Be Holy (Yeah, Right!)
Recently, Pastor Doug read from Isaiah 43 to remind us of what we already have as redeemed ones in Christ:
V. 1 – He has redeemed us
V. 1 – He has called us by name
V. 1 – We are His
V. 2 – He will be with us
V. 3 – He is our God
V. 4 – We are precious in His eyes
V. 4 – We are honored
V. 4 – We are loved
V. 5 – He is with us
These are comforting truths made even more amazing by the knowledge of how much and how often we fail Him in our choosing to sin. Another section of scripture that is equally amazing to me is found in Hebrews. The early chapters are spent reminding us how much better Jesus is than anything we have experienced. Towards the end of the letter the author encourages weary believers to hang in there. Jesus IS coming back for them just as He said He would (Hebrews 9:27-28). Hold on to faith in Jesus TOGETHER and keep on encouraging one another (Hebrews10:23-24).
Chapter 11 gives overwhelming examples of many before us who held tightly to their faith. Some even died before seeing the fulfillment of God’s promise to them, yet He was still faithful. Bolstered by so many examples, the author implores us to avoid the distractions around us and focus on Jesus, the ultimate example of faithfulness. He endured more than us. And these difficult life experiences are good for us – for developing discipline (instruction, correction, training) – and they prove that we are true children of our Father. Then comes this amazing statement on the order of those statements found in Isaiah 43. “He disciplines us for our good that we may share in His holiness”. Re-read that and let it soak in. We – repetitive sinners – may share in HIS holiness! His unique set-apartness. The holiness that creates the throne room scene from Isaiah 6. High, lifted up, robe that fills the room, smoke, angels covering themselves in His presence, face-down, thinking you’re going to die! That holiness!
He disciplines us so we may share in that. I cannot reconcile the knowledge of my sinfulness with sharing in God The Father’s holiness. This is a “but God” moment (Ephesians 2:4). God expects us to be set apart, unstained by sin and the world. In fact, Peter reminds us what God said in Leviticus 11: 44, “Be holy for I am holy”. It’s His expectation.
Meditate on the reality that God allows us and makes a way for us to share in His holiness. Let that truth saturate your thinking. Then you’ll be able to put into practice the verses that follow in Hebrews 12:12–15, "Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God…”
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