PERFECTING HOLINESS IN THE FEAR OF GOD!
Many years ago God put on my heart to look into the scriptures regarding holiness. It started with a sermon during which Phoebe Palmer was mentioned. After reading her book ‘The Way of Holiness’ God put in my heart a desire to respond to Jesus’s call to be holy. (1 Peter 1:15-16) Then I came across a book called, ‘A Woman’s Journey toward Holiness’ by Sheila Cragg. I worked through this book for two years. It included teaching from the scriptures, prayer and tough questions to ask myself including, how was I going to practice the Word as I decided daily to be the holy, godly woman God has called me to be?
This was life changing and I started to share it with other women. One opportunity God gave me was to teach a bible study called ‘Living like You Belong to God’ by Kay Arthur, David & BJ Lawson. There was much fruit and many testimonies as a result of Holy Spirit convicting women, through the Word, of sin which resulted in repentance, turning to God and deciding to live holy, godly lives.
In July of 2019 I was on my way to Smithers, British Columbia. While on the plane, I was asking the Lord to speak to me regarding His heart, His purpose, His calling for me in this season. I eventually fell asleep and as I was waking up I literally heard God’s voice say, “YOU make straight the highways for our God”. I think you know me enough by now that anything I hear needs to be confirmed with the Word of God. I knew that scripture and found it in Isaiah 40:3-The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert a highway for our God.” I clearly heard the Lord reminding me that I was to be intentional to continue to be part of preparing the body of Christ, His bride, for the return of Jesus by exhorting the church, both individually and corporately, to pursue holiness.
Over the years the Lord has given me opportunity to teach and preach about holiness. The pursuit of holiness and the compulsion to teach, preach and counsel in the way of holiness is increasing. The Lord continues to remind me of this calling and is increasingly speaking to His church about holiness. The Lord is continuously reminding us, His church, His bride to, ‘Come out and be separate’. (2 Co 6:17; Rev 18:4) He is coming back for a holy bride. (Eph 5:27) A bride who has prepared herself. (Rev 19:7)
Now, most recently comes another sermon during which Revelation 18:4 is read and declared-“Come out of her My people!” The following week the Lord gave us a Word in the house church-‘we are being positioned to holiness’ which led us to Isaiah 35:8; 2 Corinthians 7:1 and Hebrews 3. When asking the Lord what He wanted to say in this devotional I heard, ‘perfecting holiness’ and was led to 2 Corinthians 7:1. I would like to share with you from the Word what the Lord is saying to us and how are we to live it!
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Co 7:1 NKJV)
Let’s start with having these promises. In 2 Corinthians 6:16-18 God reveals the promises we have. He promises that He will dwell with us, walk among us, be our God and we shall be His people. He says that He will be a Father to us, His sons and daughters. These promises should motivate us to holiness. That is why Paul exhorts the church to not be yolked with unbelievers, to have no fellowship with lawlessness, darkness, Belial (Satan), worthlessness or idolatry. (2 Co 6:11-16) If we really believe that we are the temple of God, righteous, with the light of the world living in us, we will desire with our whole heart to do what God commands us to do-Come out from among them and be separate! This is the call of God to the church! Be holy as I am holy! Church, remember that God is faithful to His promises and we have, hold, possess these promises. (2 Co 1:20) So let us be obedient to the rest of 2 Corinthians 7:1.
Let us cleanse ourselves (make clean, purify). Let us continue to cry out to the Lord like David did in Psalm 51:10 and follow the Lord’s instructions in His Word.
‘Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me.’ (Ps 51:10 NKJV)
How can a young man cleanse his way? By taking heed according to Your word. (Ps 119:9 NKJV)
And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure. (1 Jn 3:3)
More and more followers of Jesus are doing this and Holy Spirit is bringing conviction and repentance resulting in refining of the church. Glory to God!
From all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. As holy people of God we must desire to bring glory to God in our bodies, soul and spirit. Therefore we must cleanse ourselves from everything that contaminates the body, soul and spirit. We must not participate in works of the flesh such as adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness (habits of old ways), jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness or revelries. (Gal 5:19:21) We must rid ourselves of sins of ungodly motive, attitude and affections-the pride of life, worshipping the work of our own hands, giving allegiance to false gods of success, power, position, prestige and the false images of self (self-will, self-justification, self-promotion and self-effort).
Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (James 4:8 NKJV)
For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s. (1 Co 6:20 NKJV)
O my soul, you have said to the Lord, “You are my Lord, My goodness is nothing apart from You.” (Ps 16:2 NKJV)
Perfecting holiness. Perfecting means to complete, accomplish, carry through to the end, bring to successful conclusion and reach a goal. As followers of Jesus we are to continue to pursue holiness in our daily lives. God is working in our lives the holiness He has already accomplished through the finished work of Jesus. (Heb 10:10; 1 Co 1:30) We have been made holy through the perfect sacrifice of Jesus’ body on the cross. Jesus’ sacrifice opened the way for each of us, who have been made holy by Him, to enter into the very presence of our Holy God. Being free from the power of sin and death, we are able by grace to live out that holiness in our day-to-day living. (Ro 6:22) We are free to begin to live like Jesus, by the power of His Holy Spirit. Becoming holy would be impossible if it were entirely up to us. (Heb 10:14) Making us holy is the work of Holy Spirit. We need to yield to this lifelong process and cooperate with the Holy One who lives within us! Let us declare like the Apostle Paul, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 3:12-14 NKJV)
In the fear of God. Just as the promises of God should motivate us to holiness so should the fear of the Lord motivate us to holiness-to have a desire to live in holiness in sincere awe and respect to God. I encourage you to read my blog called, ‘Fear the Lord! Trust Him!’ which was posted on January 17, 2021.
Church! Out of love and gratitude to Jesus and all He has done, we are to come away, set ourselves apart to God and live a life of holiness in the fear of God. Let’s decide to choose to please God and live in such a way that it is clear we belong to Him! We are called to maintain the holiness He has already granted us through His grace. God says, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” Holiness is not something to be achieved by our own strenuous efforts. It is a state created by and given by God to His people.
But that isn’t what you learned about Christ. Since you have heard about Jesus and have learned the truth that comes from Him, throw off your old sinful nature and your former way of life, which is corrupted by lust and deception. Instead, let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God—truly righteous and holy. (Eph 4:20-24 NLT)
So set yourselves apart to be holy, for I am the Lord your God. (Lev 20:7 NLT)
We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live. (Lk 1:74-75 NLT)
“He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” (Rev 2:7 NKJV)