Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 26

“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 focused on some practical habits to develop in our pursuit of holiness.  In this post, we will look at the issue of holiness and faith.

Holiness and Faith

“By faith Abraham, when he was called, obeyed and went out to a place he was going to receive as an inheritance. He went out, not knowing where he was going.” (Hebrews 11:8 HCSB)

In the pursuit of holiness Believers are often called on to perform duties that appear unreasonable and even absurd to an unbelieving world.  We often think of holiness in a narrow sense of separation from impurity and moral evil; however, in its broader sense holiness is obedience to the will of God in whatever God directs.  It is saying with Yeshua, “I have come to do Your will.” (Hebrews 10:7)  No one can pursue holiness who is not prepared to obey God in every area of his life.  The holiness described in the Bible calls us to do more than separate ourselves from the moral pollution of the world around us.  It calls us to obey God even when that obedience is costly, when it requires deliberate sacrifice and even exposure to danger.

Obedience to the revealed will of God is often just as much a step of faith as claiming a promise from God.  In fact, one of the more intriguing thoughts from the book of Hebrews is the way the writer appears to use obedience and faith interchangeably.  For example, He speaks of the wandering Israeli who would never enter God’s rest because they were “disobedient” (Hebrews 3:18).  Yet they were not able to enter because of their “lack of trust (faith)” (Hebrews 3:19).  This interchange of lack of trust and disobedience also occurs later in the book (see Hebrews 4:2, 6).

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 25

“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 focused on holiness in our wills.  In this post we will look at some practical habits to develop in our pursuit of holiness.

Practical Habits in Pursuit of Holiness

Every sin we commit reinforces the habit of sinning and makes it easier to sin.  In the previous post we examined the importance of guarding our minds and emotions, since these faculties are the channels through which the various compelling forces reach our wills.  But it is also important that we understand how our habits influence our wills.  Sha’ul wrote, “For just as you offered the parts of yourselves as slaves to moral impurity, and to greater and greater lawlessness, so now offer them as slaves to righteousness, which results in sanctification.” (Romans 6:19 HCSB)

Habit is defined as the “prevailing disposition or character of a person’s thoughts and feelings.”  Habits are the thought and emotional patterns engraved on our minds.  These internal habit patterns play just as forceful a role as external influences on our actions – in fact, perhaps more so.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 24

“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 focused on holiness in our spirit.  In this post we will look at holiness in our wills.

Holiness in Our Wills

In our pursuit of holiness it is the will that ultimately makes each individual choice of whether we sin or obey.  It is the will that chooses to yield to temptation or to say no.  Our wills, then, ultimately determine our moral destiny, whether we are holy or unholy in our character and conduct.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 23

 

“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 focused on holiness in our physical bodies.  In this post we will look at holiness in our spirit.

Holiness in Our Spirit

“Therefore, my dear friends, since we have these promises, let us purify ourselves from everything that can defile either body or spirit, and strive to be completely holy, out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 7:1)

Yeshua taught us in the Sermon on the Mount that God’s commands are intended not only to regulate outward conduct, but inner disposition as well.  It is not enough that we do not kill; we must also not hate.  It is not enough that we do not commit adultery; we must not even entertain lustful looks and thoughts.  Our thoughts are just as important to God as our actions, and are known to God as clearly as our actions (see Psalm 139:1-4; 1 Samuel 16:7).

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 22

“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 focused on the Biblical discipline of meditating on the Word and perseverance in pursuing holiness.  In this post, I want to focus on holiness in our physical bodies.

Holiness in Our Bodies

True holiness includes control over our physical bodies and appetites.  If we are to pursue holiness we must recognize that our bodies are temples of the Ruach HaKodesh and that we are to glorify God with them.

Modern Believers, especially those in the Western world, have generally been found wanting in the area of holiness of body.  Gluttony and laziness, for example, were regarded by earlier Believers as sin.  Today we may look on these as weaknesses of the will but certainly not sin.  We even joke about our overeating and other indulgences instead of crying out to God in confession and repentance.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 21

“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 began to look at the place of personal discipline in our journey to pursue holiness.  We learned that discipline is not punishment, but rather learning the ways of God by hearing the Word, reading the Word, studying the Word and memorizing the Word.  In this post I what to focus on the Biblical discipline of meditating on the Word and perseverance in pursuing holiness.

Discipline … Really?? ~ Part B

If we are to pursue holiness with discipline, we must do more than hear, read, study, or memorize Scripture.  We must meditate on it.  God said to Joshua, as he was assuming leadership over Israel, “Keep this book of the Torah on your lips, and meditate on it day and night, so that you will take care to act according to everything written in it. Then your undertakings will prosper, and you will succeed.” (Joshua 1:8)  To meditate on the Scriptures is to think about them, turning them over in our minds, and applying them to our life’s situations.  Meditation is analogous to contemplate and ruminate.  For some reason, I prefer ruminate.  That’s what a cow will do when they chew their food.  They chew it up, swallow and bring it back up and chew it again to get the last once of nutrition out of it.  Kind of gross, but it helps to visualize the import of meditating on God’s Word which provides much more than just physical nourishment.

Few of us practice meditation on the Scriptures.  Somehow the idea of meditation sounds like something medieval monks or New-Agers do.

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Holiness: A Gift of God’s Grace ~ Part 20

“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 in this series, we looked at how we determine God’s will and develop conviction in those areas where God’s Word is not specific.  In this post, we will begin to look at the place of personal discipline in our journey to becoming holy.

Discipline … Really?? ~ Part A

If you’re anything like me, the word discipline meant punishment.  From swats with a metal fly-swatter to loss of privileges or my allowance, my grandmother and mother would discipline me with what I perceived to be an assortment of punishments.  It was until I became a parent myself that I began to understand the oft repeated phrase that “this is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.”  Fortunately, I have learned that discipline in the Scriptural context is not punishment at all.

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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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