1Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. 2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” -Romans 12:1-2
We don’t HAVE to be HOLY. We GET to be holy.
Our holiness isn’t provided by OUR work, but rather HIS Work on the cross. But since HIS Work is done, our work is now an opportunity in holiness (Ephesians 2:8-10).
When we die, or when Jesus returns, whichever happens first, we will no longer have the opportunity to OFFER ourselves as LIVING sacrifices to God. That limited time opportunity will be GONE! The bright side is, sin and death will also be gone. But the beauty of life on this side of heaven and before the end of history is that we can worship God in a unique and powerful way through self-sacrifice, self-denial (Luke 9:23), and displaying our belief in heavenly things unseen, yet with certainty of that which we hope for in Christ through obedience to His Word.
Too often we discount the passages of Scripture in both the Old and New Testaments that speak of “holiness” and “consecration to the Lord” as “cultural” or “for older generations”. Finding pleasure in GOD is the greatest form of worship we could ever know! But instead, we often excuse away our opportunity for daily consecration to the Lord with ignorant statements like, “we know MORE now,” or, “Many scholars have come to an agreement that “such & such” passages were actually misinterpreted by the Early Church, and so we don’t have to adhere to that archaic line of thinking anymore,” etc…
How arrogant of us. We are so easily deceived and misled by the enemy of our souls. Do we really think we are more wise than Paul, Peter, Luke, Matthew, John, Daniel, Isaiah, Malachi, Moses, or even Charles Spurgeon? If Peter, who Jesus said He’d build His Church upon, was called “Satan!” by Jesus (Matthew 16:23), how much more might we not be mislead and used of Satan? We can be saved, just as Peter was, and still MISS it all.
This sort of errant, borderline sacrilegious thinking, reminds me of the scene in “Princess Bride” when Inigo Montoya says to Vizzini, “You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means,” after Vizzini keeps using the word “inconceivable”. In this case, I do not think many Bible “reinterpretations” mean what many “neo-theologians” think they mean. In other words, the original meaning hasn’t changed from their historical context and intended moral and spiritual lessons. Rather, perhaps WE have changed for the worse as the Apostle Paul warns about in 1 Timothy 4:1-2:
“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons. 2 These people are hypocrites and liars, and their consciences are dead,” (NLT).
We are also told what those days will look like in 2 Timothy 3:1-5:
“You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times.2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!”
“Oh, but that isn’t ME Mike! C’mon brother! Can’t I hold a DIFFERENT view than you? There are MANY different ways to interpret Scripture. What’s to say the way YOU are interpreting is the right way?” etc., etc…
Sure. You can take that approach. But please give me a little more credit than your temptation to react and defend is currently allowing you. Please grant me the honor you KNOW I would give you, and simply consider this: What is the Spirit of God telling you, RIGHT. NOW. ? My prayer is that He is WAKING YOU and I BOTH UP! May we not live in the bliss of willful ignorance because we didn’t want to call evil by its name.
This isn’t about “sides”, or “winning” an argument, or even acceptance or feelings of un-acceptance. This is about SEEKING the Lord and OFFERING ourselves to HIM, because it’s about HIM. Always has been, always will be.
We need to lay down our plethora of Americanized IDENTITY IDOLS, whether they be of social, sexual, materialistic, or even professional nature. Instead, let’s OFFER ourselves to Jesus HOLY and PLEASING to God and listen to how HE feels.
If we profess Christ as Lord, then doesn’t the humility of our Lord require us to pause and consider the possibility that we might be going the WRONG way? Shouldn’t we at least do a soul search and ask the Lord? If you are one who is fighting against these words right now, then I may I ask you to please STOP, and out loud ask Jesus, as David did in Psalm 139:23, to “Search me and know me…”
I wonder if THESE are those days Paul prophecied about? Not only do unbelievers scoff and mock at sincere piety and worship of God (which is sort of the normal thing unbelievers are “supposed” to do), but I often witness people in the CHURCH do it as well, just to get a cheap laugh. I think it’s often done out of ignorance, but who DIDN’T teach them how to HONOR God and His Church more reverently? Where did we miss it?
Have you ever wondered exactly HOW the Church would ever get to such a place of “having a FORM of godliness, but denying His power?” (1 Timothy 3:5). I think we’re seeing such a tragedy unfold before our very eyes.
Church, if we don’t turn the tide IMMEDIATELY, then prepare to witness the matrix of apostasy.
Ok, enough doomsday. I am still holding out HOPE for revival! I’m still claiming 2 Chronicles 7:14:
“14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land.” (NLT)
So here’s the simple call.
Let’s set ourselves apart from the world and its ways. This is NOT just an Old Testament thing or something our grandparents and great grandparents did.
It’s a B-I-B-L-E thing. Don’t make me spell it TWICE!
It’s an obedience to Christ and therefore LOVE for Him, THING.
I leave you with these Scripture passages from both the Old and New Testaments regarding our MODERN need to STILL consecrate ourselves to the Lord. After all, we only have a LIMITED TIME OFFERING opportunity to give God every part of us this side of Heaven. Instead of trying to see how much “tomfoolery” we can get away with and still make it in to heaven like 1 Corinthians 3:10-23 warns us about, let’s OFFER ourselves in the HOLY form Jesus paid so dearly for on His Cross to save our souls from certain destruction!
5Then Joshua told the people, “Purify yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do great wonders among you.” –Joshua 3:5
5He said to them, “Listen to me, you Levites! Purify yourselves, and purify the Temple of the LORD, the God of your ancestors. Remove all the defiled things from the sanctuary. 6Our ancestors were unfaithful and did what was evil in the sight of the LORD our God. They abandoned the LORD and his dwelling place; they turned their backs on him.” -2 Chronicles 29:5-6
The Apostle Paul is CLEAR in both 1st and 2nd Corinthians that our BODIES are the TEMPLE of God:
19Don’t you realize that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourself, 20for God bought you with a high price. So you must honor God with your body.” -1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NLT)
14Don’t team up with those who are unbelievers. How can righteousness be a partner with wickedness? How can light live with darkness? 15What harmony can there be between Christ and the devil? How can a believer be a partner with an unbeliever? 16And what union can there be between God’s temple and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God said:
“I will live in them and walk among them. I will be their God, and they will be my people.17Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you.18And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” -2 Corinthians 6:14-18 (NLT)
3It is God’s will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality; 4that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable, 5not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God; 6and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you. 7For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. 8Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.” -1 Thessalonians 4:3-8 (NIV)
As if Paul’s instructions weren’t enough, Peter chimes in, again referencing Old Testament “logic”:
13So think clearly and exercise self-control. Look forward to the gracious salvation that will come to you when Jesus Christ is revealed to the world. 14So you must live as God’s obedient children. Don’t slip back into your old ways of living to satisfy your own desires. You didn’t know any better then. 15But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.” -1 Peter 1:13-16 (NLT)
*For a more in depth perspective about why and where these thoughts originated, please CLICK HERE for a description of my experience in prayer at the US Supreme Court. WARNING: This link is BOLD and was one of the most difficult things I’ve ever written. It is meant for those who want to walk in the beauty and strength of Biblically accountable Christian Community. If you’re not there yet, no judgement. I just wouldn’t read it since you would run the risk of taking my intent wrong. That’s why I didn’t post it outright in my social media links. Its just so heavy. Thanks 🙂