Living in Truth and Love

It’s no secret that the body of Christ is divided today. There are all manner of sects, churches and ministries to fit any particular tribe, taste or temperament that exists. There are even entire ministries dedicated to specific topics and categories. Personally I think that there should only be one category: Christ and His Finished Work – and from that, everything else will flow and every problem solved. Now, not surprisingly, when I mention this, some people get put-off and offended… they think that it is narrow-minded to say that the finished work of Christ can solve every problem, and when they tell me that, I typically respond by telling them that they have a very limited view of what He accomplished.

Sometimes that statement makes them curious and they want to know more; and sometimes it offends them even deeper – especially if they have been a believer for many years. Yet regardless of how long someone has been a believer, that doesn’t change the fact that there are countless people who have not been properly shown what the finished work of Christ actually accomplished, and so they have a dim view of what Jesus has really done for them.

The Gift of God’s Love

One question that seems to come up over and over is the question of activity. People have said to me that they want to “do things for God”, they want to be useful and they aren’t sure what He wants them to do. I’ve heard the frustration and confusion and uncertainty in the voice of people when they tell me how they feel like they are stagnating and they are searching all around for some way that they can be “used by God” and that thought and that drive consumes them, and they feel as though their life and time is being wasted doing nothing.

Let me tell you today that while I certainly understand the heart behind those feelings and the desire to do something, I must also tell you today that the answer I give to each person who expresses those feelings to me is the same… and it is a word from God that catches a lot of people off-guard.. maybe God wants you to not do anything right now, but receive His love. You see, most people are so busy looking for something to do for God, they have forgotten the real reason why they were created in the first place – to be filled with the Spirit and the fullness of God and receive His love. This is what we will be studying today.

Your Obedience is to Jesus’ Obedience

Have you been struggling to be obedient? In many Christian circles today, the focus is on obedience. Many times people say that obedience is important – and I completely agree… the Bible has much to say on the topic of obedience. Where we tend to differ, is the manner of that obedience. And this manner is defined in the covenant that we are under today as believers in Christ. It is important to understand our covenant today in order to truly understand the type and manner of obedience that is required by the covenant.

Most people automatically assume that when they see the word obedience in the Bible that it is always referring to outward obedience via performance and actions. This was certainly true in the Old Covenant of the Law of Moses. However the Bible describes a different type of obedience for believers today who are under the New Covenant of Grace in Christ. This is what we will be studying today, because it is very difficult to be obedient under the terms of our covenant if we do not know what the terms are.

The Real Sacrifice of Praise

A long time ago, there was a popular praise song that we always used to sing; the lyrics in-part were “we bring a sacrifice of praise into the house of the LORD.” This is a reference to Hebrews 13:15, saying that we should continually offer such a sacrifice to God. This phrasing has always puzzled me. Because in my human mind, the word “sacrifice” always implied cost, or some kind of a victim. Often times we hear preachers say that in order for our praise and worship to mean anything to God, it has to “cost us something”, and this left me even more confused because it really wasn’t costing me anything to praise God – as a matter-of-fact I enjoyed praising Him! So did this then mean that my praise was worthless?

I struggled with this thought for many years, and it led me into a performance-driven, merit-centered mentality where I was trying to give something of value back to God, which I naturally assumed was my own works and efforts; my performance and law-keeping. However, this idea is not actually supported in scripture. In-fact the Bible is very descriptive regarding what the real sacrifice of praise is which we are to offer, and this is precisely what we will be studying today.

The Holiness of God Leads to Jesus

There is a division in many Christian circles today; and this division is between the holiness of God, and the Grace which Jesus Christ has brought to humanity. You may have heard it spoken in church or preached from the podium, that “God is a Holy God. His Holiness is uncompromising and His eyes see everything.” This is an absolutely true statement – no doubt about it at all. But what is the intent of the message? For believers in Christ Jesus who have been cleansed from all of their sins, is the holiness of God still something to fear?

I have spoken to many believers who are facing confusion, because they have been taught that they should be in fear regarding the holiness of God and should constantly be weighed-down in remembrance of their sins. To do otherwise would mean that God had “given them up to their sinful lusts” or that they have a “seared conscience”; and we have an entire separate study on the true meaning of a seared conscience for those who are trapped in the psychological jail-cell of sin and guilt because of that particular false teaching.

The question we will be answering today in this study is: Is the Holiness of God separate from the Grace of Christ? Many people think that they are on two opposite ends of the spectrum, as if God has a split-personality disorder. Yet is this what the Bible actually teaches? We will be looking at this today in the scriptures.

You Are Holy in Christ

What does it mean to be holy? People have many different ideas about the word… from piousness and being overtly spiritual like the Pharisees, secluding yourself and meditating, or some other combination of self-effort and works. The Biblical definition of holiness is “to be set apart for your intended purpose”. But this definition has been largely misinterpreted and misunderstood, and has become something much more carnal and fleshly.

That’s why today in this study, we will be taking a look at holiness, in the light of the finished work of Jesus Christ; and as we see this truth from the scripture, the false burden of trying to be holy will be replaced with receiving the holiness that Jesus has paid for us to have.