II CORINTHIANS 7:1: “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.” (ESV)
OBSERVATION: What is “holiness”? The Scriptures are replete with the call to holiness.
- “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16 ESV)
- “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 ESV)
The word translated holiness is “hagiosune” which literally is translated – majesty, moral purity. When we look at Jesus we see the literal embodiment of holiness. We see in Jesus everything that is good, pure, right, just, and loving. The call to believers is to become like Jesus. Paul exhorts us toward this end. Yet, it is not an exhortation without provision. He is not simply saying – “Pull yourselves up by your bootstraps and get it right!” Rather, he is calling us to something that has already been provided, that has already been promised. Peter gives us insight to this in his Second Epistle.
- “His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire.” (2 Peter 1:3-4 ESV)
The goal of the promises of God are to give us the “pathway”, the “provision”, and the “power” to become like Jesus. It gives us the “pathway” in that it leads us in the paths of righteousness and always gives us an avenue of escape from temptation. It gives us “provision” in that it imparts to us the very nature of Jesus Christ within our broken lives. It gives us “power” in that the Divine invades the temporal – and life happens! God desires this to be an ever increasing and transforming experience in our lives. Paul calls us to this goal when he says – “…cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”
There are many today who are proclaiming a message which has been termed – “Hyper Grace”. It is really an old message, and Paul dealt with it in his day. It is the message that teaches it does not really matter if we sin because the Grace of God covers us. It takes the goal of the Christian life off the target and replaces it with a goal of our own making. It ignores the call to grow in holiness, to be completed in holiness as we follow Jesus Christ. It acknowledges that we are imperfect and settles with that. The call of “True Grace” also acknowledges that we are imperfect – but it presses on to become like Jesus, to cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God!
Lord, I know that I am a broken vessel. However, forgive me for the times when I settle for that and forget your exceedingly great and precious promises that have been given to me to be an overcomer and to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ – to become holy. May I truly surrender to Your Grace and discover the “pathway”, “provision”, and “power” to be victorious and continually transformed through Jesus Christ my Lord. In Jesus Name!