Holiness - The Way, Truth and Life

March 24, 2001

When Jesus walked this earth, He was holy. You may say that it was easy for Him, He was born holy and without the original sin that we have inherited. That's true but the problem with us is that we often try too hard. Have you ever heard someone say to you that no one said that the Christian life would be easy? I have, many times. Jesus told us in Matthew 11:28,

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
Our problem is that we want to be holy under our own power, it won't work, it's hard. For me to be more like Jesus, I must take upon His nature and that means as I decrease, He increases. The more that I deny myself, the more that Jesus is exalted. Simple enough, Kindergarten theology. True holiness can be very elusive however.

It is true that we must seek righteousness to be holy. That does not mean that we do it on our own, it means that we have made the decision to follow Christ and are willing to take upon His holy nature. This is the first step of faith but it does not mean that we go to a preacher that says, recite after me, and then leave the church thinking that our decision for Christ is enough. To put on Jesus takes more than faith; faith is just the beginning. We deny ourselves and that means repentance of our former way of thinking and begin thinking like Jesus. We love each other. We do things differently that we used to. Our priorities have changed. Instead of ourselves being the center of the universe, we become God-centric.

As long as you allow yourself to be drawn away from holiness and toward your own lusts, it can be hard. Did you know that many of those that look the most righteous and holy are the ones that the devil does not need to tempt? When self-righteousness sets in, you look real good on the outside but it is just a white wash, when you appear righteous, you start to think that you are more righteous than others so you treat them that way. The devil already has you right where he wants you so he leaves you alone. Spic and span Christians can look really good but they speak with the flesh and try to make you into their own image. When you desire the nature of Jesus, you are aware of your sinfulness in the flesh and are exposed to the power of the Holy Spirit. The devil doesn't like that so you go through the wilderness experiences, testing, temptations and purging and he is just around the corner waiting for you to mess up so that he can defeat you with guilt trips and unbelief. And others will resent you.

The more that we allow Jesus to take control of our lives, the easier it becomes. This is maturity. I hear of those that teach that holiness is in our position in Christ through our salvation. That is a half truth. I would rather think that many are called but few are chosen and we are to endure to the end.

Jude 1:5, I will therefore put you in remembrance, though ye once knew this, how that the Lord, having saved the people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed them that believed not.

I get prophets coming to me frequently that want to be part of our anointing and teach us. Jesus is the teacher but they think that since God speaks through them that everything they say is from Jesus. Pride has already set in before they see our unity and it says a lot about how this group is coming across to others. I get e-mail from those that think that they are one or both of the two witnesses or that they are the one and only Elijah and they have the authority to dictate to me and this group what should be taught. If we do not accept what they have to say, they think we are rejecting the truth. There is a better way and a deeper truth.

Jesus is the way, if we want to accept the words of others, it had better be the way that Jesus has given us to follow and that is the way of love, holiness, denying ourselves and taking up His cross. Jesus is the truth, when we accept the truth that others give as their truth, it better be the truth that come from the right source or it can be only half-truth, which is not good enough for holiness. No one here cares how right you are or how smart you are, we want Jesus. It matters not that you think you have the truth for even cults and legalistic denominations think they have it, in fact they think that they have the corner on the truth. Right? He is the life and if we are a part of that life, then we are a part of a life that is composed of a body of believers that love each other as He loves us and we give ourselves to each other as He has given Himself for us. And we teach each other in the power of the Holy Spirit and lift each other up, not put anyone down.

Unity, holiness and love. These three make up the true Bride of Christ that follows the way, the truth and the life. Beware of false imitations that would have us follow them.

I think that this reflects the unity of thought that you have brought to us this time.

Jay

Christian Freedom and Holiness. "Be Holy as I am Holy." I Peter 1:16

A discussion I had with a friend yesterday, I said I have no choice, I have to follow Jesus. She said you have a choice. I said OK, I can follow Him and have a sense of hope, joy, peace, love, fellowship, or I can chose not to pray, talk to Him, read His word, seek Him as I walk through my day and feel the loneliness, the emptiness that I used to be so familiar with before I met Him. So that is why I say I have no choice. I like - need the feeling of being with Him.

The same applies to holiness. Before I met Him I had no problem with sinning. In fact I was really good at it. Didn't even feel guilt on some really horrible things that I did. But I met Him and He set me free from some obvious sins that had a strong hold over my life. I figured if He could set me free from some destructive sins in my life then I was going to read His word and find out what else He could set me free from. Some things fell away easily, some things I would have to remind myself over and over this is sin, God help me turn from this sin. Does this mean I have become holy? In a way, because I am reminded that He says, "The prayers of a righteous man availeth much" - James 5:16 - Greek def. innocent, holy, just, meet, right. A righteous man is someone who believes in Jesus.

So in a sense I am holy, but I know that in my flesh is no good thing and so my spirit is constantly fighting against my flesh. So I have the choice, I can pray, seek Him, ask for His help to fight the sins that easily overtake me, or I can go my own way, justifying my actions. But I remember that before I knew Him how one sin led to another and how lonely, depressed I would feel. So I chose Him. I chose Him to help me to fight the good fight, I chose to feel the hope that with His help these sins will not have such a strong hold over me.

I am human and I know that there will always be some sin that will demand attention and that it will remain this way until I see Him face to face. But at least the good news is that with Him helping me and teaching me, I am getting stronger every day.

To Him who is able to keep us,
Arlette

Saint is a very common term, especially in the writings of St. Paul, Hebrews and Revelation, for the ordinary member of the Christian community. The 'saints' are those 'consecrated' to the service of God. The word does not imply, and is used frequently to enforce the teaching, that those that are 'holy' in this sense must become daily fitted, morally and spiritually, for the service to which they are committed [Rom. 6:17,18,22 ; 1Pet. 1:15-16].

The usage of the word holy as applied to men may be expected to be governed by the idea, applied also to things and places, that what is related to God or is used in His service is itself 'holy'. We find such usages accordingly [Lk. 1:70 ; Acts 3:21 ; 2Pet. 3:2 ; Eph. 3:5 ; 1Pet. 3:5]. All these are so spoken of, primarily, as those who have been or are the special instruments of the Divine will and in intimate fellowship with God in the work of revelation and redemption.

The conception of purity, in the NT is entirely ethical. As regards the practice of the Apostolic Church, the incident of Acts 10:9-16 is instructive. We may be certain that St. Peter was not the only one who was 'much perplexed within himself' as to the full scope of Jesus' principle that the real seat of defilement is within. The Apostolic Decree of Acts 15:29 was essentially a concession to Jewish prejudices, but at the same time was no doubt actuated by the spirit of Christian love, which forbids one's doing violence to the conscience of a brother, merely for the purpose of asserting an abstract and selfish liberty [1Cor. 8:1 , 10:23].

The present-day phenomenon of 'practical' Christianity, as distinct from spiritual and devotional---'enthusiasm for humanity' ---is really, in its fundamental conception, out of accord with the teaching of the NT on holiness, as a summary of the Christian character. What characterizes the NT writers everywhere is their 'enthusiasm for God, as revealed in Jesus, and the social conscience is a manifestation from the same source.

Christian conduct is not a task set by God, but a sharing of the Divine nature; not a doctrine, but a life.
In Christ,
Timothy.

I've been a long-time recipient of your posts, Jay, but this is the first time that I've written back. Let me begin by commending you for speaking what I and others who share Christ's spirit recognize as truth, especially regarding the present condition and direction of the Church.

Regarding the mark of the beast and the Seal of God being IN and not ON the forehead, I can confirm this with the passage in Exodus 13:8-9 "On this day you shall explain to your son, 'This is because of what the Lord did for me when I came out of Egypt.' It shall be as a sign on your hand and as a reminder on your forehead; thus the law of the Lord will ever be on your lips...". It is only because of a "Hollywood" depiction of the end times and those lukewarm who would like to sit back and say "well, we are nowhere near having a militia visit me at my door with a tattoo gun to mark me, so everything is just fine, we are nowhere near the end", so they forget that God looks at your heart, and that is where the mark is. It's the code by which you will live your life. They will also be the ones who will be caught off-guard by the Thief in the Night, and they will also be the Foolish Virgins who Jesus will say, "Be gone you evil-doers, I never knew you."

So many people who believe they will be saved by their simply being baptized into a church or that they have been redeemed by wearing a crucifix around their neck forget that Jesus will not acknowledge all who call Him "Lord, Lord" as He stands in Final Judgment. So, then it becomes the ministry of those of us who see this in the world around us to wake up those who have fallen asleep, no matter how difficult a task that may be. One thing that my father told me recently, and it's something that I will remember for the rest of my life, and now I tell whoever is reading this, "Only you can do the work that God has for you to do." We all have certain gifts that we bring to the church in our personal experiences and abilities as far as ministry is concerned, and we all have a place in the church. Our goal is to find that place and do the best job that we can in that position, always being open to the Spirit for guidance.

I think that's all I have for now. Until next time, James (1:22)

James Hannibal

That was a good post, Jay. The only thing I could add is that since we are spiritually dead before we become believers and can do nothing for ourselves, we first must hear the call of God on our hearts, for it is to Him the glory goes for our salvation. We aren't able to raise ourselves from the condition of spiritual deadness any more than Lazarus was able to raise himself from physical deadness. We certainly do have free choice, and it is according to our nature. If we are unregenerate, we aren't going to choose to follow after God. He tells us He chose us, we didn't choose Him. But once He has chosen us and moved on our hearts, our free will follows once again our nature, which is at that point spiritual.

By His Grace, Joan

And Jesus called a little child unto him, and set him in the midst of them, And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name receiveth me. But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea. (Mt 18:2-6)

This verse seems simple enough. If we want to gain entrance to the kingdom of heaven we must first, obviously, believe in Jesus. Second, we must be "converted." Third, we must "become as little children." I think it's a safe bet that most of the subscribers to this list profess to believe in Jesus. What I'm not sure of, however, is how many have gone through the process of being converted followed by becoming as little children.

With respect to belief in Jesus, one presumes that as a part of this belief, he becomes "Lord" for the believer. Literally, for the believer, he becomes the one in whose life, ministry and mission is found the whole of God's purpose by way of analogy, the "headstone" or "cornerstone" in, by or upon which the integrity of that purpose lies.

"For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us." (2Cor 1:20)

Jesus gives meaning to the sum of all God's works. In this way he gives glory to God. Of course, the new believer doesn't as yet understand this meaning. He or she may know how they and the world came to be in such a state, but they don't as yet know why. All they know is that, by some miracle of God, they recognize Jesus his life, ministry, and mission as being the point upon which the whole of God's creation revolves.

When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am? And they said, Some say that thou art John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven. (Mt 16:13-17)

This is the "rock" upon which Jesus builds his church. Then, what's supposed to happen next (returning to Mt 18:3) is that the believer be converted literally, "turned around." The analogy of discovering one's self as being on the wrong path works. Consequent to recognizing Jesus as Lord comes a gradual realization that the path the way we follow is the wrong way. We aren't "changed" as some misread the conversion process; indeed, we don't need to recognize Jesus to find ourselves offended by or have misgivings with respect to the present path of family, friends, or society. Indeed, neither are we alone. Plenty of folk would join us if we elect to go right at the next fork rather than left. Moreover, some may even follow us if we elected to go back to the previous fork. Few, however, would follow all the way back to the beginning. Which is, in fact, precisely what's required to "be converted and become as little children."

There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews: The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him. Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born? Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. (John 3:1-5)

I hear a lot of chatter about "born-again" and "spirit baptisms." Perhaps (in the spirit of ecumenicity) we might also gore a couple Protestant oxen while we're at it on this list. For some of us, Jesus doesn't seem to quite figure as the pivot point for the whole of God's creation. And of those for whom he does, some of us have blazed a trail to the right and some to the left and some have even backtracked a bit. To all these I have a word: Your baptism whether by sprinkling, dunking, or total immersion; whether as an infant, a precocious nine year-old, or a penitent adult means nothing except as a material demonstration of a spiritual truth. Until you backtrack and revisit the whole of the utter squalor and abject shame of your slanders, treacheries, robberies, adulteries, tortures, and murders the whole host of your transgressions against God, your brothers and sisters and yourself, you cannot see the kingdom of God.

What's more, until you backtrack even further and revisit the scene of your molestation by a brother or an uncle, the scene of your bloody back and splintered teeth by your father, the scene of your mother spread-eagled for someone other than whom she was married, the scene of your pierced heart stabbed over and over by the cruel play of kids in your neighborhood and school, the scene of your want for food, for new shoes, for love, for attention until you can then, even then, thank God for the difference thank God for the separation all this caused in you from your friends, your family, your community and your church until you can then, even then, thank God for not listening (though he listened) when you cried out in the throes of your perpetually recurring anguish and pain, "Why me, God? Why couldn't I have been born into another family? Why couldn't I have a normal life?" until then until you receive this baptism this scourging, cleansing fire until then you cannot enter into the kingdom of God. For you, as yet, remain unclean.

And James and John, the sons of Zebedee, come unto him, saying, Master, we would that thou shouldest do for us whatsoever we shall desire. And he said unto them, What would ye that I should do for you? They said unto him, Grant unto us that we may sit, one on thy right hand, and the other on thy left hand, in thy glory. But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withal shall ye be baptized . . . . (Mk 10:35-39)

Finally, for those who may in fact be truly "turned around," I have this word: Being "converted" and becoming "as little children" also entails revisiting the scripture you thought you understood upon your acceptance of Jesus as your Lord and Savior. More horror has been visited upon your spirit than has ever been upon your flesh . . .

These things have I written unto you concerning them that seduce you. But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. (1Jn 2:26-27)

Mark Staab

Before the priests of old were able to enter into the Holy of Holies, they had to purify themselves in an extensive ritual, before entering, and then only once a year. We now live in an era of God's grace, but it does not negate the great necessity of purity, which we cannot attain without Christ's intervention. It also requires us to do our part as well.

We are called to be Priests of the Most High God, and as such, their is a certain requirement on our parts to fulfill, and this by choice. As we get closer to the time of His return, the heat is turned up, and the purifying intensifies, and this is what is happening at present. What we used to get away with before, we can no longer get away with now. The closer we get to His throne, the purer we must become, and only by His work of grace through us, yes.

The Lord gave us all He could when He gave His life on the cross, and this in its entirety is the grace spoken of, because God did not have to do it, but He did because He so loved us, that He gave all He could. To use grace as a reason to be and do all that we please reduces it to yet another party gift just like prophecy and many of the other gifts have been used for.

How many churches have I been in that throw out a personal prophecy to every new face, to give them a taste. These gifts have been used for wrong purposes. We cannot be legalistic, but we also cannot water down the word either. I agree that there is life after death, for what other hope is there for salvation? Believers today have so many of the worlds attitudes to reason, to truth, to all things theological, and we must make a definition, before it is too late.

The new age movement now accept Jesus as a prophet, and include Him in their deities, so in the very near future, if not already, we will be sharing our doctrine with these, and who will suffer the most do you think. This movement, even though it is erroneous and anti-christ in its philosophy, has an enormous power and a pull on humanity.

Every where I go, man is hungry for God to be proven true by His people, and yet we do not. New age has a supposed answer to this dilemma, and mankind flocks to it in the millions, and this while on our watch. They have the unity, they have the doctrinal agreement, and as much as we disregard it, also has a manifest power that very few of so called Christians can express in their lives, and it is us who are to be the ones with miracle working power, not them.

Come on church, something is wrong, lets start to get it right. Arguing and discussing things is not getting it done, action is the only thing that will get it done. I do not contradict this group as it seems many good and wonderful things are coming from the words shared and spoken, but we must see the broader picture, and that is to focus entirely upon Him, to lift our eyes higher and see that He is soon to return and to get in a position where we are functioning as a worthy steward and servant with that which He has given us.

We must come together, even with our differences, as was done in the upper room at Pentecost, the point of unity being the infilling of Jesus' spirit which was promised. From that unity, which was the true unity, agreement with Jesus, not other men, that they would receive His spirit as promised.

We can discuss and throw things around verbally, but again, unless we agree to disagree, we will never come to the true Unity Jesus refers to, for while man's pride and arrogance still is supreme, we will reason our way around any argument to suit ourselves. Many discussions and groups like this can become a grandstand for a one man show to prove his or her prowess with words, or understanding, and he then becomes a lord unto himself, and it is an extremely deadly ploy of the enemy that works to greatest effect.

It is not the open pride that is the most dangerous, but the hidden, for the very fact that it is hidden, it is dangerous. Now I do not point my finger at Jay when I say this, but I have seen this so many times in ministry elsewhere, and it is deadly, for not only does the person concerned not see the danger, but neither do those closest to them see it. We set our leaders upon a pedestal and we see through rose coloured glasses. The pulpit teaches that we must submit to the authority over us and we are not to go against this authority, and this is scriptural, to a point, but when this earthly authority conflicts with the authority from above, then we must make a choice, are we a man pleaser, or a God pleaser.

Again I have stirred the possum, but us Aussies are really good at that. For this great new city, this New Jeru-shalom, to be built, the old must be pulled down and made desolate, and that is exactly what is happening. That which man has built is being demolished so that the true church may be built. Are we going to be part of the building team, or are we going to be the activists who try to save this old building for prosperity.

My words are harsh, yet my love is great, for my heart beats for the children of God to become the mighty men and women of God, raised up as a mighty and powerful army for God in these end times, and that is going to take an enormous effort on our part, and by His grace and great mercy, we shall do it. For an army divided is a fallen army, even before it enters the conflict.

God's mercy had Him place His own son upon a stinking and wretched cross so that we could come to His throne for mercy, in total humility, not so that we could claim our rights in arrogance. If the Lord Himself had to submit to this type of agony, will it be any easier for us. Our flesh also must be laid low, as His was.

Responsibility comes before rights.

Again, no doubt, I have spoken out of place, but that seems to be my lot of late.

A fire burns within me that I cannot quench, and like a raging inferno, has a life of its own. I can quench it if I wish, but I do not wish to. It works miracles of its own, and if you wish to call it from hell, so be it, but if that is the case, satan has had a change of heart of late, and has a love to the risen Lord that is undeniable, unquenchable, and insatiable.

There will be many things manifest within the church that the church will reject that is from God, and many things that will be from the enemy which even now the church receives. And this by a unifying agreement of the masses, but is this of God, this unity? I think not.

Our loyalty is misplaced and most are not even aware of it. This is about to change. Watch and see what the Lord has in store. Jesus came as a meek and mild lamb to the slaughter, but He returns as a roaring lion, His raiment dripping with the blood of men. The church shudders at this image, for this does not portray mercy and grace, it portrays judgement, and it is upon us even now, as the church is judged first.

We have a choice, to stand as the saducees and pharisees question and discuss endlessly the rights and wrongs of the Lords words and actions, or will we open our hearts to the true work of Christ, that of a heart completely given over to Him.

The door to mercy and grace must close one day people, for only then can judgment come. Does the door to salvation stand wide open still, or is it quickly swinging closed on its hinges? Only the Lord knows, and to those He chooses to reveal it to. Yes, their are those who will be brought through the great tribulation, but that is another work of God completely, and for another discussion..

How will you stand?

regards

susannah

The Evangelists speak of 'the holy city' [Mt. 4:5 , 27:53], 'his holy covenant' [Lk. 1:72]: Jerusalem and the temple are holy, as being the abode of God; the covenant made with Abraham is holy, as being a revelation of the gracious purpose of God in choosing a people to serve Him in holiness [Lk 1:75]. Persons are described as holy, because they ar devoted to God's service: in the Gospels mention is made of 'the holy angels' [Mk. 8:38 , LK. 9:26],' his holy prophets' [Lk.1:70], and Herod is said to have recognized the holiness of John the Baptist [Mk. 6:20]; in such uses of the word there is included an assertion of the moral purity which is an essential qualification for the service of God.

Jesus is described in Lk. 4:1 as 'full of the Holy Spirit.' In Mk. 1:24 & Lk. 4:34 the man with an unclean spirit calls Christ 'the Holy One of God,' and according to the true text Simeon Peter uses the same title [Jn. 6:69]. The phrase is a designation of the Messiah, described by John [10:36] as 'him whom the Father consecrated'. Finally, holiness is shown that 'holy is his name' [Lk. 1:49] is a declaration of the moral glory of God.

Our Lord never speaks of any person, save the Father and the Holy Spirit, as holy; and only once does He describe any thing as holy. His command, 'Give not that which is holy to the dogs' [Mt. 7:6], is a proverbial exclamation of horror at the thought of profaning altar-flesh, which had been offered in sacrifice to God [Lv. 23:6]

The last recorded example of our Lord's use of the word 'holy' is in His intercessory prayer. He who never called any human being 'holy' prays that His disciples may attain unto holiness. His petitions are both negative and positive: from the corruptions of the world He asks that they may be kept in the name [Jn. 17:11] which in its fullness it had been His mission to reveal. But it is not enough for them to be kept from entering the domain of the Evil One [JN. 17:15 ; 1JN. 5:19 'the whole world lieth in the evil one'].

If they are to continue Christ's work, they must be partakers of His holiness, for only in complete devotion of all their powers to the service of God can they share their Master's joy. So, He also asks, as in absolute self-sacrifice He consecrates Himself, that 'they themselves also may be consecrated in truth' [Jn. 17:19]

In these petitions the love of Christ for His own finds full expression. 'Holy Father', in this glorious name of God all excellences meet; purity and tenderness unite, majesty and pity combine. Christ regards this all-sufficient knowledge of God as an ideal region of security, in which His disciples will be safe from harm.

The opening petitions of the Lord's Prayer teach that His Kingdom will come and His will be done 'as in heaven, so on earth,' when in His Church on earth as in heaven the name of the Holy Father is hollowed [Mt. 6:10].

In Christ, Timothy.

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