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Holiness vs. Holy Character

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  • Holiness vs. Holy Character

    At church yesterday Andy talked about how the girl in proverb 7 had said “today I have fulfilled my vows”. This meant that she had come clean with God and she had essentially “dumped” her trash can of sins out. She emptied herself and was forgiven of her sins. Then Andy questioned us and asked do we not all do that? We will empty our trash cans and then just go out and fill them back up again and then empty and fill and empty and fill and it is this never ending cycle.

    Now this is one extreme. The other is when we get so brought down by sin that we cannot even come before God and we feel so helpless and weak and that God has abandoned us. We are in fear because of our sins. We fear God because we think we cannot even come close to him because we are far too unworthy.

    Now, there is a lot of truth in all of that. But, even though we are unworthy, we are not fighting sin anymore. Jesus’ death has already defeated sin. We are no longer enslaved to sin and death because Jesus has conquered it, defeated it, slain it, overcome it, HE IS VICTORIOUS!

    We need to let this truth sink in every single day. We will get so weighed down by sin that it does enslave us, but the truth is that in Jesus Christ we can overcome because sin has already been defeated. By the power of the Holy Spirit we are no longer enslaved to those things of the world. We have total freedom in Christ, meaning we have all we need in Him. As Rob Bell says, “freedom is being able to go without those things that we “think” we need and being fine with it.” The things that we think we need. The things by our knowledge that we believe we cannot live without.

    2 Corinthians 10:5 says “we demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God.” Right before that it says that we fight with “divine power”, “weapons not of the world”. So what does this have to do with that?

    This reminds us that we are not fighting against sin here, sin has already been defeated, Jesus Christ won that battle. The thing we are fighting against here is the pressure and judgment of the world. What does our worldly mind and worldly thoughts tell us we should or should not do. We are so influenced by others around us and what they think of us. Should I make this decision or that decision. This is where we need God’s power to “demolish” these “arguments” and “pretensions” that are “against the knowledge of God”.

    Chambers says, “God does not make us holy in the sense that He makes our character holy.” What I think he is trying to say here is God has made us holy and innocent and pure when we stand before Him in His presence so that He can have a relationship with us, but that does not mean that we can just go out and sin and make ungodly decisions and still be intimate with God. We will never grow and become more like Christ if we are not making the right moral choices. Many of these moral choices are completely opposing what the world tells us we should and should not do. What the “cool” thing is to do.

    Look at Jesus. His humility. His humbleness. His compassion for those who did not love Him back. His generousness to those who could not repay Him. All of these characteristics of Christ are completely opposed to the world. Think about it. If you see people living this way they are “weird” or “different” or “crazy” or “out of their mind”. What we must fight against is this judgment from the world. We must know that the knowledge God, demonstrated through Christ, is our only hope of becoming more like Christ.

    To help understand the knowledge of God we must look at the life of Jesus Christ. He is the perfect example of God’s knowledge. In James 3:17 it says, “But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure, then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. All of these characteristics describe Jesus Christ.

    So our goal here is not trying to become holy. Christ has made us holy, defeated sin, saved us from death. But, our goal is to turn the holiness God has given us into holy character, becoming more like Christ by making moral decisions based on God’s wisdom (James 3:17).

    Let’s accept and thank God for the forgiveness and righteousness He has given us through the death of His Son Jesus Christ and allow that love that He has shown compel us to become more and more like Christ Himself each day. By living our lives like this we are bringing God glory while living in the freedom of hope and joy that He has given us. It is essentially the greatest way to live.