May 16, 2023
Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (2 Cor 7:1 NASV)
One of the premier attributes of God is holiness. To be holy is to be set apart, different. When the angels look at God, their proclamation is “Holy, holy, holy.” He is different from us in our sinful state. He has no hint of sin, no ounce of impurity. No bit of unloveliness.
He is always loving, always kind. His motivations are faultless, and His actions are above reproach. He is wisdom personified. He is complete in joy and peace. Everything you can think or imagine of goodness, light, and beauty all comes from Him, for it IS Him.
God made us in His image, but He knows we have been marred by the fall. He longs for us to experience the freedom and beauty of such holiness, and He plans to return us there. He wants to return us to holiness. To conform us to the image of His Son.
So, how does that process work? How do we become holy, like God, and experience all the riches that holiness brings?
“THEREFORE, HAVING THESE PROMISES”
We have over 7,000 promises from God that He has given us to help us get from where we are to where we need to be. We have no excuse. He has promised to assist us in every way at every turn. The promises of God and our dependent responses to them—our faith—are God’s operating system with man. Promises must be understood, believed, and acted upon to be experienced. We must claim the promises in His Word every day and obey the conditions of those promises.
But what are the specific promises to which Paul refers? The promises that challenge us to “cleanse ourselves?” Look at the preceding verses.
For we are the temple of the living God, just as God said, “I will dwell in them and walk among them; And I will be their God, and they shall be My people. Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord. “And do not touch what is unclean and I will welcome you. And I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to Me,” says the Lord Almighty. (2 Corinthians 6:16-18)
God has promised to all of those who have become His followers by faith in His Son the following things:
So how should we live in light of this new relationship that assures us of His presence?
“LET US CLEANSE OURSELVES FROM ALL DEFILEMENT OF FLESH AND SPIRIT”
Since He is now in us, walking among us, and has adopted us, we must take action to remove what is contaminating us in this life. We must “cleanse ourselves.” To enjoy the fullness of His presence we must follow His loving commands that will cleanse us from all that hinders our relationship with Him. The removal of the defilement of this world are made possible because of the grace of God and the finished work of the Cross. But we are responsible for moving forward in this cleansing.
Think of all the things that might contaminate your body and your spirit (mind, will, and emotions): images, thoughts, what you see, what you read, what goes into your mouth, what comes out of your mouth, substances, wrong ideas and philosophies of the world, wrong friends, etc. It would be good to sit right now and let God bring to mind all the things that are contaminating you.
Other translations read…
We are to be ever-growing in Christlikeness. We should be moving, not toward, but away from, the world’s way of thinking, operating, living, being entertained. As the temple in which God now lives and moves, we must find our joy in Him. We can walk with Him in the cool of the day. Once we realize what we can experience in genuine, daily intimacy with the Father, we do not need the trinkets of this world. We gladly lay down anything that interrupts our fellowship together.
“IN THE FEAR OF GOD”
Think of how differently you would deal with the contaminating things of this world if Christ were physically standing right beside you. And now … He is! He is in you, walking with you. You are His blood relative and represent the Family to the world. Our great motivation to cleanse ourselves and be holy is our love and reverence for God. Our fear of missing all He has designed for us. Our fear of dishonoring Him that we love and need so profoundly. Our constant awareness of His presence. Our moment-by-moment communion with Him in prayer.
Why would we choose less when we are promised more? Live today in awareness of His presence and lay aside anything that threatens that awareness and intimacy. As you do, you will find the foyer of heaven.
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