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November 27, 2017

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PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD

"Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Corinthians 7:1

Today we find very little teaching of holiness and even less in the performance of it. It seems average Christians are satisfied with their spiritual life as is, without any desire to be all God wants them to be or any effort to "grow in grace" as Peter exhorts all to do (2 Peter 3:18).

Holiness is not some pious attitude that causes us to be isolated from the world or clothed with some self-righteous display that is of no affect to anyone. We see too much of this and it is dishonoring to God. Holiness is simply the displacement of self and the enthronement of God in His rightful place. When He is on the throne of our heart, God is all and self is nothing.

How does this take place? Paul said there must be a renewing of our mind. "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus" (Philippians 2:5). The mind of Christ was first and foremost obedient and in humble submission to the will of the Father. Everything else was subservient to this. This should be our starting point. There is no place for pride, self-sufficiency or arrogance if humility before God is to characterize our life. Humility before God is the very essence of holiness and God's blessing in our life.

As Christ embraces our life with the reality of an intimate personal relationship, we will seek to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. We will not take pride in the things we put off that are displeasing to God. We will humbly seek to "put on Christ" and be clothed with His virtues. Jesus said, "Learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and you shall find rest unto your souls" (Matthew 11:29). Humility is one of the highest graces and one of the hardest to attain. Jesus said, "He that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger, and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. I am among you as he that serves" (Luke 22:26-27). Oh, that we might have a servant's heart and seek to magnify the Lord in every phase of our life. This will be the fruit of a humble heart and a contrite spirit that is in submission to His lordship.

We must "cleanse ourselves of filthiness of the flesh and spirit." Standing in awe of God must precede, not follow, the purification of our hearts. It is when we embrace a tenderness of conscience and a watchfulness of mind that our hearts are open in reverential awe of who God is. The searchlight of God shines on the wretchedness of our life in the light of His holy righteous being. We desire to put off the filthiness of the flesh and sins, which arise from the body--uncleanness, intemperance, lust, laziness, irresponsibility, and the like. Then there are sins of the mind--pride, envy, malice, revenge, deceit, and others that quench the Spirit. These must be cleansed, subdued, and put to death if we are to "perfect holiness in the fear of God."

"Holiness" is preceded by the fear of God and the image of God implanted in our soul. This is a positive renovation of the whole man by the power of the Holy Spirit. The fear of God is reverential awe of all that God is. "For unto us is given exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we may be partakers of the divine image" (2 Peter 1:4). These promises are of no avail unless we appropriate them, treasure them in our mind, plead them before God in prayer, and trust in the One who has given them to us! God will renew our minds and implant His holiness in our life to the praise of His glory. May this be the desire of our hearts and the joy of our life!

© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.


This page was reprinted by permission from: http://litmin.org/dare.php?date=2017-11-27


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