Thursday, December 24, 2015

Work in progress

Philippians 1:6King James Version (KJV)

Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:

For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth notyet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.

Romans 8:20-23King James Version (KJV)

20 For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope,
21 Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
22 For we know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now.
23 And not only they, but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body.
In Apostolic Pentecostal circles, we put a lot of emphasis on holiness, much of it misdirected (albeit well-intentioned.) While it is true that holiness is necessary, many paint holiness out to be a long list of rules and legislation. Indeed, to hear some tell it, we can work ourselves into heaven simply by going to church, paying tithes, obeying the leadership, dressing and acting in certain ways, etc. 
This week is Christmas, where we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Stop and think about it. Why did he come? Why did he robe himself in flesh and become a man? Consider this powerful answer: 
Isaiah 64:6 [Full Chapter]
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.

The word "filthy" here comes from the Hebrew word, "idda." It means, "menstruation." And the word "Rags" here comes from the Hebrew word, "beged," and it means, "treachery, deceit, garment." 

In other words, for all our worship, for all our praise, for all our effort, for all our giving, for all our towing the line of standards, our righteousness is as worthwhile to Jesus as a used Tampon. (Yes, I said it! But, God said it first through Isaiah.) 

We can be the most accomplished and seemingly successful Christian leader in the world, but for all our accomplishments in the eyes of mankind, we fall so very short of what God himself calls righteous. 

But, he became sin for us so that we might become the righteousness of God. Therefore, we can stand before him washed in his blood as his children, enjoying the full love and devotion of God towards us.

Yet, when we declare to the world that we are the children of God, they begin to nit pic us to death.
"I thought you were a Christian, Christians don't do that."  

In our flesh we can do nothing. However, WITH GOD LIVING THROUGH US, we can do all things. Just as humans have different levels of development, so do children of God. Just as we don't expect a new born to walk, or a toddler to iron their clothing, neither should anyone expect a Christian to be perfect. 

Over time, we will "grow in Grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ." But, will we achieve sinless perfection? Not in this life. But, the trick to being Holy is not following standards and being religious. The trick is in allowing Jesus to live through us. The more we allow him to, the less sins we will commit and the more like him we will become. 

But, for all the fruit inspectors out there who are investigating "God's people," looking for signs of sin:

Please bear with us, we are, after all, truly a work in progress.