Arminian Today

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Posts Tagged ‘Forsaking Sin

Where is the Call to Holiness?

Very few people who claim to be true Christians live holy lives.  In many ways, many live their lives just like the people of this world.  They love the things in the world and pursue the world despite the call of John the Apostle in 1 John 2:15-17.  People are content to believe that God loves them enough to save them through His Son (John 3:16) but are content to live in the world and not flee from sin that first sent the Son of God to the cross (Isaiah 53:4-6).  People want to be “His people” but do not want to be completely saved from “their sins” (Matthew 1:21).

The call of God is to holiness (Hebrews 12:14).  The Bible tells us that we are to be holy as God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Paul the Apostle prayed often for believers to be holy and blameless before God (see 1 Corinthians 1:8; Philippians 1:6; Colossians 1:10; 1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).  Paul called the Church to holiness (Philippians 2:14-15).  Paul wanted the Church to forsake sin (1 Corinthians 15:34; 2 Corinthians 12:21-13:5).  John the Beloved likewise called the Church to holiness (1 John 2:1-2).  In Romans 6, Paul the Apostle tells the disciples in Rome that Jesus not only has set us from the penalty of sin but from the power of sin!

So where is the call to holiness?  I fear that in our day we have many people who even preach against sin but live shameful lives when no one is looking.  God knows.  He sees al things even what is going on in secret (Psalm 139:7; Jeremiah 23:24).  He sees that man who preaches one thing but secretly is looking at pornography on the Internet.  He sees that woman who claims to be holy but she is gossiping about others.  God knows all things.  We cannot hide from Him and we must give an account for our lives before Him (2 Corinthians 5:10).

The power of holiness begins with the gospel.  In Galatians 2:20 Paul preaches what you and I must preach and live as well; that we died with Christ on the cross and are raised to walk in the newness of life by His power.  The power for holy living comes through faith in the resurrected Christ who lives to make intercession before God on our behalf (Hebrews 7:25).  How can the disciple of Christ fail when we have the Son of God praying at God’s right hand for us and the Holy Spirit praying for us as well (Romans 8:26-27)?  The Lord Jesus knows our struggles (Hebrews 4:14-16) and He is more than able to help us overcome sin by His grace (1 Corinthians 10:13; Titus 2:13).

What sin is more powerful than Christ?  What sin can He not rescue us from?  He is able to rescue us from all sin.  He is able to empower us to live holy lives.  He is able to deliver us from us and He is able to help us not to be hypocrites when no one else is watching.  He is able to purify our minds as we set them upon Him (Philippians 4:8-9).  He is able to purify us from all sin (1 John 1:9).

This is an ongoing struggle.  Sin is not defeated by one prayer meeting or by one experience.  Sin must be fought with all the time.  The only hope we have is to daily walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17).  Daily I must look to Christ alone to help me.  I look to Him by prayer.  I look to Him in His Word.  I daily do these things.  Discipline alone is good but discipline with a focus on Christ is the true way to victory (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  Christ has secured our salvation and He also has secured our sanctification (John 17:17-20).  He cleanses our hearts by faith (Acts 15:9).  As we look to Christ alone to save us both from the wrath of God and from present sin (1 Thessalonians 1:10), we find that He is sufficient to help us in all our struggles with sin.

What final point.  The attitude I see today among some is that we just rest in Christ and don’t worry about fighting against our sins.  They believe that they are “once saved, always saved” and thus they don’t have to battle against sin.  They reason that God only sees them in Christ (imputed righteousness) and they don’t need to be personally righteous.  This incorrect thinking has led some to fall into great sins.  The Bible calls believers to forsake sin and to pursue holiness.  No where does the Bible tell us just to rest in Christ and not fight.  In 1 Corinthians 6:18 Paul told the corrupt Corinthian church to flee immorality.  In wrote in 2 Corinthians 5:9 that his aim was to please Christ in light of the judgment seat of Christ in verse 10.  In 2 Corinthians 7:1 Paul wrote that we are to “cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. ”

Adam Clarke wrote on 2 Corinthians 7:1:

“These are things in which both body and soul must consent. But still withholding the eye, the ear, the hand, and the body in general, from sights, reports, and acts of evil, will not purify a fallen spirit; it is the grace and Spirit of Christ alone, powerfully applied for this very purpose, that can purify the conscience and the heart from all dead works. But if we do not withhold the food by which the man of sin is nourished and supported, we cannot expect God to purify our hearts. While we are striving against sin, we may expect the Spirit of God to purify us by his inspiration from all unrighteousness, that we may perfectly love and magnify our Maker. How can those expect God to purify their hearts who are continually indulging their eyes, ears, and hands in what is forbidden, and in what tends to increase and bring into action all the evil propensities of the soul?”

I ask the same.  How can we claim holiness while living in sin?  How can we expect to be holy while indulging our sinfulness all the while claiming to be in Christ by faith and resting in His work?  We deceive ourselves into thinking that God does not see us anymore now that we are in Christ.  Yet the Lord said in Revelation 2:2 to the church in Ephesus: “I know your works.”  How can this be if He only sees the work of Christ?

The reality is that God does see us.  He always see us.  For the disciple who truly loves Christ and is pursuing holiness, this is not a fearful thing (Psalm 121:4).  The knowledge that God always sees me brings both fear and such comfort that words can not describe.  God is able to deliver us from all sin.  It is in His power to do so.

My prayer is that the Church would pursue holiness.  Ephesians 5:27 says that Christ will have a bride without blemish.  He is sanctifying His bride even now.  I rejoice that the Lord is faithful to sanctify us.  I long for His touch.

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Be Holy

I want to add that this post is for me but I wanted to share it with any readers who also long to be holy.

The Bible says for us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Holiness is not merely a state that we are in by virtue of the work of Christ (Hebrews 10:10) but it also is an ongoing battle that the Spirit of God helps us with (Galatians 5:16-17; Hebrews 10:14).  We are called to holiness (Hebrews 12:14) and we are called to forsake our sins (1 Corinthians 15:34).  We are called to count as dead our flesh (Romans 6:11) and to present our members unto the Lord (Romans 6:12-14).  We are called to put on the new self created in righteousness and holiness (Ephesians 4:24).  We are called to follow the example of Christ (1 Peter 2:21-24) and to be righteous (1 John 3:10).

So be holy.  Be holy in what you say (Ephesians 4:29; James 3:10).  Be holy in what you think about (Psalm 19:14; 104:34; Romans 12:1-2; Philippians 4:8).  Be holy in what you do with your body (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).  Be holy in all your conduct (1 Peter 1:15-16).  Be holy as God is holy.

Don’t make poor excuses for your sinning.  Repent of your sins (Acts 3:19).  Don’t ignore your sins.  Don’t ignore your areas of weakness.  Repent of them and look to Christ alone to save you from your sins (1 John 1:7).  Flee sinning!  Flee the second glance at sin.  When tempted by sin, run to your Savior who alone can save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21)!  We cannot fight this battle with temptation alone.  We must depend on the Lord Jesus to save us (1 Corinthians 10:13).  He is more than able (Hebrews 7:25)!

Oh wretched man, look to Christ alone!  Focus not on your temptations, your flesh, your past failures.  Look to the victory that Jesus has already secured for His disciples (John 19:30).  Jesus is our victory.  Jesus is our crown.  Jesus is our life (Colossians 3:1-4).  Jesus is the only one who can deliver us from this sinfulness (Romans 7:25).  May we look to Him alone to save us!

Psalm 11 In Contrast to Psalm 10

Psalm 10:1-13 begins with the psalmist lamenting what I have lamented before myself, why do the wicked prosper while in their sins?  Why is it that the faithful slaves of Christ have to suffer while the sinners tend to live lives of carefree full of worldly joy?  Saints of God all over the world suffer for the name and cause of Christ while the wicked sit in places of honor and our culture glorifies the wicked and forsakes the righteous.  Our political leaders in the United States are corrupt while the righteous leaders are hard to find and often are hated by the media.

Why is this so?  I understand that people love the darkness instead of the light (John 3:19).  People do not love God.  People do not seek God.  People, in fact, hate God (Romans 3:10-18).  They have exchanged the truth of God for lies (Romans 1:25).  People do this wickedness for one reason:  because they love their sins (Romans 1:18).  Apart from the grace of God, none could be saved.  We would not want to be saved.  We would want to try to save ourselves, to earn our own righteousness (which is tainted by our selfishness).  We despise the Word of God.  We despise God’s sovereignty.  We despise His salvation.  We despise His Son.

Psalm 10:14-18 promises us that God does know.  God does notice.  He is not blind to the wicked.  He sees their sins.  It is by His mercy that the wicked are not dead now.  God, in His mercy, lets the wicked go forth in their sins.  God lets the wicked eat, sleep, breath His air, and enjoy His earth.  A time of judgment is coming but for now, God is merciful and is waiting for them to repent of their sins (2 Peter 3:9).

Psalm 11 is a contrast to Psalm 10.  Psalm 11 exalts the fact that God will judge.  The righteous need to trust in the LORD for He will judge in His perfect timing.  We can easily become defeated as we look around at the sin in our world, the fact that people love darkness instead of light.  We can lament that people are not seeking God.  We can lament that Romans 1:32 is true of our world.  We live in a wicked, evil, God-hating age.

But God will judge.  His judgment will come (Psalm 11:6).  God sees what is taking place in our wicked age (Psalm 11:4).  God surely hates the wicked (Psalm 11:5) but He loves the righteous (Psalm 11:7).  We who love Jesus Christ, who fear Him (Proverbs 16:6), we are loved by God!  We who love Jesus know that we are not righteous in our own good works (Ephesians 2:8-9) but we know that we righteous because of Christ alone (2 Corinthians 5:21).  We are righteous in Him (Romans 10:4) and we are living righteously because of Him (Titus 2:11-12; 1 John 3:7).  We understand that we love God because He has loved us first (1 John 4:10).

Now our pursuit, the righteous man’s pursuit, is to know Christ and to love Him more.  We prove this by obeying His commandments (John 14:15; 1 John 5:2-3).  Those who claim to love God but love their sins prove they are not His children (1 John 3:6-10).  Those who claim to love God prove their love by obedience to His Lordship (Matthew 7:21-27; Luke 6:46-49; 1 John 2:3-6).  We understand that our salvation, our righteousness is based on the Lord Jesus and our holiness comes from Him (Romans 6:11-14).  Because of what He has done for us, we strive for holiness (Hebrews 12:14; 1 Peter 1:15-16).

Psalm 11 gives the righteous the promise of judgment of the wicked to come.  We can trust that God will be just in His justice and He is merciful toward the wicked to bring them to repentance (Romans 2:4).  Jesus came to save the sinful (Luke 19:10) and we must admit that we too were once sinful as the wicked around us (Titus 3:1-7).  Thankfully the Lord was merciful toward us and He brought us to salvation by His grace.  Bless His name forever!

Written by The Seeking Disciple

12/22/2013 at 4:47 PM

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