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 …
Scripture: Rev. 3:14 “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the origin of God’s creation: Rev. 3:15 “I know your works; you are neither cold nor hot. I wish that you were either cold or hot. 16 So, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, ‘I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing.’ You do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. 18 Therefore I counsel you to buy from me gold refined by fire so that you may be rich; and white robes to clothe you and to keep the shame of your nakedness from being seen; and salve to anoint your eyes so that you may see. 19 I reprove and discipline those whom I love. Be earnest, therefore, and repent. 20 Listen! I am standing at the door, knocking; if you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in to you and eat with you, and you with me. 21 To the one who conquers I will give a plac…
Galatians 4:19 My little children, for whom I am again in the pain of childbirth until Christ is formed in you, 20 I wish I were present with you now and could change my tone, for I am perplexed about you. Observation:
Paul’s deep love for his spiritual children in Galatia becomes evident in this passage. With very pastoral tones his heart grieves that these children have not pursued their very basic need, and that is for Christ to be formed in them. All else becomes a distraction to the desire that they become Christlike disciples. His heart aches at the loss of his children, those that had already been conceived but failed to thrive. Chrysostom refers to the loss of these children as spiritual miscarriages, and those for whom Paul is again, willing to travail in labor. Paul is perplexed by the Galatians’ attitude and is at a loss for words to understand what they have done; the result is a broken heart. Application:
Many churches have cute catchphrases and mission statement…