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God's Presence - Holiness

1 Thessalonians 5:23 Now may the God of peace make you holy in every way, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless until our Lord Jesus Christ comes again.24 God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful.

To live a holy life seems so unachievable. And it is....short of God's grace and presence in our lives. It seems we stay away from this subject because we know deep inside just how much we sin, even though we have the Holy Spirit in our life. Also, we are very sensitive to the fact of being "puffed up" ourselves and there must be a sense of true humility when thinking about holiness. Paul addressed this subject as a man who was truly humble and truly putting this subject in the right frame of mind. So in the above scripture, his desire for those in the church at Thessalonica was to realize God-made holiness. Paul's desire was for God to make them holy with holiness that can only come from a forgiven life that is lived in the grace of God. Of course, this is only possible through the continued "change" that comes through the power of the Holy Spirit as our lives become more and more like Jesus.

Perhaps this could be the "tipping point" to upright the ship to more smooth sailing on the troubled waters of life. This ship sails so as to make confusion, clarity, and troubled life, one of peace. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says 17 Therefore if anyone is in Christ, this person is a new creation; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come. To take a life bent on sin and make it a life that is immersed in the holiness of God is something only God can do. And He does it!! To live a life that is living in fear and change it to a life that is moving forward in faith. This life is a "changed" life. Not a temporary change, but a permanent God-centered change that no longer conforms to former lusts or desires, but conforms to God's Word and God's will. Peter wrote this in 1 Peter 3: 14-16 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance,15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior;16 because it is written: “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

In our flesh, we know that this life of holiness is unattainable, but in reality, it is not something we attain, but accept. You may think "Boy, David you are really getting really weird and spiritual right now, and you are right." When we deny self and trust God in the living of our daily life, God actually "does" take over and begin a very spiritual response to our commitment and there is an end result that is Godly and holy. The only thing that might surprise us is that our thinking about everything changes and we are no longer thinking like the world we live in.

God's presence changes everything and His continued pouring of the Holy Spirit into our life takes the process of sanctification to a whole new Holy level. The rich young ruler in Matthew 19 approached Jesus thinking he was a worthy candidate for this great salvation and Jesus really loved him, but Jesus had to reveal the truth that we are "nothing" without God and that wealth and lavish giving and following a set of rules is not how to be born-again. Only through God's grace can we receive God's forgiveness and a right relationship with God. The very "spiritual" sacrifice of the perfect one Jesus can wash our sins away and nothing else.

Jesus' disciples couldn't grasp the immensity of salvation and they said to Jesus in Matthew 19:23 And Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly I say to you, it will be hard for a rich person to enter the kingdom of heaven.24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.”25 When the disciples heard this, they were very astonished and said, “Then who can be saved?”26 And looking at them, Jesus said to them, “With people this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Since salvation is nothing of us, then holiness is nothing of us also. But it doesn't change the fact that when the Holy Spirit is in control holiness will be the result of that relationship. Nothing of us, but everything of God!!

God's presence in our lives in the person of the Holy Spirit is real and life-changing and the sooner we realize what is happening in each of us, the sooner we move on to a deeper walk with God. God's presence is real and really life-changing to make us holy before Him and holy in our lifestyle. To deny it is to minimize God's presence in our lives. Verse 24 in the above verse in 1 Thessalonians says it this way. God will make this happen, for he who calls you is faithful. A. W. Tozer wrote Holiness, as taught in the Scriptures, is not based upon knowledge on our part. Rather, it is based upon the resurrected Christ in-dwelling us and changing us into His likeness.”

The Pilgrimage Continues...

David Warren

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