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February 29, 2016

A Holiness You Can Count On

I wake up and my first thought is how much I hurt – grumbling and complaining about getting old. Then I roll out of bed, and grimace as gravity works – in my back, hips, knees, and feet. I trip over my dog Charlie who wants me to pet him and then let him out – in that order. I mutter at him as I grab my housecoat, I stiffly walking to the kitchen for that needed cup of coffee.  BUT first I must let Charlie out and fill his dog food bowl.  I think through my day, letting concerns, fears, worries, whining, and doubts lead the way.

I sit down and read the Word of God. SWAT! Confronted with where my heart is in relation to a holy God. I register a negative one million to His infinite holiness. And all since I woke up, walked down the hall, got my coffee and sat down to meet with Him. I flunked before 9 in the morning. Ugh.

Jesus lived thirty three years, which is 12,045 days or 289,080 minutes (Yes, I Googled it.). That is 12, 045 day or 289, 080 minutes of absolutely totally completely flawless trust and surrender of His own will for the Father’s – all while that same gravity I chose to groan about was at work. Never a thought out of place.

Think of it: He had siblings (enough said, right?!), was a builder with his hands – smashed thumbs and no swearing or selfish grumblings, parents that were so…human and behind the times. That got Him to age thirty – amazingly without sinEVER. Then the real tests of Satan messing with Him after a forty day fast, disciples with child-like attitudes, Pharisees plotting to kill Him, and finally flogging and beating and mocking for claiming to be who He was – God.

FROM THE CROSS, WITH NAILS IN HIS WRISTS AND ANKLES,  GASPING FOR EVERY BREATH  – He asked the Father to forgive his murderers for they didn’t know what they were doing, made sure His mother was provided for, thirsted to fulfil Scripture, cried out that His work was finished, and died.

How do I know He did all this without sin? He rose from the dead three days later. Sinners are condemned to die and stay dead. Jesus rose from death. The Father was satisfied. Jesus did in the flesh on earth what He did as the second person of the Trinity – be holy. From petty things to profound things to horrific things – HOLY.

WITHOUT FAIL!!!

Unlike me…

Holiness is the essence of God – Father, Son, Spirit. Holiness is perfection in the purest state we can imagine – and then it is even whiter and cleaner than that. Holiness is pure in all its dealings, speaking, thoughts and actions. Never a thought, word, or action that defiles any part of who you are. Unattainable for humans in our own strength.

The standard is unreachable…without Jesus.

His holiness is transferred to our account when He saves us. God the Father looks on us as if WE had never sinned – because JESUS never sinned. And I mean not just NOT doing the bad things, but also ALWAYS doing all the right and good things. FOR THOSE OF US WHO COULDN’T MAKE IT A SINGLE MOMENT WITHOUT SIN.

Let me repeat that slowly for you.

WE. COULDN’T. LIVE. A. SINGLE. MOMENT. WITHOUT. SIN….EVER!

What does God’s holiness have to do with me and how my day begins… and then how I process fears, bitterness, pain, betrayal, isolation, anger when life keeps flying at me relentlessly, day after day, moment after moment, second after second?

Everything.

Without His holiness, I am doomed to drown in my sin. I am forever lost in my own filth and decay. I have no hope of peace, love, forgiveness, mercy, grace, goodness of any kind. I need His holiness. I need what Jesus offers me as God with skin on.

His holiness extended to me is my freedom to:

  • trust
  • forgive
  • release
  • extend mercy
  • be faithful
  • engage deep community
  • let God be the Redeemer of my broken soul

His gift of life is unspoiled by selfishness, a need to be repaid, or revenge. He gives us grace on account of Christ who died in our place, being holy for us, from the manger to the cross. God’s holy standard was met – He has high standards, remember? Only a perfect sacrifice sets a wretched sinner free from what He justly deserves – condemnation.

So what should our response be to the Father’s holiness and the holy life Jesus lived?

  • Awe and worship – It is a standard that makes Him truly good and trustworthy (No Greek gods here with thunder bolts.)
  • Thankfulness – It was for your salvation and enables you to truly know the One who made you
  • Surrender – His holiness makes His character altogether unchangeable, unaffected by our sin, and thus the greatest thing to give our lives to and for.
  • Receive- Jesus’ holiness is freely extended, not only to bring us to salvation, but to transform us into His image from day to day – until He returns and we see Him face to face or we go to meet Him at physical death.
  • Go – Live for Him as a recipient of the greatest gift you have ever received or ever will receive. Take it to the world who is also struggling under their own inability to be holy and failing miserably. They need this holy Savior just like you did and still do.

Will I wake up tomorrow with need for coffee, a new body, and a dog that doesn’t trip me all the way down the hall? Will I find myself fearful when I am in situations that are out of my control? Will bitterness still try to grab me when I remember what my wounds have cost me at the hands of another?

Yes. But my hope is not in MY humanness or brokenness or OTHER PEOPLE’S ability to be good and do right. My hope is in GOD’S perfect holy character extended to me in mercy and grace at the cross, filling me with His Spirit to enable me to walk after the One who is holy, letting Him form His character in me so that others will see Him and know He offers mercy and grace to them as well.

  • Where are you at in your understanding of His holiness?
  • What is your response to His holiness – what does it look like in your life as you embrace His holiness?
  • Who else in your life needs to know what Christ’s holiness sacrificed for them could bring them in eternal life, forgiveness, and peace?
  • How can I come alongside you to enable you to put this truth into action so you can live forward with confidence in Christ and without fear of your future?

A holiness you can count on and trust in for every moment of today AND tomorrow. Step into all He is and see He is faithful – because HE IS HOLY!

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