Tag Archives: Holiness

Beer & Brats after Church – Everyone’s Invited

The local Lutheran Church is hosting a “Traditional Oktoberfest” today following their morning worship services. Complete with an outdoor tent, there’ll be “German music, Brats & Beer!” Hot dogs and wine will also be available. Everyone is invited to wear a costume. Admission and food is free – but they’ll charge you for the booze.

The word worldly means “relating or devoted to the temporal world.” Worldliness is the condition of being concerned with worldly things, especially to the neglect of spiritual things. Scripture has much to say about “worldliness,” none of it good.

In fact, there is to be a clear distinction between worldly people and Christians. Read Paul’s instruction to the Ephesian brethren: This I say, and affirm together with the Lord, that you walk no longer just as the Gentiles walk…(Ephesians 4.17).

He wrote to the Christians in Corinth to go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you (2 Corinthians 6.17) and James encouraged his readers to keep oneself unstained by the world (James 1:27).

Perhaps the clearest language on this matter is Romans 12.1-2, Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

Peter reminds Christians that we should refrain from worldly behavior: But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for God’s own possession so that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who has called you out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2.9).

Without meaning to be harsh or judgmental, I see a great inconsistency in professing to worship God in holiness one hour and then conducting a “traditional Oktoberfest” complete with beer and wine the next. How is that different from the world? How does that proclaim the excellencies of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light?

grace and peace to you all
Bill

 

God and Hell

Have you ever heard this question, “How can a God of love send anybody to hell?” Now that may sound intelligent or problematic at first, but the question misses two critically important points.

A Holy God

First, God is not only a God of love but a God of utter holiness whose very nature ensures His unchanging anger at sin – and as “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3.23) all people are by nature exposed to it. The Bible says more about God’s anger than it does about His love, and we dare not ignore one and concentrate on the other; as an article in Punch put it, “You can’t just have the bits of God you like and leave out the stuff you’re not so happy with.”

God does not send people to hell, He sends sinners to hell and as Zechariah declares, “The LORDis righteous and does no injustice” (Zechariah 3.5). God condemning unrepentant sinners to hell leaves no stain on His character. As it is impossible for God to do anything that would violate who He is, the question to ask is, “How can a God of holiness allow anyone into heaven?”

A Matter of Choice

Second, those who despise God’s authority and reject His patience and love are designing their own appalling destiny. J. I. Packer says, “Nobody stands under the wrath of God save those who have chosen to do so. The essence of God’s action in wrath is to give people what they choose, in all its implications; nothing more, and equally nothing less.”

Jesus described Himself as “the light of the world” (John 8.12) and warned, “…the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their deeds were evil” (John 3.19).

C. S. Lewis got it right when he said, “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, ‘Thy will be done’ and those to whom God says, in the end, ‘Thy will be done.’ All that are in hell choose it.”

– John Blanchard, Major Points from the Minor Prophets, 208-09

 

“So Who Are We?”

“Remember Who  You Are”

The late Duke of Windsor, who had for a short period been King Edward VIII, died in Paris in March 1972. That night a very interesting documentary was shown on British television. It included extracts from earlier films in which he was shown being questioned about his upbringing, his brief reign, and his abdication.

Looking back to his boyhood he said, “My father [King George V] was a strict disciplinarian. Sometime when I had done something wrong, he would admonish me saying, ‘My dear boy, you must always remember who you are.’” If only he would remember that he was a royal prince destined for the throne, he would behave accordingly and not misbehave.

So who are we?

That is the question. I doubt if there is any New Testament text which gives a more varied and balanced account of what it means to be a disciple than 1 Peter 2.1-17 and in particular verse 9:

 But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light.

Here the apostle likens the church to a nation or people, in fact, to God’s own people or possession. What is fascinating about these expressions is where Peter got them. He didn’t invent them but found them in Exodus 19.5-6, where God said to Israel, newly redeemed from Egypt, that if they kept His covenant by obeying His commandments they would be His treasured possession, His nation out of all the nations of the earth, a holy nation.

Here in this letter, with great audacity given him by the Holy Spirit, Peter lifts these words out of Exodus where they applied to Israel and reapplies them to the Christian community. You followers of Jesus, he is saying to us today, are what Israel used to be – “a holy nation,” though now an international one.

Why  Us?

But why did God choose Israel? And why has He chosen us?

The answer is not out of favoritism but in order to be His witnesses; not that we might enjoy a monopoly on the gospel, but that we might declare the “excellencies” (or “praises” or “mighty deeds”) of Him who called us “out of darkness into His marvelous light.”

John Stott. The Radical Disciple

 

The Beauty of Holiness

Give unto the LORD the glory due His name;
Worship the LORD in the beauty of holiness. Psalm 29.2

That verse in Psalm 29 is stated again in 1 Chronicles 16.29. On that occasion the ark of the covenant, which had been retrieved from the Philistines, was finally brought to Jerusalem and to the place which David had prepared for it.

It is a brief statement, yet it expresses the awe and reverence with which men ought to stand before God. We are given great privilege in that we are provided access to God through the blood of Christ. He is not only God or Creator or Master, He is also Father, our Father who is in heaven, and hallowed is His name.

The word holiness could also mean “the sacred place,” referring to the assembly of God’s people. At one time the place of worship was important. The new covenant emphasizes a different sort of “sanctuary.” The “sacred place” of a Christian in his heart. It is from a sincere and humble and pure heart devoted to God’s service day by day that God’s name is glorified.

Today, as children of God, brothers and sisters in Christ, let us give unto the lord the glory due His name; let us worship the lord in the beauty of holiness.

– Bill

 

Holiness

There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for the long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.

“…since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus…” (Hebrews 12.1-2).