Sunday, December 4, 2016

The Most Despicable Thing

Within the pages of the Holy Bible are tales of intrigue, theft, murder, debauchery, adultery, murder, sedition, lying and much more, but the most despicable thing in the Bible is holiness!

The faithful reader right now is thinking, "But that is the most desirable thing!" The faithful reader is correct, but the world is wrong!
Leviticus 19:2 "Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the Lord your God am holy."
That is worth repeating:
1 Peter 1:16 "Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
Paul thought what Moses wrote was worth repeating, validating that holiness is timeless, commanded by God and  a characteristic of one who professes Christianity.

What is holiness? "for I am holy" means to be as God is.
1 Corinthians 11:1 ( ESV) "Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ."
Galatians 3:27 ( ESV) "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
To "be holy" is to be as Christ is. One should then ask, "How is Christ?" He is first and most of all, loving. As such he is graceful, and he is good, as only God himself is good. "Goodness" in scripture is doing what is right in God's eyes, God's will, referred to as righteousness.

Why is holiness despicable? Because even Christians cringe at the idea that they must change even though at baptism they promise to do just that:
Ephesians 4:22 (ESV) "To put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness."
Being Holy like God is the transformation made as the sinner is born-again. With baptism they symbolically testify to the transformation with the washing with water. The "new self", the one washed clean, is "created after the likeness of God" which is in  "true righteousness and holiness". With the hope of salvation and the washing in water, the Christian is to be "holy", or in the modern vernacular, a holy roller! Now, that is despicable to even most Christians, but we are called to be set apart:
1 Peter 2:9 "But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light..."
The Christian "nation" is holy. Holy people are peculiar and as such are despicable by the norms and expectations of society. "Heaven forbid, if those born-again act like it!" even Christians express.

Peculiar is to be an oddball, and not like other people. We are to imitate Christ (Ephesians 5:1) and obey his commandments (John 14:15), which is to love God and others (Matthew 22:37, 39).  How we love God and others are the Ten Commandments. In essence, obedience to those commands is to sacrifice oneself (Romans 12:1) by making yourself "a living sacrifice". Self-sacrifice is to quit doing what you want to do and to start doing what God desires for you to do - and be! With that expectation, Christians are to be peculiar people. Yes, you're to be an oddball!

Oddballs aren't part of the crowd. They set themselves apart from the world. The world tempts the oddball through pleasures of the flesh; that's doing what you want to do rather than God's will. That living sacrifice and setting apart is sanctification.
1 Thessalonians 5:23 "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."
Hillary is right to some degree: most people are "a basket of deplorables", that which I call despicables. It's because we are not oddballs, not because we are!

We are to be wholly set apart, not just part way. It's our whole spirit, soul and body which is to be without sin, and it's to be from becoming the new person onward to death. It is running the race and persevering until the end.

God does the sanctifying (1 Thessalonians 5:23).  He does so because that's what you are called to do, i.e, you must be willing to do God's will (John 17:19). Sanctification is living the truth (John 17:17). Sanctification is possible because Jesus' shed his blood (Hebrews 3:12), and it commences at baptism (Ephesians 5:26) as the Christian becomes a new person. When the Christian is sanctified the person becomes an oddity, a peculiar person.

When born-again and cleansed in water, the expectation is that the peculiar person changes from old person to new. The way to test the efficacy of the Christian experience is by change: the Christian must be a different person than before! The Christian is to be an oddball in the world. The Christian is to be peculiar. Peculiar people are despicable to the world. We are to be the most despicable of the despicable! We are to start telling people of our hope (1 Peter 3:15) and as we do, the world will hate us.

Not being politically correct is being the oddball. Not being theologically correct is being the oddball because most theologians follow the mood of the world. Being correct is worshiping God in spirit and in truth without regard to what the world thinks! We are to be the most despicable to the world because Jesus was. Jesus was killed because he was despicable to the world and even to those religious. We are to be like him and bear his cross just as he did. We are to serve him and all the world knows how despicable slaves are!

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