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Bible Ballistics: Vol. 12 No.20 A Holy or A Holey New Year??

 

And make straight paths for your feet,

lest that which is lame

be turned out of the way;

but let it rather be healed.

14 Follow peace with all men,

and holiness,

without which

no man shall see the Lord:”   Hebrews 12:13-14

I love Swiss cheese, and one of its qualities is the large holes that are in the cheese. I can remember as a child thinking that was a rip off—why pay for cheese when it has holes in it, so it’s not all there? But as I grew and matured I learned that the holes in Swiss cheese are part of what gives it its flavor. The holes are caused when elements interact between the lactic acid in the milk and certain bacteria and organisms; the creation of carbon dioxide creates pockets of air that result in the mature cheese having holes. In fact agro-scientists have even figured out how to control the size of the holes by controlling the amounts of certain things that can be added to the milk.

Well, believers in Jesus are called to the “holy” not “holey”! In fact you could say that we are called to be “wholly holy” not affected by the things of the world, but maintaining a “wholly holy” walk before our God and the world that He has called us to be a testimony to! And David was a great testimony of the power of God in the life of someone devoted to God. Even though David had his faults, when he sinned he knew how to repent, return to God and restore his fellowship with God. David records one of the greatest pictures of this from his experience (as well as inspiration) in Psalm 51.

Behold, thou desirest truth

in the inward parts:

and in the hidden part

thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

7 Purge me with hyssop,

and I shall be clean:

wash me,

and I shall be whiter than snow.

8 Make me to hear joy and gladness;

that the bones which thou hast broken

may rejoice.

9 Hide thy face from my sins,

and blot out all mine iniquities.

10 Create in me a clean heart,

O God;

and renew a right spirit

within me.

11 Cast me not away

from thy presence;

and take not thy holy spirit

from me.

12 Restore unto me

the joy of thy salvation;

and uphold me

with thy free spirit.

13 Then will I teach transgressors

thy ways;

and sinners shall be converted

unto thee.

14 Deliver me

from bloodguiltiness,

O God,

thou God

of my salvation:

and my tongue shall sing aloud

of thy righteousness.

15 O Lord, open thou my lips;

and my mouth shall shew forth

thy praise.

16 For thou desirest not sacrifice;

else would I give it:

thou delightest not in burnt offering.

17 The sacrifices of God are

a broken spirit:

a broken and a contrite heart,

O God,

thou wilt not despise.”   Psalm 51:6-17

While we must keep this in the context in which it was written, (the personal, permanent indwelling of the Holy Spirit had not yet been accomplished) the message that David imparts to us, if we will be see it and receive it, is that even when we are in pain due to our own sin and failure returning to the throne of God, and seeking HIS face in repentance, brings His healing, and the restorative work of forgiveness, and bringing us back into intimate fellowship with Him. But He will also restore us to a place of usefulness in HIS kingdom. I love that David’s reveals the progression of God’s restorative work in us, to forgive us when we seek Him, desiring the restoration of our intimate fellowship with God, and the sense of HIS presence in our daily living. It’s almost the same message that the Apostle John gives us in his first letter.

If we say that we have

fellowship with him,

and walk in darkness,

we lie,

and do not the truth:

7 But if we walk in the light,

as he is in the light,

we have fellowship

one with another,

and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son

cleanseth us from all sin.

8 If we say that we have no sin,

we deceive

ourselves,

and the truth

is not in us.

9 If we confess

our sins,

he is faithful

and just

to forgive us

our sins,

and to cleanse us

from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:6-9

John reminds us that while Christians aren’t perfect, we do have an “advocate with the Father” when we sin! We have One who can and will forgive us when we confess (agree with God that we have sinned, and not try to rename it, clean it up or agree with the world that it’s ok to sin), and He not only forgives but also cleanse us “from all unrighteousness”! God will restore our fellowship with Him, and also our opportunities of service to HIM. We must understand that when we choose to sin, and walk “in the dark” there are consequences that will affect our lives; and while not all things can be wholly restored when they are broken (especially human relationships and reputations!). Yet the point I want us to see, is that when we strive for ‘holiness’ rather than settling “holeyness”, we will avoid many of the pitfalls of this world; for even genuine believers must understand that while we are free to make our own choices, we are not free to choose the consequences. And as I’ve heard it said before: “Sin will take you farther that you wanted to go, keep you longer than you wanted to stay, and will cost you more that you wanted to pay”, and that is a true principle of God.

Be not deceived;

God is not mocked:

for whatsoever a man soweth,,

that shall he also reap.” Galatians 6:7

So as we strive for holiness in all our ways, I would simply like to share a few passages that will point us in the right direction as we enter a new year. I encourage you to check your Bible concordance and search for the places where God calls us to “be holy”! It can be a great eye-opening exercise.

I beseech you therefore, brethren,

by the mercies of God,

that ye present your bodies

a living sacrifice,

holy,

acceptable unto God,

which is your reasonable service.

2 And be not conformed

to this world:

but be ye transformed

by the renewing

of your mind,

that ye may prove

what is that good,

and acceptable,

and perfect,

will of God.”   Romans 12:1-2

Did you notice that we are to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy” before our God, and that is “acceptable unto God”, what does that make “holey”? God Himself calls us to holiness!

As obedient children,

not fashioning yourselves

according to the former lusts

in your ignorance:

15 But as he

which hath called you

is holy,

so be ye

holy

in all manner of conversation;

16 Because it is written,

Be ye holy;

for I am holy.”   1 Peter 1:14-16

And where is it “written”?

And ye shall

be holy unto me:

for I the LORD am holy,

and have severed you

from other people,

that ye should be mine.”    Leviticus 20:26

God hasn’t changed the rules—but HE has given us Jesus, who IS the way to have His laws written in our hearts, rather than on tables of stone—HIS name is JESUS, and He imparts His Holy Spirit to those who are born again!!! And as His own Spirit-filled people we are called to live His Way!

But the day of the Lord will come

as a thief in the night;

in the which the heavens shall pass away

with a great noise,

and the elements shall melt

with fervent heat,

the earth also

and the works that are therein

shall be burned up.

11 Seeing then

that all these things shall be dissolved,

what manner of persons

ought ye to be

in all holy conversation

and godliness,

12 Looking for and hasting

unto the coming of the day of God,

wherein the heavens being on fire

shall be dissolved,

and the elements

shall melt with fervent heat?

13 Nevertheless we,

according to his promise,

look for new heavens

and a new earth,

wherein dwelleth righteousness.

14 Wherefore, beloved,

seeing that ye look for such things,

be diligent that ye may be found

of him

in peace,

without spot,

and blameless.” 1 Peter 3:10-14

Since God has done so much for us, how can we do less than pursue His “holiness”, that He may be glorified and others may see Him in us? And as I close for today, I’d like to offer a challenge to each of us, especially those who participate in social media—watch what you write, what you share, what the comments on your feed say, and ask how YOU are reflecting Jesus? If you claim to belong to Jesus, why do the same ugly words appear on your feed as appear on the pages of the ungodly? If your share things, have you checked out the source? There are a lot of “cutesy”, seemingly nice, even ‘godly’ sounding posts that are coming from sites that are lurking to trip people up and trap them into ‘new age’ bunk that, as scripture says, “even denying the Lord who bought them”? And on a more personal note, are there words coming out of your mouth that shouldn’t be in a “holy” persons vocabulary? Are there actions or gestures that you use that don’t belong in the life of someone pursuing “holiness”? Do you watch and listen to things that blaspheme the Savior that you claim to love? It’s time (and a good New Year’s project) to examine our own lives and ask God to help us draw nearer to HIM and not the world. Whose altar are you really worshipping at? May we be found faithful when He comes—and that may be sooner than we think!!! It’s your choice, but remember there is a test at the end!

Judge me, O LORD;

for I have walked in

mine integrity:

I have trusted also

in the LORD;

therefore I shall not slide.

2 Examine me, O LORD,

and prove me;

try my reins

and my heart.

3 For thy lovingkindness

is before mine eyes:

and I have walked

in thy truth.” Psalm 26:1-3

Prove all things;

hold fast that which is good.

22 Abstain from all appearance of evil.

23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;

and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body

be preserved blameless

unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

24 Faithful is he that calleth you,

who also will do it.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21-24

‘Nuff said! Amen and Amen!!!