Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Four Points of Holiness. Part 4


Fear is a Christian motive and attitude. We should fear that God will judge us and chasten us. In fact, in this life God deals more seriously with sin in believers than in unbelievers. If we're growing, we will hate sin more but not because of consequences (everyone hates it when it brings bad consequences) but because God hates it. If God isn't dealing with sin in our lives, then we aren't His. Let's deal with our sin so God doesn't have to!


Every religion out there has an angry God who needs appeasement. Either they through so called holy living or sacrifice, attempt to please this God. Unfortunately what passes for Christianity teaches this as well. Even some who would teach justification by faith alone. After justification sanctification which is taught as a responsibility of the believer. The above statement is the last of a four point teaching on holiness. The text for this teaching was the first chapter of St Peter. Looking at the section in previous articles one would see the teacher was extrapolating all this from the command to “Be holy as I am holy.” Yes that is a real command with real consequences for those who do not accomplish this. Because we cannot reach this goal we are all damned to eternal hell with no hope for parole. God’s judgment is final in this, we are toast.

Isaiah 12: 1 You will say in that day:"I will give thanks to you, O LORD, for though you were angry with me,your anger turned away, that you might comfort me.
2 "Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and will not be afraid;for the LORD GOD is my strength and my song, and he has become my salvation."
ESV


The prophet saw how true the fact is that God is angry with sinners over their inability to be holy as He is Holy. We too, with a faithful reading of any part of the bible will see how that God is angry with us. However, He has turned His anger away and comforts us. God Himself has become the salvation for those with who He is justly in hot anger. The true and living God of Christianity is vastly different from the false idol of other religions. He became flesh and dwelt among us. He came not to abolish the law, minimize its harsh and eternal condemnation on us or to show us how to do this for ourselves. He came to fulfill the requirements on our behalf.
After the law requirements were fulfilled we were left with the problem of sin and our identity as sinners by nature. So He had Himself nailed to the cross after a horrendous trial in which He was falsely accused and beaten beyond recognition. While on that cross He lost contact with the Father in something we cannot hope to understand. This was all done in the presence of those for whom He died and they looked upon Him with hate and fiendish delight. In spite of all that going on He had grace upon another who was being crucified justly along side of Him and promised that criminal would go to paradise with Him.


3 With joy you will draw water from the wells of salvation. 4 And you will say in that day: Give thanks to the Lord, call upon his name, make known his deeds among the peoples, and proclaim that his name is exalted. 5 Sing praises to the Lord, for he has done gloriously; let this be made known in all the earth. 6 Shout, and sing for joy, O inhabitant of Zion, for great in your midst is the Holy One of Israel. ESV


This is the response we are to have for all that Jesus has done for us. The penalty for our sin has been paid. Yes either we deal with our sin, unsuccessfully and perish eternally, or receive the gifts Christ won for us. In baptism we receive from the water of life the forgiveness of sin and the gift of the Holy Spirit. This is reassuring to the utmost when we see in scripture how we fail constantly to achieve holiness. In reflecting on this daily we draw water from the wells of salvation.


He also delivers the goods to us in the Holy Supper in which He comes to us with bread and wine for the forgiveness of our sin. No longer do we have to wait for Jesus to return or somehow magically lift our selves to Him. He repeatedly utilizes matter which He created to interact with us and strengthen us. With broken hearts and crushed spirits we receive these gifts with thanksgiving.


"Wir sind alle Bettler. Hoc est verum." Martin Luther on his deathbed from German and Latin. Translated: "We are all beggars. This is true."


We praise you O Christ. †

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

David,

Thanks for this series of posts and for reminding us how great our salvation is and Who has accomplished it for us. May we trust in Him alone.

Nancy

L P Cruz said...

Amen! Looks like a prep for preaching one day? Good stuff.


LPC

St Martin Luther aka Herr Doktor said...

lp cruz,
For those of us who know David well, he's been preaching at us for years lol

David said...

Dern herr doktor it shows? Here I thought I was getting away with something! :P

LPC

I will rattle on until either told to shut up or left talking to myself. The latter has happened more times than I feel comfortable admitting.

Nancy!

Christ alone indeed!

God's peace. †