Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Devotion 10: Perfecting Holiness

Devotion 10: Perfecting Holiness

"...beloved, let us cleanse ourselves
from every defilement of flesh and spirit,
making holiness perfect in the fear of God.”

2 Corinthians 7:1

I thought that being holy was being perfect. How can holiness be made perfect and how do we make it perfect?

By fearing God.

Obedience without the fear of God is really either self-centeredness or self-righteousness.

If holiness is setting ourselves apart to implicit and faithful obedience to the will and way of God, then it must be accompanied with:

(A)  a proper consciousness and acknowledgement in faith that God is the Judge of all our intentions and actions (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Hebrews 11:6).

(b)  the worship of God in Christ alone, and no other. We are to love God and others but we are to worship God and God alone.  God in Christ is not merely to be number one on a long list of names of those to worship and direct our prayers. He is to be the only name on that list.

(c) the aim to glorify Him and Him alone on earth. In other words, in contemporary parlance, we are to aim to make God look good before others. All our intentions and actions are to reflect the presence of God in Christ on the earth even as Jesus walked the earth over two thousand years ago. If one is to see Jesus, He can only be seen in you.

To follow God with such an attitude of faith is to fear God and thereby live a life of increasing holiness (Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 1:17; 2 Peter 1:5-9).

"And if ye call on the Father...pass the time of your sojourning here in fear."

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Review: The Grace of God

The Grace of God The Grace of God by Samuelj. Mikolaski
My rating: 0 of 5 stars

This was an insightful read of a brief survey on the doctrine of grace in the Bible. He covers grace as taught in Eastern Orthodox and catholic traditions, it's teaching in the Old and New Testaments, it's key feature, it's significance in the Gospel message, and what it looks like or the actions divine grace has taken and takes "in Christ."

Mikolaski gives a clear, concise, and illuminating understanding of what divine grace is and it's relation to the Christian life. Interesting enough, at times he sounds Calvinistic and in other places Arminian while, still in a few other places, he shadows the Pentecostal/Charismatic, which means any minister tradition can apply and quote the wisdom of his writing here to their doctrinal a practical teachings and beliefs on grace.

Just reading this book is hard to pin him down (but I suspect he is Reformed), but his writing is thoroughly erudite, faithfully Biblical, and unashamedly Christian.

View all my reviews

Monday, January 23, 2017

Devotion 9: In Whom God Delights

Devotion 9: Those in Whom God Delights

"You are not a god who delights in evil”
Psalm 5:5a

If we think saying we’re "Christian" will win God's favor while, at the same time, we live as we please, participating in acts that not only are injurious to ourselves and others, but also dishonor God, we just might come to a big disappointment in the end.

God delights neither in evil nor in a wicked person regardless of their political stance, their devotion to the "American" ideals, their own claims to being or acting “righteous.”  God’s not concerned what one’s voting record looks like, whether they voted Republican or Democrat, whether they voted for "righteousness" sake either to stop abortion or obtain civil rights for the LBGTQ community.

To call one’s self a "Christian" makes no matter if they're in a place of disobedience or possess a self-righteous mind.  Wearing the "conservative" or "liberal" button on one’s lapel does not help gain God's favor, nor does it forfeit God's favor. To be a conservative is no less or more a claim to be Christian than to be a liberal, and vice-versa.  God delights in neither a political party or ideal.

God delights in the person whose moral character reflects that of His Son, Jesus Christ.

For whom you voted may impress fellow ideologues but it does not impress God. For whom you voted may built up your own self-esteem but it counts for nothing regarding how God esteems you. God is not impressed when you pray to Him as a Democrat or Republican. That you protest against this or that or defend this or that political person or point of view is not how God determines who is following Him or wins His favor.

It is following Christ that God determines who is following Him. One can be in the right, yet not be a follower of Christ. It is not whether you are in the right but whether you are walking in the right that delights God.

It is the righteous who are blessed. And righteousness is not a matter of loving God first and loving others second, as some are taught; but it is loving God and man simultaneously. And it is in loving God and our fellow man in a manner that deems them to be more important than ourselves that one is loving God with all one's heart, strength, soul, and mind.

It is those who walk with a clear conscience before God, whose actions towards others, even their enemies, are blameless before God and their fellow-man.

God's aim is not to make America great but, if anything, to make the people of America - black and white, native-american and immigrant, Gentile and Jew - holy.

"For you, Lord, bless the righteous"


Sunday, January 22, 2017

Devotion 8: God, My Only Good


Devotion: Psalm 13:6

"I trust in your faithfulness. Grant my heart joy in your help, that I may sing..."
 (New American Bible)

The Bible is not afraid to risk tarnishing God's reputation and character by exposing the depths of disappointment and estrangement from God one may go through at one time or another, to one degree or another. Nevertheless, it is in that depth of despair that one ought not abandon faith in God as the only hope to the answer for which he cries out in his trouble, pain, and sorrow.

The NAB subtitles the psalm as a "Prayer in Time of Illness" but there is no indication in the psalm itself just what exactly is the problem except, perhaps, to hint someone is acting against him (v.5).

In any case, whatever the problem, the grief the psalmist experiences does not prevent him from believing God is good ("I trust in your faithfulness," v.6a) and expecting God to deliver and restore his good fortune (Grant my heart joy in your help," v.6b).

In all this grief, the psalmist's aim to receive the answer to his urgent prayer is not merely deliverance, but the opportunity to give to evidence to the unbelievers that God is good: "That I may sing of the Lord, how Good our God has been to me!"

"...you are my only good." Psalm 6:2

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Devotion 7: Faith Nags and Pulls

Devotion: Psalm 63:1-4

"...I long...my body yearns...my soul thirsts...
I look to you...to see your power and your glory."

The Christ-follower possesses the deep-seated awareness that there is a missing element in his faith that nags and pulls on him, almost like the way a leash pulls the dog to it's owner. It is the intense desire for the actual Presence of Christ, the constant longing to hear audibly His Voice, the thirsty demand to stand before the reality of his Person, to see, hear, feel, and touch the One who has captured his heart.

There is no greater desire within the Christian than this, all that he does is done in the ebspectstion of it culminating in the fulfillment of this Desire, that Desire wherein all other desires are caught up and absorbed in; that ardent longing for Him who has been gone too long to return, to rule, to cease all wars, to banish all pain, to release us from every hurt, to make the enemy take flight, to banish Leviathan forever, and to make right all that is wrong in this world.

The heart's constant embrace is to sing, "Come, Lord Jesus! Come!"

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Devotion 6: Repentance

Devotion: Mark 6:12

"They went out and preached that men should repent."

The purpose of repentance is to make himself fit to enter the Kingdom of Heaven, that when the it arrives, one is not put out (Revelation 22:15).

It is God's desire that men inhabit and rule in His Kingdom; men are to be co-rulers with Christ of all the Created Order. However, the success of Heaven's peaceable rule is not guaranteed if men enter the Kingdom who have not today repented, if they do not today - now! - prepare their heart and life for the culture of Heaven.

A person will enter the final destiny for which he now lives, their future destiny is marked out for them today whether they have lived as friends of this earthly system against God or in protest against it. The set of the heart and the lifestyle embraced today will determine the world one will rise to inherit at his death. 

Therefore, today repent precisely because there is a Kingdom of Heaven that will soon arrive, breaking forth in divine power like the lightening that, in a split second, cuts in half oak trees down to the roots. When that Kingdom comes, it will not in any way tolerate wicked men. The guards standing at the Gates of the Kingdom of Heaven will take into consideration the state of the heart and it will frisk the life before allowing anyone to enter in.

If the heart and life surveyed has not been lived according to the revelation of God in Christ on earth today, it will certainly not be admitted into the Kingdom of Heaven tomorrow.

Devotion 5: Peace Ruling

Devotion:  Colossians 3:15

"And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts..."

 (Read Colossians 3:12-17)

It is not the inward peace of the individual with reference to one's own self for his own personal advantage that Paul exhorts to peace; but, it is the inward peace that one has towards others, free of all bitterness and evil-thinking, primarily and especially with reference to fellow believers.


One's personal peace is contingent upon having peace towards and with others, fulfilling Jesus' prayer that we be one (John 17).

Monday, January 16, 2017

Devotion 4: A Thin Line

Devotion: Epheasians 5:2

"...and walk in love, as also the Christ did love us…"
(Young's Literal Translation)


That is, it is a thin line between supporting someone in their sin that results in a need and supporting someone in their need as a result of their sin.  It might be hard for you or an outsider to distinguish whether or not what you do supports the sin or supports the sinner.

I guess what is most important for us as Christians is to "let all your things be done in love."  If love is at the bottom of all you do, regardless of how it looks and what is the the end result, it seems you can't go wrong; for "walking in love" is being like Christ.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Devotion 3: Perfecting Holiness

Devotion 3: Perfecting Holiness

"...beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of flesh and spirit,

making holiness perfect in the fear of God."

2 Corinthians 7:1

I thought that being holy was being perfect. How can holiness be made perfect and how do we make it perfect?
By fearing God.
Obedience without the fear of God is really either self-centeredness or self-righteousness.
If holiness is setting ourselves apart to implicit and faithful obedience to the will and way of God, then it must be accompanied:
(a) with a proper consciousness and acknowledgement in faith that God is the Judge of all our intentions and actions (Ecclesiastes 12:13-14; Hebrews 11:6).
(b) with the worship of God in Christ alone, and no other. We are to love God and other but we are to worship God and God alone. God in Christ is not merely to be number one on a long list of names of those to worship and direct our prayers. He is to be the only name on that list.
(c) with the aim to glorify Him and Him alone on earth. In other words, in contemporary parlance, make God look good before others. All our intentions and actions are to reflect the presence of God in Christ on the earth even as Jesus walked the earth over two thousand years ago. If one is to see Jesus, He can only be seen in you.
To follow God with such an attitude of faith is to fear God and thereby live a life in increasing holiness (Hebrews 11:7; 1 Peter 1:17; 2 Peter 1:5-9).
"And if ye call on the Father...pass the time of your sojourning here in fear."