May 24, 2022
Do you remember the day that you were baptized into Jesus? That was the singular most important day of our lives. Magnificent changes took place on that day. All our sins were washed away by the blood of Jesus, we received a new life, and we were freed from the reign of sin over our lives. And one of the most amazing things that happened is this: God Himself came to live in your heart on that day.
God Himself came to live within you! Think of the enormity of that statement! If that statement is true (and it is), then there must be enormous consequences that stem from this fact. What changes are being brought about in your life because of the indwelling of the Spirit of God? Is He making a difference in you? Are you allowing Him to make a difference in you?
The Spirit who lives within us gives us the power to overcome sin and to put to death our sinful passions and desires! As Paul writes, “But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.” (Galatians 5:16-17, NASB)
The Spirit who lives within us changes us from the inside! He causes wonderful things to be produced in our lives. Paul continues, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control…” (Galatians 5:22-23, NASB).
What effect is the Holy Spirit having in your life? Is He changing you? Are you growing in holiness in your day-to-day life? Shouldn’t God Himself dwelling within us make a great difference in our lives? God wants to make a great difference in your life. He wants to help you overcome sin. He wants to cause us to produce fruit for Him. But we must choose to walk by the Spirit. If we will, God will work amazing things in our lives! He will take us to a new plane! He will abide with us! May we all renew our commitment to walk by His Spirit today.
February 9, 2022
Striving for a life of holiness is of utmost importance for us as the children of God. God did not send His Son to save us from the power of sin so that we could just go back to living how we always lived. The holiness of God demands that we live holy lives.
The Spirit, through Peter, makes this very clear to us. “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am Holy.’” (1 Peter 1:14-16, NASB). God wants us to be obedient children by no longer being conformed to our former lusts. To be conformed is to be shaped and molded by something. We need to stop being shaped and molded by the sinful desires that used to drive us. We need to stop being conformed to the shape of this world. Now that we are in Christ, God is calling us to be holy in all our behavior. God is holy, and He expects us to be holy.
What does it mean for us to be holy? It means to be set apart to God. It means to be set apart from the world around us. It means to be set apart from our former sinful pursuits. Simply put, it means that we are supposed to be different now! Because of the gift of Jesus—His death and resurrection—we are not supposed to think, speak, or act in the same way anymore. Let me ask you, is your life in Christ appreciably different from your former life? Can people detect that you are different from the world around you?
Holy living is a very serious thing to our Holy Father. He gave His all so that we could be holy in His sight. Now that He has made us holy, let us pursue holiness realizing that we were redeemed from our former life at countless cost, “with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” (1 Peter 1:19, NASB)
November 14, 2021
In Revelation 18 we see a vision of the coming destruction of Rome (referred to figuratively as “Babylon”). The city had become filled with sensuality, immorality, deceit, arrogance, and self-glorification. Because of this, God was about to bring the city down in fiery judgment. In the vision of coming judgment, John heard a voice from heaven warning the people of God: “Come out of her, my people, so that you will not participate in her sins and receive of her plagues; for her sins have piled up as high as heaven, and God has remembered her iniquities.” (Revelation 18:4-5, NASB)
I think about this verse often, and the words of God often ring out in my mind: Come out of her, my people! Look around. Do you see similarities between our society and that of Rome? Is our society becoming dominated by sensuality, immorality, deceit, and arrogance against God? Aren’t we bombarded by these things on a daily basis? Will God rise up and judge our nation one day? I do not know the plans of God, but I do know that we need to heed His warning: Come out of her, my people! There needs to be a serious effort by each one of us to distance ourselves and create a firewall between ourselves and the ways of the world around us. There is a great danger that we would participate in their sins, and therefore be partakers of their judgment. Of course, this is not to say that we should not befriend and have a great love for people outside of Christ, but we must not participate in the things of this world.
What concrete steps are you taking to come out and be separate? Many of us may need to take a much more radical approach to separate living. Our God is holy, and He expects us to walk in holiness. He called us out of the realm of darkness, and He expects us to be separate from it. He expects us to be different! To be set apart! Let us not participate in the ways of the world. Let us strive for holiness so that no matter what may come, we will stand safely and securely on the side of our God.
— Scott Colvin
November 11, 2016
When children first learn to print, a pattern is placed before them of how the letters are to be formed. They practice forming the letters by copying the pattern. In the process children are transformed from not knowing their letters to knowing and printing them.
Patterns can be transformative. I believe that Christian living is to be transformative. One term that expresses this in the New Testament is sanctification. It can refer to the process of becoming holy as well as the result of becoming holy. Is there a pattern for becoming more holy? Listen to these passages that I think give us the pattern that we are to copy and learn until like the child copying letters it becomes a part of us.
And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.” (Luke 9:23, ESV)
So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. (Romans 6:11 ESV)
For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. (Romans 8:13, ESV)
For the love of Christ controls us, because we have concluded this: that one has died for all, therefore all have died; and he died for all, that those who live might no longer live for themselves but for him who for their sake died and was raised. (2 Corinthians 5:14–15, ESV)
So what is the pattern? When I hear the gospel I learn of the seriousness of my situation as separated from God, but I also learn of God’s love and Christ’s love in the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Prompted by this love, I want to follow him daily. Following him daily means that I will also deny myself and die to myself daily. This self-denial means that I will consider myself dead to sin and I will be working at putting to death the deeds of the body with the help of the Holy Spirit. I will also consider myself alive to God, and I will live for Jesus’ sake. This means putting on the positive qualities that God wants me to have.
- Because of love, I will follow Jesus daily.
- I will deny myself, die to myself daily.
- I will live for God and live for Jesus daily.
- I will rely on the help of the Holy Spirit in this process of sanctification.
When we do this, life will never be the same. This is a transforming pattern.
February 21, 2014
The agenda no doubt was to criticize Jesus. The Pharisees and scribes noticed that Jesus’s disciples failed to wash their hands before a meal. The Mishna recorded the tradition that this ritual required a minimum amount of water equal to the volume of one and half eggs. This was definitely about ritual and not hygiene! Jesus countered with the legal loophole used by the religious leaders for declaring something dedicated to the temple, and so unavailable to be used for the care of aging parents. They were criticizing about a tradition of the elders; he was convicting them about the Law of Moses. (See Matthew 15:1-20.)
Following this exchange, Jesus addressed the crowds with a proverb: “it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person” (Matthew 15:11 ESV). This led his disciples to note the Pharisees were offended by Jesus and to request further explanation of the proverb. Jesus’s reply stressed holiness is developed from the inside out. His reply gives us a glimpse into the habits of holiness.
Be careful with God’s revelation. Jesus noted that the Pharisees were blind guides. If the blind lead the blind, both will fall into the pit. God will uproot what he has not planted. In pursuing holiness and a relationship with God, truth matters.
Be careful what you say. What comes out of our mouths in Jesus’s proverb must refer to what we say. What we say reflects what we are thinking. What we say foreshadows what we will do. The connection between deeds and words is found in Paul’s discussion of sexual immorality and covetousness (Ephesians 5:3-5). Right in the middle of these two themes, Paul warns about the wrong use of words. Some kinds of talk defile. Some kinds of talk sanctify.
Be careful what you think. In Jesus’s explanation of his proverb, he goes further and warns about evil thoughts. Paul also reminds us to think about good and honorable things (Philippians 4:8). Some kinds of thoughts defile. Some kind of thoughts sanctify and make holy.
Although the good news may intervene and change our habits and destiny, God still uses our habits to develop holiness. Someone has wisely said:
Watch your thoughts; they become words.
Watch your words; they become actions.
Watch your actions; they become habits.
Watch your habits; they become character.
Watch your character; it becomes your destiny.