Friday, September 26, 2008

Be Ye Holy

Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1 Peter 1:16

This week while sitting and watching and loving our brand new little Hope, I have been thinking. I have had lots of time to think while sitting up in the night. What have I been thinking about? Glad you ask! Holiness.

Our Lord desires for us to be holy. The word holy is translated from the same Hebrew and Greek words that we also read in our Bibles as sanctify and saint. These terms mean to be set apart for special service or to be set apart for God. Upon salvation, we are eternally sanctified in our position before God. We are declared justified...Holy! How is this? It is because the saved are placed in Christ and we are seen by a holy God as one of His children...Holy! We are in this state not because we have been good or good enough, but because of the finished work of Jesus Christ and our faith in Him.

Then, there is a practical holiness that we are to show in our daily living, of which I am focussing on in this reading. Once we are saved, we should be living a holy life.
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 Cor. 7:1

This text teaches us that one can NOT live holy until he is first declared holy eternally through salvation and their trusting in Christ. But, having received that promise, we then should strive to live a holy life. The text reads, "perfecting holiness." That word perfecting means to complete, accomplish, to take upon oneself, maturing. Thus, every saved person should strive to live a Holy life! So what is holy living?

Being raised in a Baptist church, I have heard all my life that we need to live Holy! So what is Holy living? It has been preached from the beginning. It is taught throughout God's Word. It is thundered from our independent fundamental Baptist what is Holy living?

I set out to ask some Baptist preachers, teachers, and students. My question was, "We are to be holy, so what is holiness?" Their responses were...

Perfect like God.

Sinless or a sacredness in a Heavenly sense

Striving toward behaving according to God's plan for us to live

Spot Free

The Absence of Ungodliness

Adopting the characteristics and attitudes of God

There were many other answers, but this gives one the idea. With only one exception, every person asked started their answer with these words, "That is a good question, I'm not sure." If we are to be living holy, if it has been taught since Eden, preached throughout God's Word, and thundered from pulpits today, shouldn't we understand what holiness is? I believe the true answer is, most do not trully understand holiness!

In no way am I going to claim to have figured out holiness, but I will say that I have been thinking about it.
We Know Holiness is not participating in homosexuality; but "christians" laugh at jokes about it.
We know holiness is not drinking liquor; but "christians" see it passed down the aisle at a baseball game.
We know holiness is not listening to AC/DC; but we pay money to sit in a basketball arena to have our ears pounded with the same songs.
We know holiness is dressing to cover our nakedness; but we go to the football game where the cheer leaders dance and get us to cheer on our team.
We know holiness is not using the Lord's name in vain; but we pay money each month to have cable television brought into our homes using those same words.
We know holiness is not going to the movie house; but can't wait to purchase the DVD as soon as it comes out.
We know holiness is not to murder; but we love CSI.
We know holiness is "Psalms and Hymns and SPiritual Songs;" but we sure like our country love song.
Get the idea? No wonder our children are confused!

My thoughts....
1. Holiness is a perfecting or maturing. We SHOULD, MUST, and EXPECT to be more holy every day. There are so many areas in my life where God is working on me. So many things I used to do that I would not do now and think is wrong now. There are things I do now, that probably will not be able to do next year. Why is that? People say its because I think I am better than them or that I am putting on a show because I really am not that way. No my friend, I am perfecting holiness. The first song my sister and I sang in church was "He's still working on Me," and it is more true today than ever before. The point is, if you cannot see a progression in holiness in your life, there is something wrong. We should be perfecting holiness.
2. God is holy. He is the definition of Holiness. "For I am Holy" He said.
3. We will probably, because of our flesh, never truly understand holiness until we get to Heaven. When Isaiah saw the Lord in chapter 6, his first words were "Holy, Holy, Holy". When we see God, we then will truly understand holiness.

We must strive to be holy and should be able to see a progession in our walk of holiness. I enjoy going to the Cincinnati Reds Game. I love college basketball, etc. Can we do these things and be holy?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Hope has Arrived!

Lets take a break from all the debating and opinion sharing and celebrate a birth. On September 20, 2008 at 10:34 a.m. my wife gave birth to a beautiful little girl who we named Hope Anne Burke (Anne with an "e"...some of you will understand that). Hope was announced to be 7lbs. 8oz. and 21 1/4 inches long. Praise the Lord that mom and baby are doing well so far.
Hope of course has the day/night thing switched around so far. We are praying for a quick change of opinion in that from her. She is loved by her brother Alex and sister Grace. I know there will be some adjusting time, but am confident she will fit right in.
Snickers, our choc. lab, is very uneasy about the new addition to the family. He has smelled her alot and barked at her once. Stacey got nervous when he carried in one of Grace's dolls by the head. Needless to say, Snickers is spending all his time outside.
Both sets of grandparents were able to be there when she was born, and for that we are very grateful. We will miss Papa and Mama Joey (Burke...they were named Joey after their dog by a baby Alex and it stuck), but know they will be around as much as possible. Papa and Mama Napier are already working on spoiling the new one. Luckily she doesn't realize it yet.
One can never see the miracle of birth and not praise a wondeful God. We thank God this week for the arrival and blessin of our Hope.
Sorry it is a short post this week...but I am beat and need to go take a nap!