July 14, 2016

Psalm 93:5 Your statutes stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days, O Lord.

There is real blessing to reading the Bible in two languages, even if neither one is the original, because there will always be differences in nuance. Here, where the NIV says, “holiness adorns Your house,” the Japanese says, “holy things are appropriate for Your house.” Lots of Scriptures talk about being close to God or living in His house. This one gives a strong clue as to how to do that. God Himself has told us, “Be holy, because I am holy.” (Leviticus 11:44 and several more) Peter quoted that in 1 Peter 1:16, so it is by no means “a legalistic requirement that we can ignore because of the cross.” It is very true that we can’t be holy by our own strength, but what God is asking of us is the will, the choice, to be holy. If we give Him that, He will come through and enable us to live holy lives. Many people shy away from the term, saint, because it presents an image to which they know they don’t measure up. (Calling specific people in Church history, “Saint So-and-so,” certainly doesn’t help.) Reading the New Testament, it is clear that the term, saint, refers to all believers. The thing is, “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Because of what God did through Jesus on the cross, all who believe are holy, so we just need to live like what we are! We are back to the question of will. Too often, for one reason or another, we choose unholiness. Sex is an excellent example. In the marital context it is marvelously holy, drawing the husband and wife together as God intended, but outside of that context it is unholy, drawing us away from God. The problem is, our flesh doesn’t know the difference! That’s why Paul talked so much about the flesh in Romans and elsewhere. (The NIV says “sinful nature,” to keep us from hating our bodies, but that misses part of the point.) If our hearts, our wills, are committed to Christ in faith, then our bodies will follow suit, and we will indeed be holy, appropriate for God’s house and fellowship with Him.

This is a major issue for me, as it is for every believer. The world, with the strong encouragement of the devil, does all it can to make us unholy, and all of us have episodes of that in our past. If we dwell on what we have done, we will lose sight of what God has made us to be in Christ. It was a major release from a besetting sin when I really grasped what Peter was talking about. “But if anyone does not have them, he is short-sighted and blind, and has forgotten that he has been cleansed from his past sins.” (2 Peter 1:9) We need to grasp that God’s forgiveness really does cleanse us, as though we had never sinned in the first place. That’s what 1 John 1:9 is talking about. “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” I knew that verse as words, but until it sank into my soul and spirit I was far more vulnerable than I had any need to be. Having experienced this myself, it is my joy and privilege to teach it to others, but I certainly can’t do that in my own wisdom and strength. However, the Holy Spirit can use me to that end, so that must be my focus, to draw as many as possible into the life that God intends for us, for our blessing and His glory.

Father, thank You for this clear Word. I had wondered what I was to speak on Sunday! Help me put this into Your outline, using the Scriptures You know will penetrate, so that Your Word will accomplish all for which You send it, for the salvation of many and for Your glory. Thank You. Hallelujah!


About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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