Monday, July 23, 2007

The Path to Holiness "The most Excellent Way

Holiness or, the life of love, is for the redeemed. If we know we have been saved, converted, forgiven, and "transferred from the kingdom of darkness to the Kingdom of His dear Son" , then we are ready to enter into the experience of "The most excellent way" . Col. 1: 13 He,[God] has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, 14in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

We must acknowledge that our continuous struggle against temptation, bad attitudes, carnal anger, unforgiving spirit, envy, and pride, is not the way of a Christ honoring life Rom 5: 6You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

We must realize that through Jesus' death on the cross and His miraculous resurrection, that we are dead to sin and alive to God! Rom6:1 What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase? 2By no means! We died to sin; how can we live in it any longer? 3Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? 4We were therefore buried with him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life.
And it is because of His grace we are empowered to change our ways and become fully obedient to Him.

If we know that we have become "Children of God" and are His dearly beloved ones, we know we have been granted power over sin, flesh and the devil. We have been washed by His blood and made holy and blameless, given His Holy Spirit who "pours out God's love into our hearts." If we sin now it is because it is our choice for we are no longer slaves of sin, but servants of righteousness! Rom 6: 15What then? Shall we sin because we are not under law but under grace? By no means! 16Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness? 17But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. 18You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
It is our part of the process to "put off" the old man and its ways and put on the new life of righteousness, holiness and love. Eph 4:22 KJV That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts.

We, since we have been given the Holy Spirit to dwell within us, must walk in the Spirit of love and not in the selfishness of the flesh. John14: 15"If you love me, you will obey what I command. 16And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- 17the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you." This means listening constantly to the Spirits still small voice for wisdom and direction. He, the Holy Spirit, is the Spirit of Christ. This is what Jesus told us: John 15:4Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me.
"Remain in me, that is, be constantly connected to the source, and I will remain in you". That is, you can feel my ever-present power. Jesus said if we love Him we will keep his commandments. You see, one of the tasks of the Holy Spirit is to fill our hearts with God's love. Rom 5:5 And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us. It is that love for Christ that powers our incentive to obey Him. We know that He loves us. Can we not trust Him for strength, protection, and grace for every trial and trouble that comes our way? Do we not know that his wisdom is infallible and does not that insure that the outcome of our obedience will be amazingly rewarding?

Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. 2Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, Heb. 12:1-2

[Quotations from NIV version of the Bible unless otherwise noted.]