Friday, March 29, 2013

Holiness and grace; Are they mutually exclusive? Part 5

(Titus 2:11-12 NASB)  For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men,  (12)  instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age,

Paul tells Titus that grace is the instructor; Instructor of what? It instructs one to live sensibly, righteously and godly. If sensibly, righteously and godly are not the description of holiness I do not know what the definition of holiness could be. If there is anything that would set a person apart from the rest of the world sensible, righteous and godly/godlike living would be it. So again, the question is; how does grace instruct us? Grace convinces and explains the extent of God’s love for us. The preaching of the cross is an offense to the religious mind and likewise unlimited grace is offensive for the same reason. It was prophesied in Isaiah 28:15-18. God himself would lay a stone in Zion and all who believed would not be shaken. However, in Isaiah 8:14 it is explained that the cornerstone would become a rock of stumbling and offence. It seems that grace is an offense to those who are striving to please God by their own merit. It has been so for a long time. Paul explains that the cross is an offense.

It is important to realize that still Paul maintains that grace is an instructor that promotes righteousness. He said in another place that it is the kindness/mercy of God that leads to repentance. Grace is the one thing that can create peace with God. It is the source of being able to rest in redemption and the Father’s love. The fruit of the Spirit flows because of grace.

It is important to see that life is a process and not necessarily a goal. It is a process of development. True righteousness and holiness develops over time. If you look at the lives of those in the bible, you will find that their faith and obedience develops over time in the process of life. I suggest that you familiarize yourself with the life of Abraham. His story is told in Genesis from Chapter 12 to 25. When you look at Genesis chapter twenty you will see that even though Abraham feared and lied to King Abimelech, God still caused Abraham to have to pray a blessing on Abimelech and he caused the King to give Abraham great wealth and this was during a shameful time of disobedience. God saw Abraham’s faith life over time and not by a single instance, and that at the end he would trust God so much that he would sacrifice his only born son Isaac... he was sure that God would raise him back to life.

It was God’s grace and his faithfulness to Abraham that developed holiness in Abraham over time; after all, Abraham was called the friend of God. There are many other stories not least of which is Peter. He denied Jesus as predicted but over time and with the indwelling Holy Ghost was willing to be crucified upside down. Stressing God’s grace over a lifetime, that is, always rehearsing the gospel before the saints will result in supernatural transformation… that transformation is sanctification and holiness.

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