Monday, May 27, 2013

(An Old Post Reposted)

Holiness is not defined by living, but by receiving.

Too often in America, we equate holiness with action and living. Live in a holy fashion - do X because X is a holy thing. Be ye holy -- so get to it.

What we neglect or ignore in this whole approach (that we've picked up from our Protestant and Methodist friends) is that holiness is not defined by what I do or my actions, but by what God declares to be holy.

"But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you might proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. Once you were not a people, but now you are God's people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy."

Being made holy, receiving holiness from God, being called into the holy nation is not defined by my actions - but it is something I have received in mercy.

Do we forget that all those things listed in the explanation to the first article of the Creed are holy? My marriage is holy - not because I or my wife are such good spouses, but because of all people in the world, God set apart my wife for me and me for my wife -- he has made our marriage holy.

My whole life and being He has made holy, for He has called me out of darkness and set me aside from the world to be His holy servant. I happen to be a pastor... but it's not being a pastor that makes me holy. My wife is a nurse -- she is a holy nurse, for God has given her the talents she has and has put her to use.

The food on my table - it is holy. It has been set apart by God that I might recieve it with thanksgiving. Otherwise, how would I dare pray before eating -- do we pray over and bless that which is not holy? May it never be!

When we start think about holiness in terms of what we do - our specific actions, when we take an "I have done X volunteerism that I didn't need to do (see, that was right and holy)" approach, we neglect what true holiness is.

God has set us apart for holiness.

Now, does this manifest itself in our lives. Most surely! But I do not make my actions holy (or holier) because *I* add anything to them. I am holy in Christ Jesus, and that will spill out in me. And when I see that I have been treating the things that God has called Holy less than holy... if I disdain my wife, or my vocation, or my own body... then I need to repent of my sin. Not so that I will be holy - but because God has called and declared me to be holy - and I need always to remember and be focused on His love for me in Christ Jesus and remember who I truly am in Him. God's own forgiven and holy child.

1 comment:

Steve Martin said...

Amen, Rev!

Great piece!

We are DECLARED holy and righteous for Jesus' sake (not even for our own sakes).

Keep it up, friend!