has God Made for Us to Live a Holy Life? ~ Part A

Many Believers have a basic desire to live a holy life, but have come to believe they simply cannot do so.  They have struggled for years with particular sins or deficiencies of character.  While not living in gross sin [1], they have more or less given up attaining a life of holiness and have settled down to a life of moral mediocrity with which neither they nor God are pleased.

Sha’ul wrote: “We know that our old self was put to death on the execution-stake with Him, so that the entire body of our sinful propensities might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For someone who has died has been cleared from sin.” (Romans 6:6-7)  This promise seems impossibly beyond them.  The strong commands of Scripture to live a consistently holy life only frustrates them.

Many have sought to live a holy life by their own willpower; others have sought it solely by faith.  Many have agonized in prayer over particular sins, seemingly without success.  Scores of books have been written to help us discover the “secret” of the “victorious life.”

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