Fact: Through Christ’s vicarious death and resulting atonement, and my acceptance of his favor and Lordship, I have been freed from the penalty of both my past and my future sins.
Fact: God’s grace, provided by Christ’s death, covers sin which I recognize and those of which I am unaware.
Fact: There is nothing that I can do to either increase or diminish God’s love or grace.
I believe all of the above statements. Their existence in my reasoning brings great peace and direction to my life and yet they raise a question.
“Why should I live an overly careful life in regards to the things that I allow into my life if these statements are true?”
Do you realize that there are people who embrace many things in their life that most fundamentally conservative Christians would see as a denial of Christian faith and yet those individuals claim an overt faith and trust in Jesus as their savior? The discussion that Christians should live a holy life and more specifically what that life consists of is a discussion more often met with disbelief and sarcasm than with affirmation and agreement. Entire sections of Christian book catalogs are filled with books espousing the relinquishing of antiquated habits that reportedly imprison and bind the faith of those young in the faith and suggest that for the Church to prosper it must embrace the freedoms found in a grace without restrictions. While I don’t embrace many of the traditions that are supposed to be the earmarks of holiness within the Pentecostal movement, my fear is that like so many historical, behavioral, or doctrinal corrections we have allowed the proverbial pendulum to swing beyond balance into equally damaging yet opposite error. Therefore, I would like to suggest a motivation for excluding things from Christian life, that while not the only reason, might certainly be one of the best.
Some of you are old enough to remember when radios and televisions didn’t have buttons for tuning but rather they had knobs. Do you remember on both of them that there was an inner knob or ring that you used to make big changes and an outer ring that you used to really fine tune the channel? It’s that outer or fine tuning ring that I want you to consider.
Let’s work on the premise that now that you have accepted Jesus (the inner ring that chooses the channel) you are beginning to be used of him to reach out into the lives of others who have yet to become a Christ-follower. In order to really be used effectively, you need more than to just be a Christian, you need to be directed by the voice of the Holy Spirit so that you will say and do the right thing at the right time so that the Gospel will have maximum impact.
Your receptivity will result in exacting obedience that will result in maximum presentation and create the possibility of maximum response.
My premise is that it may be possible to be saved and yet because of the interference that the things of the world cause in your spirit and heart, there is no way that you can effectively hear and therefore obey the Holy Spirit’s guidance as God attempts to use you to further His kingdom. It’s the removal of these things (the outer fine tuning ring) that enables you to be an effective witness for Christ.
My best understanding of holiness means that something is without deviation.
Jesus was holy because he was not some of one thing and some of another. Jesus was totally aligned with his father’s will. You and I will never achieve that same degree of holiness, but we should however be willing to remove anything from our life that causes us to be less receptive to the Father’s will. What might those things be? Anything that routinely contradicts in form or philosophy the teachings of our Father’s Word.
There are those that say “the work has been done” in reference to our salvation. I believe that and yet, for all those who have yet to encounter the accurate story of Jesus, there is much work yet to be done and for that work to be done well, you and I must be “finely tuned” to the voice and direction of the Holy Spirit.
That’s all the motivation I need!