What’s the Point of Being Holy?

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I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Tax collectors and other notorious sinners often came to listen to Jesus teach. This made the Pharisees and teachers of religious law complain that he was associating with such sinful people—even eating with them! Luke 15:1-2 NLT 

Companion means someone you eat bread with. “Com” is Latin for “with” and “pan” is
Holiness is in the sanctuary message but the goal is intimacy.Latin for “bread.” So when Jesus was publicly eating with sinners He was publicly declaring them His companions and friends! This infuriated the pharisees, who prided themselves from staying away from sinners. Problem is, their pride also kept them away from Jesus! Jesus knew the only way sinners could ever become holy is if they hung out with Him all the time. Now, what if I told you, that if you are friends with Jesus so that you can be holy that you are missing the whole point? What if I told you Jesus does not want perfection as much as He wants intimacy? Jesus does not befriend sinners so He can make them Holy. He makes them Holy so the friendship can become more intimate.

“Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them.” Exodus 25:8

God doesn’t live among us so He can make us perfect. He perfects our love to make our relationship more intimate. Another key Adventist belief is the second coming, but with the same goal.

I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am. John 14:3

God wants intimacy with us, and that is why He wants us to be Holy.

For I, the Lord, am the one who brought you up from the land of Egypt, that I might be your God. Therefore, you must be holy because I am holy. Leviticus 11:45 NLT

What does it mean to be holy? Does it mean living in the attic of a monastery at the top of a mountain? Does it mean only having baptized SDA members as contacts in my Google contacts? Does it mean eating Worthington Veggie Links instead of Hebrew National hot dogs?  Does it mean I only listen to the Heritage Singers and never set my radio dial to a secular station?

The English word “holy” dates back to at least the 11th century with the Old English word hālig, an adjective derived from hāl meaning “whole” and used to mean “uninjured, sound, healthy, entire, complete”. –Wikipedia 

If you Google “What does holy mean” you will find answers like “dedicated” and “set apart.” God is not looking for outward perfection. He is looking for inner intimacy. He totally dedicated to us. He is “wholey” dedicated to an intimate relationship with you, and wants you to be “wholey” dedicated to intimacy with Him. This goes back to why Jesus was eating with Sinners. He wanted to be their friends. By being friends with us His removes our unbelief and we trust and obey Him, not to be self righteous but to become even more intimate with Him!

When I was younger I wished I could be righteous like Enoch so I could walk close to God. Then I realized Enoch did not walk close to God because he was righteous. He sensed his weakness and this made him stick close to God. Just like the tax collectors and notorious sinners knew how weak they were, when they ate with Jesus and made themselves companions and friends with Jesus. Jesus wants to make you holy His just like He is Holy yours. He wants to be your friend and companion.

“Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in, and we will share a meal together as friends.” Revelation 3:20 NLT

You may study this week’s SS lesson here.

Garments of Grace; From Exalted to CAST DOWN

I am writing tonight from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Study this week’s SS lesson here. Download the SS lesson guides to your cell phone here.

“Thou wast perfect in thy ways from the day that thou wast created, till iniquity was found in thee” (Ezekiel 28:15).

Some have the idea that we will keep sinning here on earth, and then when we  get to heaven our characters will be suddenly changed to where we can’t sin. They forget that heaven is exactly where sin began. The mystery of iniquity is when sin began in a perfect world. The mystery of godliness is when sin is overcome while living on a sinful planet. (See 2 Thessalonians 2:7 and Colossians 1:26-18.) Many people believe the solution to changing our sins is having a new nature and better flesh. However, Lucifer sinned with a perfect nature and Jesus lived a perfect life with a human nature.  Lucifer was not made a robot up in heaven. We are not robots here on earth and we never will be robots up in heaven. We always have had and always will have free choice. So how do we know sin will not occur again in heaven?  

The Spirit of Prophecy points out that whether we are in heaven or earth, there is only one solution for rebellion in the whole universe. “That which alone can effectually restrain from sin in this world of darkness, will prevent sin in heaven. The significance of the death of Christ will be seen by saints and angels. Fallen men could not have a home in the paradise of God without the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. Shall we not then exalt the cross of Christ? The angels ascribe honor and glory to Christ, for even they are not secure except by looking to the sufferings of the Son of God. It is through the efficacy of the cross that the angels of heaven are guarded from apostasy. Without the cross they would be no more secure against evil than were the angels before the fall of Satan. Angelic perfection failed in heaven. Human perfection failed in Eden, the paradise of bliss. All who wish for security in earth or heaven must look to the Lamb of God. {Signs of the Times, Dec. 30 1889}

The plan of salvation, making manifest the justice and love of God, provides an eternal safeguard against defection in unfallen worlds, as well as among those who shall be redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Our only hope is perfect trust in the blood of Him who can save to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. The death of Christ on the cross of Calvary is our only hope in this world, and it will be our theme in the world to come. Oh, we do not comprehend the value of the atonement! If we did, we would talk more about it. The gift of God in His beloved Son was the expression of an incomprehensible love. It was the utmost that God could do to preserve the honor of His law, and still save the transgressor.  {Our High Calling 45} 

 It would be well for us to spend a thoughtful hour each day in contemplation of the life of Christ. We should take it point by point, and let the imagination grasp each scene, especially the closing ones. As we thus dwell upon His great sacrifice for us, our confidence in Him will be more constant, our love will be quickened, and we shall be more deeply imbued with His spirit. If we would be saved at last, we must learn the lesson of penitence and humiliation at the foot of the cross.  {Desire of Ages 83

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world. 1 John 4:17

The solution for perfection in heaven is available here on earth.

Thoughts on Loved and Loving: John’s Epistles Lesson 5

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I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.  Matthew 5:13

I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.  John 17:5-17. 

In Friday’s section of this week’s SS lesson it states: “Some people, heeding the call against loving the world, isolate themselves from the world as much as they can, moving into monasteries or communities that are radically separate from the norm. Is this a good idea?” 

Some people try to take themselves out of the world to become “godly”. However Titus 2:11-12 promises us holiness in this present world. “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world.”  

Fact is Jesus says we are the salt of the earth. In order for the salt to save or preserve the food it must be mixed with it. Here are some passages I have found in the Spirit of Prophecy that may help us be a blessing to the world without becoming “worldly”. 

Hearts that respond to the influence of the Holy Spirit are the channels through which God’s blessing flows. Were those who served God removed from the earth, and His Spirit withdrawn from among men, this world would be left to desolation and destruction, the fruit of Satan’s dominion. Though the wicked know it not, they owe even the blessings of this life to the presence, in the world, of God’s people whom they despise and oppress. But if Christians are such in name only, they are like the salt that has lost its savor. They have no influence for good in the world. Through their misrepresentation of God they are worse than unbelievers.–The Desire of Ages, p. 306. 

 

  And he went forth unto the spring of the waters, and cast the salt in there, and said, Thus saith the Lord, I have healed these waters; there shall not be from thence any more death or barren land. 2 Kings 2:21 

     In casting salt into the bitter spring, Elisha taught the same spiritual lesson imparted centuries later by the Saviour to His disciples when He declared, “Ye are the salt of the earth.” The salt mingling with the polluted spring purified its waters and brought life and blessing where before had been blighting and death. When God compares His children to salt, He would teach them that His purpose in making them the subjects of His grace is that they may become agents in saving others. . . . 

     Salt must be mingled with the substance to which it is added; it must penetrate, infuse it, that it may be preserved. So it is through personal contact and association that men are reached by the saving power of the gospel. They are not saved as masses, but as individuals. Personal influence is a power. It is to work with the influence of Christ, . . . and to stay the progress of the world’s corruption. . . . It is to uplift, to sweeten the lives and characters of others by the power of a pure example united with earnest faith and love. . . . 

     The polluted stream represents the soul that is separate from God. . . . Through sin, the whole human organism is deranged, the mind is perverted, the imagination corrupted; the faculties of the soul are degraded. There is an absence of pure religion, of heart holiness. The converting power of God has not wrought in transforming the character. . . .       The heart that receives the word of God is not as a pool that evaporates. . . . It is like a river constantly flowing and, as it advances, becoming deeper and wider, until its life-giving waters are spread over all the earth. . . . So it is with the true child of God. The religion of Christ reveals itself as a vitalizing, pervading principle, a living, working, spiritual energy. When the heart is opened to the heavenly influence of truth and love, these principles will flow forth again like streams in the desert, causing fruitfulness to appear where now are barrenness and dearth.  – Conflict and Courage, p. 224 

  “We as a people do not believe it our duty to go out of the world to be out of the fashion. If we have a neat, plain, modest, and comfortable plan of dress, and worldlings choose to dress as we do, shall we change this mode of dress in order to be different from the world? No, we should not be odd or singular in our dress for the sake of differing from the world, lest they despise us for so doing. Christians are the light of the world, the salt of the earth. Their dress should be neat and modest, their conversation chaste and heavenly, and their deportment blameless.  – Testimonies for the Church Vol. 1, p.424 

Now I would just like to share a thought of my own. While serving as a lay pastor in Texas I was always troubled by the several dark counties that we had there. I often prayed for opportunities to enter those dark counties and evangelize them. However, I  had so much to do in my own county I could never do that. Then a thought occurred to me. Maybe it is not my responsibility. Maybe rather than having thousands of Adventists congregate into one little Adventist community like Keene or Collegedale, God would rather have those people move out into these dark counties and plant new churches. Just a thought I would like to throw out before I go back to minding my own business now.