Friday, October 1, 2010

perfecting holiness

I was reading my bible this past Wednesday night I came across this verse:
Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.-2 Corinthians 7:1. I have heard this verse before but I have never sat down and taken the time to think about what exactly it means to perfect holiness. 

We are told through out the bible the importance of being holy.  In 1 Peter 1:16 we are told "be holy as I am holy."  Now I don't know about you, but for me this verse is a little overwhelming.  The dictionary defines holy as: Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintlyWhen I think of the word HOLY these are the people that come to my mind: the Holy Spirit, Jesus, Noah, John the Baptist, C.S. Lewis, Billy Graham, etc. ....See what I mean by overwhelming?!

How can I become holy? I am FAR from perfect.  I struggle with sin, as I am sure all of you do.  But thankfully we don't have to worry about our sin separating us from God anymore. Jesus took care of that. But how can we, just ordinary sinful people perfect holiness? 

As I was thinking about this another verse popped in my head. Philippians 2:5.  It says: Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus. Who, being in very natureGod,  did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature  of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

When I read this verse I can breathe a sigh of relief.  As I read "...did not consider equality God something to be grasped" I realize God knows I am not perfect and does not expect me to be.  But I am to follow the example Christ has set for us and learn to die to myself so Christ can live fully in me (Galations 2:20).  When we let Christ be the ruler of hearts and lives He helps us to "purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit", which is necessary in perfecting holiness.

So now WHY do we need to purify ourselves and perfect holiness? Well, it tells us right in the verse. It is "out of reverence for God." This is how I see it: perfecting holiness is a ongoing process.  It is not something to be grasped but something to strive for.  It is impossible to do with an unclean heart and that is where Jesus comes in.  He gives of an example of a blameless life and if I can take up my cross and follow Him, He will show me what it truly means to be holy.

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