ARE YOU? I am not sinless perfection although that’s Christ’s goal and work in our lives – the daily lives of all whom He has saved (Rom. 8:29). Becoming without sin IS possible yet it begins with honestly assessing that we are not holy and He is Holy and that we are utterly and perpetually in need of His Spirit and grace to bring this about. We must announce our own poverty of spirit without Him and that’s exactly what Jesus was getting at when He said “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3) To be “poor in spirit” means to be continually desperate for God understanding our own depravity outside of Him. Do we remember how that the Galatians had begun in the Spirit, trusting God by faith in HIM and not themselves and then, they turned to themselves, taking things into their own hands? They had begun in the Spirit and then vainly thought they would take God’s part and become sinless perfection by their own fleshly efforts? The apostle says they and any person saved in the past who does this, are “foolish.”
“Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?” Galatians 3:3
The central and most important aim of the believer, saved by the grace of God from his wretchedness, is to seek the face of and know the LORD (1 Chron. 16:11). Paul said that His goal was “to know him and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of his sufferings” and in knowing Him, the LORD’s “spirit of holiness” reigns in our lives (Phil. 3:10; Rom. 1:4). God is working in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure as we work out our salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12-13). Are we willing to trust Him as our Potter and simply submit to Him as His clay? (Jer. 8:1-6). Our goal is to know Him and in doing so, to obediently participate in removing every thought, word, and deed that does not bring Him glory since He is “Holy, holy, holy.” (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8; Mk. 9:43-49; Ps. 19:14). At the same time, beware of those who preach against sin and never mention the cardinal biblical truth of seeking and knowing Christ which is the express and stated reason that we were created! (Jn. 17:3; Phil. 3:10) The absence of the central biblical truth will be disastrous! Beware! There are also those who put themselves off as being the standard of all holiness, knowledge, and perfection, acting as if they are above temptation and sin (Rom.6-7). That’s a deception at best and such a person is setting his listeners up for something bad.
“Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.” Proverbs 16:18
Yes, since God commanded us to be ye holy as He is holy, that is certainly obtainable – by His blessed enablement, as the disciple lays down his life (Rom. 12:1; Jn. 12:24-25). Yet, it certainly is not attainable via the pride of the fleshly man who is blinded and has no clue just how depraved he is, even though he vainly parades himself in a fair show. The only way up truly is down in God’s kingdom and we must begin with our understanding of who man is in comparison to the Most High with whom we have to do – “Behold, thou hast made my days as an handbreadth; and mine age is as nothing before thee: verily every man at his best state is altogether vanity. Selah.” (Ps. 39:5) Also, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jer. 17:9)
Jesus says that without Him we can do nothing and so obtaining the “true holiness” that He prescribes is not attainable without pressing in to know Him (Eph. 4:25; Phil.3:10). God will not grant holiness to any person who will not “come” to Him – deeper and deeper (Isa. 1:16-20; Matt. 11:28-30). In fact, coming to Him relentlessly is the only way God-glorifying holiness can be received Heb. 4:14-16).
“Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” 2 Corinthians 7:1
I surely do believe that we are to get all sin out of our lives – 2 Corinthians 7:1 nails that and 1 Peter 1:16 and many other verses and yet, we must approach this from a full-counsel Bible perspective. Whatever you do, memorize these two verses. As His children, it’s only by our personal participation and the power of God that we are made holy as He defines it (Rom. 8:13-14). We must beware of the feigned (contrived) holiness that is so prevalent among religious people and even street preachers. Beware! God is not glorified in a faked holiness like the pharisees of Christ’s day who had an outward, mere “form of godliness,” yet denied the power of God to truly change and make holy their lives (Matt. 23; 2 Tim. 3:5).
The Bible speaks of “true holiness” which is brought about by Christ in all whom He saves and are presently and truly abiding in Him (Eph. 4:24).
Trying to be “holy” while at the same time not seeking His holy face – to know Him deeper – is completely amiss and will keep one separated from God and hell bound. Jesus told us that we are created for the express purpose of knowing Him and this is the goal towards which the apostle Paul pressed (Jn. 17:3; Phil. 3:10-14). We must do likewise. It’s all about knowing Him and as we do, since He is “Holy, holy, holy,” such will and must be wrought in us (Isa. 6:3; 1 Pet. 1:16; Rev. 4:8).
Self or Savior Sufficient?
Are you sinlessly perfect OR do you have desperate, present need for God’s saving life and grace that is dispensed only to those who “hunger and thirst” for His blessed righteousness? (Matthew 5:6) God only fills those who are presently hungering and thirsting for more of Him and all others are left to their own sinful nature and devices and unable to please God or overcome sin.
“Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Matthew 5:6
WHO does God resist or set Himself against? – “But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” (James 4:6)
“If I justify myself, mine own mouth shall condemn me: if I say, I am perfect, it shall also prove me perverse.” Job 9:20
A life that is not fully reliant upon the sufficiency of Christ the Savior, is anything but sinless. In fact, that life is as far from God as one could possibly be. The life that has grown so religiously prideful as to vainly imagine that it is sinless perfection is completely apostate and not connected to the Vine Himself who requires those whom He will allow to be His to be “poor (desperately in need) in spirit,” ever hungering and thirsting for more of Him (Matthew 5:3, 6).
If we are not presently desperate for the presence, love, life, and grace of God it could only be for one reason – that we are sufficient in and of ourselves. Today, God honors our return to Him, crying out in repentance and confessing, hastening to His feet in His holy fear.
God be praised for being so merciful to those who fear and come to Him:
“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. 30For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30
When His people Israel were apostate in their hearts and lives, God invited them to “Come” to Him in repentance:
“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. 19If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land: 20But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.” Isaiah 1:16-20
The LORD shows us clearly and repeatedly that He loves the humble in spirit who truly depend upon Him and His mercy (Matt. 5:3; Ps. 34:18; 51:17; Matt. 23:11-12; James 4:6-10). He sees right through and despises those who feign (fake) to be holy while using such a sham to condemn others (Matt. 23). Listen to what Jesus taught in His message about two men who went up to pray.
“Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.” Luke 18:10-14
It’s interesting to note that in the above teaching of Jesus, the man who prayed a 34 word prayer out of arrogant self-righteousness, was not heard while the man who humbly approached God based upon His sheer mercy, using only 7 words, was heard. His prayer was answered! Beloved, admitting our own shortcomings, neglect, omissions, and sin is essential to getting saved and also for remaining in fellowship with the LORD (James 4:6-10).
In Isaiah 65:5 we read how the LORD despises those who separate themselves, lifting themselves above others, pretending to be holy, yet are not :
“Which say, Stand by thyself (get away from me I am too holy for you), come not near to me; for I am holier than thou. These are a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day.” Isaiah 65:5
“A smoke in my nose” reveals the severe anger of God against those who fake holiness instead of admitting daily their own bent toward iniquity and cry out to Him for His presence, grace (divine enablement), glory, holiness, love, mercy, and truth to reign in their lives as they seek the face of Jesus. Essential to truly walking with God is the emptying self daily, crying out to be full of the Holy Ghost, begining with an honest assessment of who He is and who we are. Study this essential topic in the whole of His blessed Word!
“He must increase, but I must decrease.” John 3:30
Simply stated, “GOD is able” – not us, without Him!
“That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; 17That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith ( in HIM not self); that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, 18May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; 19And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. 20Now unto him that is able (that’s JESUS) to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, 21Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.” Ephesians 3:16-21
Of the LORD’s ability to do all things, Preston Nesselrotte writes:
“With Christ ALL THINGS are POSSIBLE! This even includes overcoming sin in your life. God’s Grace is the divine influence of the Holy Spirit that allows us to overcome the world. With HIM it is possible to have a perfect heart and will.”
It’s All About Jesus
“For such an high priest (Jesus Christ) became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens.” Hebrews 7:26
Holiness is all about Jesus! No person can be holy outside of Him who is “Holy, holy, holy.” (Isaiah 6:3; Revelation 4:8). To speak of holiness while excluding the Holy One in that conversation, is to greatly err. It just doesn’t get any better or higher than Christ!
“Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; 16Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.” 1 Timothy 6:15-16
“Just as I am without one plea,
But that Thy blood was shed for me,
And that Thou bid’st me come to Thee —
O Lamb of God, I come, I come.”
“Just as I am — Thou wilt receive.
Wilt welcome, pardon, cleanse, relieve,
Because Thy promise I believe —
O Lamb of God, I come, I come!”
In walking with our LORD, He would have us to ….
Experience more dying not more doing.
Surrender don’t strive according to the flesh.
Die to self.
Be crucified with Christ.
“Not by might, nor by power, but by my spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.” Zechariah 4:6
Saving faith is trusting God to do what you cannot do and that only He can do in saving you – past, present, and future. – “Now to him that worketh is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” (Romans 4:4-5)
At the convicting revelation of who Jesus Christ really is in contrast to our own utter depravity, we should be brought to brokeness, contrition, and be “poor in spirit.”
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
The Biblical Attitude to be Possessed With
“This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1 Timothy 1:15
This deceitful, depraved sinner (Jer. 17:9) would surely be in hell’s lowest level if it had not been for the precious blood of the Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world !!!!! He alone is our only righteousness.
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21
His holy blood preempts us from the wrath of God justly due any person not cleansed by the divine blood – the only way the claims of the Father’s justice was satisfied and is appeased entirely for a full payment of the repentant sinner’s salvation – “It is finished (paid in full).” (Jn. 19:30)
“He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.” Isaiah 53:11
Christ alone bore our iniquities!
Divine wrath quenched only by the blood of Jesus – “Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.” (Romans 5:9) God was only “satisfied” in His Son’s suffering and bleeding to exchange your filthy rag unrighteousness for His perfect righteousness.
“We owe a debt we cannot pay – He paid a debt He did not owe.” unknown
God have mercy on our souls through the precious blood and merit of Your only begotten Son!
Are You Good Enough? No!
Is it not high time to repent of our arrogance and give God the glory due only His Holy name?
“But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away. 7 And there is none that calleth upon thy name, that stirreth up himself to take hold of thee: for thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.” Isaiah 64:6-7
Some who trust their own goodness or works (pffffttt) are still in debt and will be until they repent and place ALL their trust in the ONE who bled and while He was shedding His sinless, divine blood for them, said “It IS finished” which means “Paid in full!” (John 19:30) Either Jesus paid the full price for our sins OR we are antichrist and call Him a liar.
“Now to him that worketh (tries to earn his own salvation) is the reward not reckoned of grace, but of debt. 5 But to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.” Romans 4:4-5
Beware of Sinless Perfectionism in the Flesh
Should we not choose to be honest about our infinite and immeasurable need for the present saving grace of our LORD? Jesus is sinless perfection and as we are in Him – abiding intimate – we have His saving, keeping, and holy grace dispensed into our lives. Read John 15 prayerfully, asking your Savior to open and enlighten your understanding. As we are in Christ – abiding in Him – we have His perfect righteousness imparted to us (John 15; 1 John 1:7, etc.). Of His only begotten Son, God the Father several times said audibly from Heaven, “Thou art my beloved Son; in thee I am well pleased.” (Luke 3:22) If you are born again and in Christ at this present moment, then the Father is “well pleased” with you. Are you hearing Him in this truth? You will never be the same when He opens up your heart understanding in this matter of divine revelation. It’s only by faith that we can please Him (Hebrews 11:6).
Surrender in repentance and faith are what access and appropriate the perfection of Christ – the only perfect One – into our lives!
The LORD does command “Be ye holy for I am holy” and yet such is only possible as we are being made one with Him and is never possible by self-righteousness and pride (like the condemn pharisees-Matthew 23).
“But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16
Pray for “the spirit of holiness.” (Romans 1:4) Make this Scripture a part of your daily prayer communion with the LORD Jesus.
The holiness spoken of in His Word is simply not attainable by way of the flesh. The LORD requires our obedient repentance and trusting in His mercy and yet, He takes us up at that point, upholding us by His Holy Ghost as He brings forth the victory that He alone can be glorified in (Romans 8:13-14; 1 Corinthians 1:29-31).
“For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. 14For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” Romans 8:13-14
It’s only “through the Spirit” of God that we are enabled to put aside the sinful deeds of the body, walking in His Spirit, and be made holy.Yes, that involves our daily dying, laying down our lives, presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, and falling upon His mercy, and yet, when all is said and done – the LORD alone be glorified (1 Cor. 1:29-31).
Please pass this one on to His body …. there’s so much of His blessed liberty in His truth (John 8:31-31, 36; Galatians 5:1).
Prayer: Father, I didnt’ save myself although You required my will to repent and receive Jesus. Yet, Your only begotten Son merited my salvation, not me. In the same way, I cannot grow in Christ-like maturity, sanctification, and personal holiness without You and Your divine power working in me to bring this blessed thing to pass. Please do Your work of holiness in me. LORD, I am trusting You to continue Your good work You began in me and to perfect that which concerns my life which is Yours! Bless me to be holy as You are holy. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
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