Monday, March 25, 2013

Holiness and grace; are they mutually exclusive? Part 1



The Father has put it strongly upon my heart to write this series of blog posts. There are many saints that long for holiness. In fact, I believe that if the truth be told, all true saints long for holiness. They long for a real transformation to happen in their lives. So many things in human history operate on a pendulum effect. There is seldom balance. Things are either one way or the other. I remember back to my high school days.  Yes, I can remember back that far ;). I remember that the teacher seemed to get nicer and nicer, and then one day… out of the blue it seemed the shoe fell all at once. This is just another example of the pendulum swing effect. The truth is that we had become noisier and less focused over time. The day before the shoe dropped the teacher had had enough. That is why the shoe dropped and the pendulum swung all the way back to another side. You can see this effect if you look at the history of the church. It has swung back and forth between grace and obedience. Seldom has there been a balance. The purpose of this series is to look for a balance.

I believe that in the minds and practice of those in the first century church the two were inextricably linked… in other words, they went hand in hand. There is a proper way in which the two combine and again, this will be the focus of this series of blog posts. Here is the bottom line. The Spirit is saying “underline this Joe.” You can have grace without holiness but, you cannot have true holiness without grace.” Let me repeat this just in case you did not catch it. You can have grace without holiness but you cannot have true holiness without grace! Grace, unmerited favor, AT ALL TIMES, IN EVERY SITUATION AND CIRCUMSTANCE is the catalyst for true holiness. That is precisely why much of the evangelical orthodox church is so far off the mark today. They are demanding holiness without grace…. This bears repeating, they are demanding holiness without grace. This will never work. It will only produce mean saints that are burned out from struggling on the treadmill of works.

So then, what is the solution you ask? How can you bring the proper balance into play? Great question… This series of blog posts will hopefully give the answer. Pray for me that the Spirit will help me make it abundantly plain. I desire your prayers for me as I embark on a new phase of this ministry. Notice that I have not used any scripture yet, but you can rest assured that I will, and the thoughts that I have expressed this far are from my take, my reading of the scripture.

Hopefully in this series I will be able to demonstrate to you that unconditional grace, unlimited grace from the Father via Jesus Christ when properly understood and presented will result in increased holiness and obedience. It will only work in fellowships that stress as first importance unlimited grace.

2 comments:

  1. Amazing that this has also become my heart over the last few years; the Lord has shown me that all that I was "trying" to do, to earn holiness, wasn't going to work. It wasn't until the Lord showed me, while riding my horse, Romans 2:4. It's His goodness that leads us to repentance -- grasping and understanding that He did all things in Christ, because He loves me...that's it, He loves me. He was showing me about how the fact that being good to my horse and the relationship that we share, was a result of goodness to one another and it develops trust, it develops my horse knowing what I want from him before I ask and getting the right results, because I love him and am good to him...therefore, he is more inclined to "please" me as his alpha leader; soon that becomes his way of life.

    If I weren't good to him and forced him to do things -- he would be responding in fear -- and one day, that would blow up in my face, when my horse got tired of being afraid of me. He was relaxed and open to read my body language, without saying a word...we spent time together, knew each other and my horse knows my voice and responds to it.

    I was/am so hard-headed, I had to have this shown to me doing something I love, to get it: I was so bound by legalism at that point. Praise God, He set me free that day and I got to relax and pursue Holiness through Christ and what He already accomplished on my behalf; I rest in Him and my faith is in what He has done for me. I believe that He loves me so much that He wants me to be happy, healthy and whole and that He will heal, deliver and provide for us -- just because He loves us...not because of any work or performance.

    I look forward to this series.

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    Replies
    1. Praise the Lord and thanks for your response. It seems that so many are coming to this understanding and I praise God for that!

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