Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Grace Empowered Holiness



Scripture:

1Pet. 1:13   Therefore prepare your minds for action; discipline yourselves; set all your hope on the grace that Jesus Christ will bring you when he is revealed.  14 Like obedient children, do not be conformed to the desires that you formerly had in ignorance.  15 Instead, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct;  16 for it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Observation:

Peter charges Christ-followers to be prepared for action and to be imitators of Christ. All of this can only be seen or understood in light of the first 12 verses of the chapter. If we fail to see the grace of God at work in his children we will be more inclined to see this as a type of “works salvation.” That is not at all what the author had in mind. Instead it is a grace-filled holiness to which we are called. As the grace of God reaches out to his children we are drawn into a deeper relationship with Christ. It is in this koinonia, or fellowship, that we begin to take on the characteristics of the one with whom we are fellowshipping.

The understanding here for obedience is unique. The Hebrew phrase sees “obedience is a mother, whose characteristics the children should inherit.” (New Bible Commentary) Again, this is a gracious act, one that is handed down to the children from their mother. The family likeness is revealed in the children as they reflect the Image. We are to become like the family and in doing so, we reflect holiness. This is holiness empowered by grace; a grace that draws us ever closer into a deeper relationship with our holy God.

Application:

Grace and holiness have not always found their way into the same sentence. Unfortunately holiness has been mentioned more often within the context of a list of obedient behaviors than it has with grace.

Holiness really is a part of God’s plan of salvation because it is God’s character. As dearly loved children we are to look like the family. Sadly, I see too many Christians making excuses for looking like the world. The idea of holiness seems far too foreign but it could be because we are not taking time to be with the family.

There are too many distractions from family life. I think of the numbers of families that I see at a restaurant, supposedly eating together. The problem is that they are all on their electronic devices, from young to old, and are not paying any attention to one another. The art of conversation seems to be lost! How will these people develop into a family if they are not intentional about being a family?

The same is true for our spiritual family. If we are distracted by the things of the world, we will be like the world. To be like Christ means we have to put down the electronic devices and spend time in his holy presence. It is there that we experience his transformative grace. It is this grace which empowers us for holy living, a holy living that reflects the very nature of God.

Don’t be overwhelmed by thinking that you need to figure out how to live the life of holiness; spend time with God and then reflect his character. This is grace empowered holiness.

Prayer:

Lord, please help me to reflect you today.  Amen.


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