Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A Beginners Guide to Practical Holiness

The bible quite often tells us to be holy, but it never really says how to do it. Leviticus 11:44 tells us, so does Leviticus 11:45, and so does Leviticus 19:2, and 2 Corinthians 7:1 and of course 1 Peter 1:16 and many other verses. Of course none of them tell us to be perfect, but isn't being holy actually being perfect? Or is it being something else. What is being holy? What does "holy" really mean?

The dictionary isn't a lot of help at all. It tells me that Holy  means Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred. That would make sense, since God is holy, holy, holy He is obviously associated with a divine power, power, power. But the bible is telling me to be holy, so how do I get sacred? There's got to be a better way (or at least a better definition).

According to J.C. Ryle "Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture." it's the habit of agreeing with God, sharing in His judgement, hating what He hates, loving what He loves and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His word. If you agree with God 100%, you are the most holy of people.

It's not hard to hate the things that God hates, they're listed right there in Proverbs 6: 16-19:
16 There are six things which the Lord hates,Yes, seven which are an abomination to Him:17 Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood,18 A heart that devises wicked plans, Feet that run rapidly to evil,19 A false witness who utters lies, And one who spreads strife among brothers.
Haughty eyes doesn't mean a certain eye color or being near-sighted or something like that. "haughty eyes" means being arrogant and prideful. As I've mentioned before God really hates pride, pride is the father of all other sins. So  if you're a proud lying murdering evil person who actively seeks out evil things to do while lying under oath and causing good people to hate each other, God probably isn't real happy with you right now. Notice, none of these things have anything to do with our relationship with Him, they all have to do with our relationship with each other. God really really hates pride and treating each other badly. And being sinners, haven't we all committed a majority of these hate crimes?

Like I said, it's not hard to hate what God hates, but to love what he loves? Much of it is easy to figure out. If God hates pride (haughty eyes), then he obviously loves humility (down turned eyes) Not a humility of self despising but a genuine humility that puts God first, our brothers second, ourselves last. A true desire to help people.
 and My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14)
Since God hates a lying tongue, then the opposite is true, he loves an honest tongue. This doesn't mean someone who belts out their version of the truth at every occasion (see the previous bit about humility) but someone who speaks the truth and values honesty. The bible is literally filled with verses about honesty, the need to be honest, and God's love of the truth.
Lying lips are an abomination to the LordBut those who deal faithfully are His delight. (Proverbs 12:22)
Since God hates hands that shed innocent blood can we assume that He loves hands that protect the innocent? By all means! All throughout the old and new testaments we are required by God to defend the weak, help the poor, support the widow and help the orphan.

Vindicate the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute. Rescue the weak and needy;  Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4)
If a heart that devises wicked plans is hated by the Lord are we to avoid making plans at all? Of course not. God loves our desires to serve Him, to help and minster to others. When we plan to follow Him he actually helps us with these plans.
The mind of man plans his way, But the Lord directs his steps. (Proverbs 16:9)
God hates feet that run rapidly to evil. God knows we're sinners, we're going to stumble into evil on occasion. But running rapidly to evil shows God and the world that we have rejected God and are eager to sin. Instead of running to evil, run to God.
Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I command you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the earth. (Deuteronomy 28:1)If you love Me, you will keep My commandments.(John 14:15)
God hates a false witness who utters lies, so we know that He loves a trustworthy witness who speaks the truth. In any situation a witness is charged to faithfully report what happened to the best of his ability. The greatest witness we can give is to be a witness of God's redeeming work in our lives. We must stand boldly and proclaim His love and His redeeming grace to the world.

We know that God loves one who spreads peace among his brothers. Everything we say or do can only have one of two consequences: to spread love or spread strife, and by avoiding strife we spread love. And around your brother Christians this is important, how can we spread the good news of the risen messiah if we're bickering over a motion made at the last congregational meeting? This part is especially important because loving our brothers was commanded to us to us by Jesus just before he died
34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John13:34-45)
This is how they will know us, by the love we have for one another.

So that's it? Are we holy now? Not by a long shot, there's much more to come...

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