My posts come from my personal daily scripture readings and a part of my personal accountability. If we are going to grow as followers of Christ, we must be in the Word! If you miss these a few days, something has kept me from it; but if they're gone for too many days, call me on the carpet. We need to hold one another accountable. Join me on this journey as our lives are to Reflect the Image-and Jesus IS the image. Peace, Carla Sunberg
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The Promise of Holiness
The dome of St. Peter's in Rome.
Ezek. 28:25 Thus says the Lord GOD: When I gather the house of Israel from the peoples among whom they are scattered, and manifest my holiness in them in the sight of the nations, then they shall settle on their own soil that I gave to my servant Jacob. 26 They shall live in safety in it, and shall build houses and plant vineyards. They shall live in safety, when I execute judgments upon all their neighbors who have treated them with contempt. And they shall know that I am the LORD their God.
After speaking oracles against many of Israel’s neighbors Ezekiel returns us for a moment of reflection upon the promise for Israel. This is the hope of restoration: when they return home and are restored, then the very holiness of God will be revealed in them. God will be sanctified in the eyes of those who do not believe because of the restoration of God’s people.
Ultimately the Israelites were never to see this come to completion. It was, however, a word of promise for those who would be grafted into God’s family. Both Jews and Gentiles would have the opportunity of living in the promise of holiness. When the Messiah came, he brought the holiness of God into human form, making it possible for this holiness of God to made visible to the world. The result is a promise of restoration for those who will live in Christ. Embracing life in the kingdom of God, the vision is becoming a reality, “as if looking in a mirror dimly” but then we will see “face to face.” (I Cor. 13)
We press on then, to hold onto the promise that has already been given. Holiness is to be a present reality, reflected in the daily lives of those who are living clothed in Christ. But the promise of holiness is always seen in light of restoration. It is restoration in the image of God, made available for Jew and Greek, slave and free, male and female. (Galatians 3:28) When the holiness of Christ is manifest in this world, then the restoration of individuals makes others stand up and take notice. God’s church ought to be a place that reflects this restoration, and when that happens then God is sanctified in the eyes of the world.
The church becomes a living witness to the holiness of God when she lives in the promise of restoration. The Lord is on full display through the work of redemption in broken humanity. Expressions of truth and mercy are reflections of God’s holiness which ought to be seen in and through the life of the church.
Through God’s holiness restoration includes the cure for sins and transformation in the present. We can live a victorious Christian life, unchained by the sins of our past. This is what God was offering Israel but they refused to embrace the gift. The entire gift presented through Jesus Christ is salvation from our sins and healing from the wounds of the past, restoring us into a reflection of him. This is the promise of holiness.
Lord, may I be clothed in you today and everyday, reflecting your holiness in this world. Amen.
Rom. 6:22 But now that you have been freed from sin and enslaved to God, the advantage you get is sanctification. The end is eternal life. Rom. 6:23 For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Two sides of life are presented here in great contrast. One is a life of sin and enslavement to evil. The other side of life is freedom which provides the advantage of sanctification (or holiness as some translate the word) that leads to eternal life. The options here are a life of sin, slavery and death; or freedom, holiness and eternal life.
The advantage of holiness or sanctification is the benefit of the life of freedom. Jesus died so that we might be made holy like him and this is something that is offered as a “fruit” or “advantage” right now. The end is eternal life — but the living of life is that it can be lived out in holiness.
The next verse is really just an affirmation of the verse 22. Sin will lead …
Ex. 33:4 ¶ When the people heard these harsh words, they mourned, and no one put on ornaments. Ex. 33:5 For the LORD had said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘You are a stiff-necked people; if for a single moment I should go up among you, I would consume you. So now take off your ornaments, and I will decide what to do to you.’” Ex. 33:6 Therefore the Israelites stripped themselves of their ornaments, from Mount Horeb onward.
The people had sinned before God by making and worshiping the golden calf! They had taken their golden jewelry — the earrings and other items they had gotten from the Egyptians and used them to create an idol. Now, in an act of humility and repentance they were to take off all of their jewelry and ornaments. It was a time of mourning over their sin and it included intentional action on the part of the Israelites. Application:
We don’t do all that well with humility and repentance! It seems that we live in a time when we try to carry on…
Scripture: Mark 8:31 Then he began to teach them that the Son of Man must undergo great suffering, and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests, and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again. 32 He said all this quite openly. And Peter took him aside and began to rebuke him. 33 But turning and looking at his disciples, he rebuked Peter and said, “Get behind me, Satan! For you are setting your mind not on divine things but on human things.” Observation:
Peter had openly declared that Jesus was the Messiah when suddenly the conversation shifted to suffering, rejection and death. With his affirmation of Jesus as Messiah, Peter had brought with him all of the connotations of that term. Jesus was to be a great military leader, a Davidic Messiah, who would save the people from the earthly authorities. Jesus’ description was a paradigm that didn’t fit into Peter’s thinking.
Peter’s rebuke of Jesus was severe. The language reflects a long and unpleasant conversation. The…