Strive for Peace & Holiness

Strive for Peace & Holiness

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  (Heb 12:14 ESV)

. . . let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.  (1 Pet 3:11 NKJV)

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.  Blessed are the peacemakers,
for they shall be called sons of God.
  (Mt 5:8-9)

But you, O man of God, flee these things and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, gentleness.  (1 Tim 6:11)

STRIVE means to struggle, do your utmost, and to make every effort.  So the Bible is instructing us to pull out all the stops to be at peace with everyone and to live holy lives so that we will see the Lord. 

We want to turn away from evil, and live moral, virtuous and upright lives.  A certain path towards good is to look for peace and to take every opportunity to promote and to practice peace.  Jesus said that peacemakers would be called sons of God.  (Mt 5:9)

The Holy Spirit leads us to flee evil, vice and iniquity.  The Holy Spirit will inspire us to chase after and to exercise righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, and gentleness.  The Lord also gives us His empowering grace in order to live each day victoriously and with joy.

The Bible reminds us in several passages that the Holy Spirit is our teacher.  (Lk 12:12; Joh 14:26; 1 Cor 2:13)  We need to allow Him to teach us and to lead us in the paths where He wants us to walk.  Submit to the Lord’s wisdom and guidance joyfully.

The New Self

The New Self

In Christ, we have been given a “new self.”  (Eph 4:24)  We have been born again.  (Joh 3:3; 1 Pet 1:23)  We must cooperate with the Lord and put on the new man. In other words, we need to make the effort to live through our new man by the power of the Holy Spirit within us.

So get rid of your old self, which made you live as you used to—the old self that was being destroyed by its deceitful desires. 23 Your hearts and minds must be made completely new, 24 and you must put on the new self, which is created in God’s likeness and reveals itself in the true life that is upright and holy.  (Eph 4:22-24 GNT)

The Bible tells us to “put on” a number of different things.  We are told to PUT ON:

  • The armor of light (Rom 13:12)
  • The Lord Jesus Christ (Rom 13:14)
  • Incorruption; immortality (1 Cor 15:53-54)
  • Christ (Gal 3:27)
  • The new man (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10)
  • The whole armor of God (Eph 6:11)
  • The breastplate of righteousness (Eph 6:14)
  • Tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering (Col 3:12)
  • Love—the bond of perfection (Col 3:14)
  • The breastplate of faith and love (1 Thes 5:8)

We are being taught, through all of these Bible verses, how to live our born-again lives.  The Holy Spirit is tutoring us on the “normal Christian life” so that we may understand our responsibilities and be able to lay hold of our blessings and our inheritance. 

Our bodies are the temple of the Holy Spirit.

Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own?  (1 Cor 6:19)

If we will rely upon God, trust His Word, and live obediently, we will be living the “new man life” which is upright and holy. 

Beauty

Beauty

“Beauty will save the world.”  ~ Fyodor Dostoevsky

Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty, God will shine forth.  (Ps 50:2)

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who proclaims peace, who brings glad tidings of good things, who proclaims salvation,
Who says to Zion, “Your God reigns!”
  (Isa 52:7)

What is Zion and why is it important to Christians? 

Jerusalem and Zion are one and the same city.  Zion was the place of God’s special presence among His people, and the place where they turned for help and deliverance.  Jerusalem has been the holiest city in Judaism and the ancestral and spiritual homeland of the Jewish people since the 10th century BCE (before Common Era).  During classical antiquity, Jerusalem was considered the center of the world, where God resided.

What does all of this have to do with our topic of beauty?  Because God promises to shine forth out of Zion, which is called the perfection of beauty

Rejoice in the Lord, O you righteous! For praise from the upright is beautiful.  (Ps 33:1)

The Word of God reminds us that praise is beautiful—not only in the sight of God but in the sight of men, as well.  If I happen to find a television program that is broadcasting a praise and worship service, I find it so beautiful to see that I’m moved to tears.

. . . rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God.  (1 Pet 3:4, emphasis added)

In this verse from first Peter, the Word of God tells us that a gentle and quiet spirit is indestructibly beautiful!  It is also very treasured by our God.  So, we see that God considers salvation to be a beautiful thing, along with our praises to Him.

It is this inner quality of beauty that God commends and which the entire world unerringly recognizes!  We will achieve this level of beauty as we obey God and seek to follow Him.  He is the only One who transforms lives because He is the glory and the lifter of our heads!  (Ps 3:3)  Because His Spirit lives within each one of us, His beauty will shine forth through us.

This is why Isaiah 52:7 (at top of this article) calls the feet of those who spread the Gospel “beautiful feet”!  We all may confidently pursue this beauty that shines forth from our inner man.

 

My Defense is of God

My Defense is of God

In the Bible, the Lord is shown again and again to be our defense in times of trouble or difficulties.  Defense means protection, security, cover, or shield.  It can also mean justification or vindication.  Assuredly, Jesus Christ is our justification!

My defense is of God, Who saves the upright in heart.  (Ps 7:10)

I will wait for You, O You his Strength; for God is my defense.  (Ps 59:9)

He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved.  (Ps 62:2)

But the Lord has been my defense, and my God the rock of my refuge.  (Ps 94:22)

The Lord is our protection; and this is something that we all need to recognize and to trust in, since we live in an increasingly hostile world—one that is growing even more antagonistic to the message of the gospel.  Let us remember to confess, along with the Psalmist, “My defense is of God.”

It is essential for us to remain in a strong and vital relationship with the Lord.  The Word of God feeds us and increases our faith.  It reminds us who we are and of the One we serve.    Don’t allow yourself to become complacent, or to wander away from daily Bible reading and contemplation. 

Continue to worship with other like-minded believers on a regular basis because we’re encouraged to have fellowship with our brethren. (Heb 10:25)  As we fellowship with other believers, they will support us and encourage us, spurring us on to good works!  Glory to God!

Blameless in Jesus

Blameless in Jesus

Whoever walks blamelessly will be saved.  (Proverbs 28:18a NKJV)

For the upright will dwell in the land, and the blameless will remain in it . . .  (Proverbs 2:21 NKJV)

It’s impossible for a human being to live blamelessly without the grace of God operating in their life.  When we accepted Jesus as our Savior, we established a relationship with God wherein we were given access to His grace for every need that we may have.  (Ephesians 1:7; 2:5; 2:7; 4:7)

In Jesus, our Savior and Lord, we DO walk blamelessly because HE lived a perfect, sinless life on our behalf!  He became sin for us that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ.  (Romans 8:10; 2 Cor. 5:21) Glory Hallelujah! 

Jesus fulfilled the law and gave Himself as the propitiation for our sins, so that WE could receive ALL of the blessings that were due to Him.  Jesus shares all of the blessings of His righteous, sinless life with each and every believer.  Once we understand these truths, it is easy to rejoice in the gifts that Jesus has so freely given to us!