Holy defiled perfected consecrated godly sanctified glorified
Chewing on Meat
The Creator is quoted as exhorting us; “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (I Peter 1:16, Lev 11:44). What does it mean to “be holy”? Would our Creator ask us sincerely to do something that is impossible to do? How does one do what He asked?
Holy in the New Testament is typically translated from Greek, ‘hagios’ (Str 40). According to the Strong’s Lexicon the meaning is “sacred (physically, pure, morally blameless or religious, ceremonially, consecrated):— (most) holy (one, thing), saint”. The epitome of one who is holy is the Creator. "No one is holy like the LORD, For there is none besides You, Nor is there any rock like our God.” (I Sam 2:2) What makes God holy?
Consider what the ancient king of Babylon had to say about the Creator. “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honor the King of heaven, all of whose works are truth, and His ways justice. And those who walk in pride He is able to put down.” (Dan 4:37) Nebuchadnezzar had some very personal dealings with the Creator that left him awestruck. He recognized that the Creator was absolutely just and straightforward in what He did and how He conducted himself.
The Apostle John added to this understanding. “This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1John 1:5) God is Holy, He is also pure light with no darkness. Can you have one (Holy) without the other – pure light?
"And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. (John 3:19)
"For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed. 21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God." (Isa 5:20-21)
Light exposes action and deeds. His Children seek the light. The Creator has nothing to hide. He doesn’t do evil or He would have darkness in Him. Would He be holy still?
Consider the Messiah. What example did He set?
"do you say of Him whom the Father sanctified and sent into the world, ‘You are blaspheming,’ because I said, ‘I am the Son of God’? 37 If I do not do the works of My Father, do not believe Me; but if I do, though you do not believe Me, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in Me, and I in Him." (John 10:36-37)
Jesus indicated the ultimate test as to whether or not He was the child of God was a careful examination of what He did. Specifically, He seems to be talking of His miracles, but if any part of His life did not reflect the Father, wouldn’t the Jews have had cause to doubt?
Consider some of Messiah’s other attributes.
“For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens” (Heb 7:26).
Considering Hebrew parallelism “holy, harmless and undefiled” are all intertwined characteristics. They are not separate or independent of one another. The Greek behind ‘harmless’, ‘akakos’ carries the connotation of being ‘without guile or fraud, free from guilt’ also not distrustful (Online Bible Greek Lexicon). It follows that one who is holy will not be deceptive, nor will he be distrustful without a cause.
The Greek behind ‘undefiled’, ‘amiantos’, carries the thought of being “free from that by which the nature of a thing is deformed and debased, or its force and vigor impaired” (Online Bible Greek Lexicon). Messiah did nothing to weaken or compromise himself. Likely this applied to both His body and His mind.
"And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write, ‘These things says He who is holy, He who is true, "He who has the key of David, He who opens and no one shuts, and shuts and no one opens" (Rev 3:7)
Again we have intertwined characteristics indicating that one who is holy is also true. The meaning of the Greek for ‘true’, ‘alethinos’, indicates “that which has not only the name and resemblance, but the real nature corresponding to the name, in every respect corresponding to the idea signified by the name, real, true genuine”. (Online Bible Greek Lexicon)
Jesus Christ was not only called the Son of God, but also had the nature corresponding to and fitting for that moniker. He was Holy, at least partly, because He conducted Himself as the Holy One did. It was His nature. When scripture talks of the ‘name’ of someone, it is talking of the person, authority and/or reputation, which stands behind that name. The authority or reputation was based on long term performance, i.e., faithfulness, follow through and fulfillment of commitments.
In contrast to the conduct of the Father and Son, consider Lucifer. Lucifer was holy until his pride tarnished him. He became corrupted.
“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect (complete, whole, entire, sound) in your ways from the day you were created, Till iniquity was found in you. 16 By the abundance of your trading You became filled with violence within, And you sinned; Therefore I cast you as a profane thing Out of the mountain of God; And I destroyed you, O covering cherub, From the midst of the fiery stones.” (Eze 28:14-16)
Lucifer was anointed, set apart to the service of the Father. He was cast out when iniquity, sin and corruption were found in him. Sin separates from the Creator (Isa 59:2). It is repugnant to Him.
Holy and Humans
1 Pet 1:15, ‘but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, "Be holy, for I am holy."’
It appears that the Master expects us to be like Him. Our conduct, how we live our lives, is the factor that should be considered.
"A disciple is not above his teacher, but everyone who is perfectly trained will be like his teacher.” (Luke 6:40) Ultimately, we are all being trained by our teacher, the Messiah (Mat 23:8). He wants to train us to be like Him. If that doesn’t happen is that His fault or ours?
‘and he spoke to Korah and all his company, saying, "Tomorrow morning the LORD will show who is His and who is holy, and will cause him to come near to Him. That one whom He chooses He will cause to come near to Him.”’ (Num 16:5)
The Creator ultimately decides who is His and who is not His. We don’t give ourselves the seal of approval. Making our own claim to reverence as sacred to God, doesn’t make it so. Korah claimed to be Holy. In doing so he corrupted himself and proved the opposite.
"Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.” (Mat 7:21)
‘So He said to him, "Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments."’ (Mt 19:17)
Keeping the Commandments, which the context shows to specifically be the Ten Commandments, and doing the will of the Father accomplish the same thing. Logic would then dictate they are the same thing.
There are those who would say that since Messiah did not mention the first four commandments, He did not necessarily support them. This shows a willing ignorance of the culture in which He lived. No Jew of that day would have jumped to that conclusion. Also Messiah would have been content to leave his original answer intact without being more specific. He only detailed some of the commandments at the request of the questioner to make it perfectly clear to which group of commandments He was referring.
“just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, (Eph 1:4) This is a tall order, since He is not ignorant of our actions. There should be no short-changing or pilfering, no taking advantage – the expectation is blameless before Him!
In talking of the body of believers: “…that He might present her to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish” (Eph 5:27). There should be no rough spots, rude remarks or shady dealings.
“…in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight” (Col 1:22). How other people view us is not the focus. Messiah is the one we must please. Hiding things from men is pointless. Believers are to be blameless before Messiah.
“Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. 3 And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure” (I John 3:2-3). The Creator expects us to purge the darkness and clean ourselves as Messiah was pure. We should not claim to be the child of the Creator unless we exemplify the nature of the Creator.
Sometimes it helps to break things into pieces and take a bite at a time. Consider that scripture divides holiness into two aspects, one of the body, physical and one of the spirit, mental. The spirit is the nature or mentality of a person.
‘I will be a Father to you, And you shall be My sons and daughters, Says the LORD Almighty.” Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God”’ (II Cor 6:18-7:1). If there is contamination of the body and/or mind, it should be eliminated. Remove the rottenness & darkness and only light will remain. It was expected that a son or daughter would emulate the parent. If we want to be a child of the Creator, we should act and think accordingly.
“There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world––how she may please her husband” (1 Cor 7:34). The man has these same issues. We have a body and a mind to care for. There is a spirit/mental aspect but also a body/physical aspect. Paul felt that a married person was at a disadvantage. This is certainly something for married people to consider. Are we a distraction or impediment to our mate’s efforts to represent his/her Creator?
“For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Cor 6:20)
Let’s consider the physical aspect first.
“Then the LORD said to Moses, "Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their clothes.” (Ex 19:10) The Hebrew behind consecrate, is ‘qadash’. It includes the thought of, ”to consecrate, sanctify, prepare, dedicate, be hallowed, be holy, be sanctified, be separate” (Online Bible Hebrew Lexicon) Certainly, when we appear in assembly or at other public events we ought to be clean.
“For I am the LORD your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 45 For I am the LORD who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.” (Lev 11:44-45)
Consider the subject of Leviticus 11 before that quote. To this point the whole chapter deals with ‘clean and unclean’ foods, i.e. what the Creator thinks should be eaten and what should not. This seems an obvious part of the physical aspect of holiness based on verse 44 & 45. Actually verse 44 or 45 are likely the source of Peter’s quote that the believer is to be holy. So, from the historical perspective Peter’s statement probably brought to mind first, the need for a proper diet in the minds of anyone familiar with the Hebrew Scriptures.
“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (I Cor 3:16)
We are expected to take care of our bodies. ‘Defiles’ is from the Greek ‘phtheiro’ (Str. 5351). It includes the meaning of ‘to corrupt’ and even ‘to destroy’. The Jews considered the temple was ‘destroyed’ if someone simply neglected their duties. In other words this defiling is somewhat opposite of how Messiah is described in Hebrews 7:26. He was undefiled. He maintained his full force and vigor. The body is defiled if it is not fully functioning as it should be.
It seems apparent that unclean food is unclean, because it corrupts or is potentially corruptive of the body. “Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing.” Is it a surprise that we are what we eat? If what we eat does not promote good health is it a surprise if we become sick? Do we represent the Creator well when we’re sick, when our full force and vigor are impaired?
The December 16, 2008 New York Times reported that New York was considering an 18% ‘obesity tax’ on high sugar content soft drinks and other drinks. Evidence these drinks contribute to obesity and a host of related problems is fairly conclusive. The damage is gradual and there are other factors involved, so people often dismiss the concern for the instant gratification of taste. Unclean foods are not significantly different. Many taste good and the damage is not always obvious immediately. If we wish to represent our Creator we should not be defiling our body, whether quickly or slowly.
The Weston A. Price Foundation (http://www.westonaprice.org/) documents research that was done as far back as the early 1930’s. Dr. Price examined isolated native cultures around the world. He found that when people had sufficient food they were healthy. The diseases and sickness we see in modern society did not exist in these remote cultures. Most of these people did not follow the diet recommended in scripture. Yet they were better off than many in modern societies that seem to follow the biblical diet. Dr. Price traced the problem with modern society to processed foods and high sugar content. The problem is, most of the nutrients are removed from our food. It is defiled. Its full strength eliminated. The Price Foundation studies would indicate that we would be better off eating unprocessed natural foods even in if some is unclean than eating ‘clean’ food that has undergone modern processing. If our food is no longer of full ‘force and vigor’ is it a surprise that those who eat it have their ‘force and vigor impaired’.
A case could be made that the list of unclean foods in Leviticus 11 is woefully out of date. The instruction in the Law of God to ‘be holy’ is not out of date (Ex 22:31). If being holy is taking care of our bodies, as I Corinthians 3:16 indicates and we know processed and sugar filled foods lead to health problems, shouldn’t they be considered unclean too? They defile us just as sure as the creeping things would have defiled ancient Israel. Consider the long term effect of what you eat. Just because it’s not in the unclean list doesn’t mean it supports good health.
Being holy is incompatible with being defiled. Messiah’s example speaks to maintaining the full force and vigor of the body. How successful we might be in this is another matter. It could be argued that the very land from which our food comes is defiled. That shouldn’t prevent us from doing what we can.
Care of the body is definitely part of being holy. It should not be ignored. The kingdom of God though, is not eating and drinking (Rom 14:17). Some things are more important than others. However, even the least of the commandments is important (Mat 15:19). The thoughts and intents of the mind are more important (Mat 15:11). So let’s look at that.
Holy in spirit
“Now therefore, if you will indeed obey My voice and keep My covenant, then you shall be a special treasure to Me above all people; for all the earth is Mine. 6 And you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation…" (Ex 19:5-6)
A priest represents his God. Israel was to be holy, representing the Creator by keeping His covenant. Was that the same kind of holy? Would they be holy like the Creator was holy?
‘And Moses said to the people, "Do not fear; for God has come to test you, and that His fear may be before you, so that you may not sin."’ (Ex 20:20) The Creator considered that this awesome display, reinforced by this instruction was sufficient to prevent sin. If they did not sin, would there be any darkness? Our Creator considered that eliminating sin was a real possibility.
"You should know in your heart that as a man chastens his son, so the LORD your God chastens you. 6 Therefore you shall keep the commandments of the LORD your God, to walk in His ways and to fear Him.” (Deu 8:5-6) The Ten Commandments, His covenant, are the ways of God, the basis on which He conducts His relationships and His life. They are how He thinks and the basis on which He makes His judgments. So it seems that Israel would have been holy just as their Creator was holy if they had followed through with their part of the covenant bargain.
‘They answered and said to Him, "Abraham is our father." Jesus said to them, "If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham”’ (John 8:39). Even so, if we claim the Creator is our Father, we should conduct ourselves as He does. If we can do miracles, great! If not, we can still walk in His ways and evidence His influence, His spirit in us by keeping His commandments.
"But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, 45 that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so? 48 Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect”. (Mat 5:44-48)
The Greek behind ‘perfect’, ‘teleios’ carries with it being “ brought to its end, finished and wanting nothing necessary to completeness”. Consider that the whole purpose of creation is summarized in Genesis 1:26 “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness”. What is important about the Creator? Is it how He looks or how He thinks?
If we have His law written in our heart, if we walk in His ways, we represent Him on earth. Our spirit is one with His spirit, making a complete man. Not that we do everything exactly the way He would do things, but that we do not do things contrary to how He would do them. We will still need to ponder His instruction to better understand how to implement the details. The concept of English ‘perfection’, that something cannot be further improved is not taught in scripture.
In everything ask yourself: “Am I loving my neighbor or myself?” Am I willing to set aside what I think is best for me to help my neighbor? Will I trust the Creator to make it right, if not in this life, then the next? The instruction is not expecting that there can be no further improvement or better execution of conduct, but that your mind thinks like the Creator thinks. Believers help with the necessities of the unjust as well as the just.
"For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will find it.” Faith is required to care for anyone outside your immediate circle, but particularly the unjust at some expense to yourself. Common sense tells us that we need to take care of ourselves first. The Creator says, “No, I’ll take care of you. You represent Me as I have asked.”
There is a significant change of mindset needed to counteract what common sense tells us. "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isa 55:9) Common sense, first is not necessarily very common, but second, is not even close. His ways require an entirely different perspective. That perspective is referred to in Eph 4:22.
“that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.”
The old man is to be dumped by the side of the road. The new man is to continue the journey. This doesn’t indicate a slow process with two steps forward and one back or an agonizing hike to the top of a tall mountain. This change is compared to simply changing one’s clothes. The end result is a person living in true righteousness and holiness, the ultimate creation of God.
Deceitful lusts are a major problem. We use self-deception that results in justifying something that is error, because we want what we want. We think no one will know or everyone else is doing it. ‘The minister said so’ is also a good excuse, so we can abrogate our own responsibility or just be lazy. These things are tricks of the old man.
‘Jesus answered them, "Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin.”’ (John 8:34) “knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin.” (Rom 6:6)
A crucifixion was not an event that took decades. The specific crucifixion Paul is referring to here is more like taking a bath. When we aren’t living to the standard of our Creator we are someone else’s slave. We have some other master, some other god. We are to kill the old man to eliminate his influence, so we no longer do what he did. His problem is especially a desire for things, coupled with a lack of concern for others. These can be eliminated if we know our Creators ways and commit to doing them in spite of the apparent cost to us.
“Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others. 5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus” (Phil 2:3)
We are here for a higher purpose than the pursuit of our own happiness, although happiness and contentment (mental peace) are by-products of that purpose. We are here to demonstrate that the Creator was right in making this world the way He did. He did not make it to function with selfishness, but selflessness. We must have the faith to trust that He knows what He is doing and will make up any loss we seem to suffer. Our own happiness & fulfillment will come automatically as a result. We are representing the Creator of the universe.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self–control. Against such there is no law. 24 And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires” (Gal 5:22-24).
The spirit of God in us brings the light of love, joy and peace, but rejects the darkness of fleshly desires. We crucify the flesh when we trust the Creator to give us what we should have. We are then free to support the noble qualities of the spirit, because we are not trying to protect ourselves. The emotional gimmie’s disappear.
One of the best sermons I’ve heard, I heard on KFWB a local Los Angeles news station. They told of a woman who left around $1000 in cash on a bus in a paper bag. It was her rent money. The bus driver found it and turned it in to his supervisor as lost. Ultimately the woman was reunited with her money. The radio station asked the bus driver why he didn’t keep the money. No one would have known. His answer, “If I didn’t earn it, I don’t want it”. Our attitude should be similar. “If the Creator doesn’t give it to me, it’s not good for me now.”
It is not always easy to distinguish what He gives and what we just want or desire for ourselves. Certainly, if we don’t earn it we shouldn’t think much about it. If you must distort reality, stretch the truth or carefully work the angles to accomplish your purpose, it’s probably not a gift from the Creator. Are you taking advantage of someone else in the course of caring for yourself?
We do need to plan our lives and its necessities. Often we confuse our wants with necessities.
“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.” (Jas 1:17)
“Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, put on tender mercies, kindness, humility, meekness, longsuffering; 13 bearing with one another, and forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do.” (Col 3:12)
Messiah is our judge and avenger. We need to relax and not be so concerned about being slighted by others. We make sure we don’t offend and trust Him to take care of us. Then we don’t have to worry that someone may have done us any significant damage. The saying goes, “God helps those who help themselves”. This is true, but it is probably more true that “God helps those who can’t help themselves”. We do what we can and seek Him for the rest. We especially don’t worry about revenge or holding grudges.
There is plenty in the New Testament that helps us better understand how to be like our Creator. For the most part the New Testament was all originally spoken or written to people thoroughly educated in the Law. To fully understand what Messiah said to His contemporaries it especially helps to be steeped in the covenant of Exodus 20-23. That instruction, tells us more than is usually noticed in a gloss reading. It gives special insight into the mind of the Creator so we can press our own mind into His shape. None of this instruction requires the existence of Levi or the temple or animal sacrifices, so we don’t have to guess how to compensate for their loss. Everything is concerned with showing concern for one another and the Creator.
The Ten Commandments would have made Israel Holy if they had kept them (Ex 19:6). There are judgments that were given to Israel after the commandments were given (Ex 21:1). A judgment is a ruling based on prior law. The prior law is the Ten Commandments. So all the judgments add detail and tell us how to better understand the full intention of the Ten Commandments.
For instance: “If you buy a Hebrew servant, he shall serve six years; and in the seventh he shall go out free and pay nothing. 3 If he comes in by himself, he shall go out by himself; if he comes in married, then his wife shall go out with him. 4 If his master has given him a wife, and she has borne him sons or daughters, the wife and her children shall be her master’s, and he shall go out by himself.” (Ex 21:2-4)
This doesn’t seem to have anything to do with us. Slavery is illegal in the Western world. Aren’t we all free men?
“For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave” (I Cor 7:22).
Actually a believer is not really a free man. A believer claims to willingly follow the Messiah and serve His cause. The Creator’s way does bring true freedom, but to have that freedom the believer must give up his own way of doing things. He is a servant of Messiah, but willingly. So how does Exodus 21:4 apply to believers today?
Is there anything more personal that a man can do above engendering his child? Consider that the child engendered by a slave was not the slave’s, if the master supplied the wife. It was as if the master engendered the child. The slave was the property of the master working with the tools of the master on the master’s time. The slave was representing and working on behalf of the master. The product the slave produced was the masters. Certainly if this included the slave’s child everything the slave did was as if the master did it himself.
In the same way, everything a believer does is a reflection of our Master and is as if He did it. Do we please our Master or shame Him? Mahatma Gandhi is purported to have said “I like your Christ; I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”
If we claim to be followers of Messiah, but do not conduct ourselves as He taught and expects, our conduct is attributed to Him and we bring shame on Him. Instead of attracting people to the Creator, they are repulsed.
As servants of Messiah, our actions belong to Messiah and the Father. “For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1 Cor 6:20)
Gedadiah Alon in his book Jews in their Land in the Talmudic Age, tells of some men that attacked a city. The men were recognized as slaves. The Roman magistrate wrote to his superior about this. "I know that they are few, but they are supported by many more, and paid by the powerful…I know that most of them are slaves: that is why their masters are blamed." (Pg 399) The masters were blamed for the actions of their slaves. The slaves were simply the tool of the masters.
If we are a servant of someone we are to focus on what they would have us do. We are their tool. Everything we do reflects on our Master and should be done according to His will and His authority. Is He pleased or embarrassed with our conduct? Do we show our Master to be a sinner?
The judgments given with the Ten Commandments require careful thought to extract the full meaning and implication. This instruction + the awesome display on Sinai could have kept Israel sin free. We don’t typically have a background steeped in the Hebrew Scriptures as Messiah’s audience was. The rest of the Law along with the New Testament instruction is vital to extracting the full intent. We need the Law, Prophets and the New Testament instruction to properly build on the foundation of Exodus 20-23. It all must be brought together to help us understand His mind.
“Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double–minded. 9 Lament and mourn and weep! Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. 10 Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.” (Jas 4:8-10)
We can’t assume we know. We must be open to suggestion and the word of God. There is none so blind as he who will not see. Arrogance blinds. The believer must always be open to alternatives and better understanding. We don’t own the truth. We just seek it. It shouldn’t really matter to us what the truth is.
We must cleanse ourselves and prove we will obey before our Creator will commit the Helper to us. The Helper is a helper, not a fixer. The Master doesn’t force us into anything, but rather wants us to willingly do His will. Then we will be in His image.
"And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him." (Acts 5:32)
“But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him. 6 He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked.” (I John 2:5)
The Greek behind ‘perfected’, ‘teleioo’, means “to carry through completely, to accomplish, finish, bring to an end”.
In my informal discussions, even those who claim to respect the law of God, still acknowledge sinning. They think there is no other option. If we’re walking as He walked, how can we be sinning? Did He?
I John 3:8 "He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy (Str. 3089) the works of the devil”.
Sin and righteousness are not compatible. Messiah intended to destroy any vestige of what the devil did. Destroy in verse 8 is Greek ‘luo’. The primary meaning is ‘to loose any person (or thing) tied or fastened’. The intent is that Messiah will break the cords that tie us to sin, so we are free from it.
Mat 26:28 "For this is My blood of the new covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.”
This is exactly what Messiah intended with the New Covenant. Remission is Greek ‘aphesis’ (Str. 859). The primary meaning is: “release from bondage or imprisonment”.
Most Christians will find it hard to believe that believers do not sin. Because Christians sin and everybody else they know sins… and they are ‘Christian’, certainly they have not been deceived. Many assume that everyone will regularly sin. Some think John directly said they do. We’ll look at that, but first, examine carefully what he says in I John 3:6. “Whoever abides in Him does not sin…” Believers do not do sin (See also verse 9).
Many will quote I John 1:8 as evidence that we all sin. “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us”. This understanding seems at odds with much of I John 3. The real understanding of what is being said is found in the immediate context. Consider the previous verse, :7 "But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." Does the Creator sin? Of course not. If we walk in the light as He does neither do we. That is what it takes to have real fellowship with Him. He then cleans up our past sins. As it turns out verse 7 and verse 8 are talking to two different audiences.
It is possible a believer might sin. It is exceptional, not the rule. “…And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous” (I John 2:1def). ‘If’ indicates a possibility, not even a likelihood. John uses ‘if’ not ‘when’. He assumes no sin, but allows it as a possibility.
IF anyone sins, or on the rare occasion when a believer does sin, our High Priest can intercede for us with the Father. All sin is against the Father. He set the guidelines of what is proper and what is not. Fortunately, the New Covenant is administered differently than the covenant made at Sinai. The default penalty is not death for the sinner. However, Messiah decides who is compliant with the New Covenant. It is with those who have His nature.
At this point some may be completely nonplused and think they can never attain to what John affirms in 1 John 3:6. Don’t give up so quickly. One of the reasons people believe we all sin is because we’ve always been told that in this life we will always sin. As long as we believe that, it will certainly be true. It is a self-fulfilling prophesy. Likely the same people that tell us that, tell us other things about the word of God that have proven incorrect.
If we understand that sin can be eliminated, then we can diligently seek to understand how. If we don’t understand it can be eliminated, we won’t bother looking for a way to do it. If we think sin is as sure as death and taxes, we won’t work very hard to find out how to avoid it. In fact we come to tolerate sin. The Creator is repulsed by it (Isa 59:2).
It is the Father’s will that we join Him in His kingdom (Luke 12:32). He wants to help. He will help us in this matter just as He enables us to escape other problems (1Cor 10:13). We’re not likely to seek the escape hatch if we don’t think it exists. Understanding the problem is often half of the solution.
Children need to be encouraged and cheered when they take their first step or catch their first ball. We don’t expect them to provide for themselves and function properly in society their first year of life. Over time though things change and they are expected to step up to responsible adulthood. Messiah has been leading us all along this same journey, but He is directing us toward the spiritual adulthood. The yardstick of spiritual is the adulthood of the Father. We’ve been surviving on milk long enough. Messiah’s selfless example has been given to us. It’s time to step up to His example and start a diet of meat.
It can be done. We can be holy as He is holy. He would not have asked us to do that if it were impossible. We need to think seriously about how we relate to our Creator and our neighbor. Be concerned not only for our own interests, but for the interests of others. This applies to little things as much as, probably even more than, big things. (John 13:34) "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.”
Was it new that Messiah instructed them to love one another? Leviticus 19:18 tells us to love our neighbor as our self. So that part of Messiah’s instruction was not new. However, that was not all he said. “…as I have loved you, that you also love one another“. Ponder the selflessness of our Messiah. He expects us to be similarly inclined to one another. Trust Him to take care of you. He wasn’t focused on the enticements of this life, but on promoting the Father, His original creation plan and redeeming us from destruction. Help and look out for one another.
We cannot become complacent with darkness, but seek the light and do those things with which our Master will be pleased. There is something better than life with regrets available. He is a rewarder of those that diligently seek Him. We can be freed from the law of sin that gives the pulls of the flesh dominance over what our spirit knows is right.
Luke 12:43 "Blessed is that servant whom his master will find so doing when he comes. 44 Truly, I say to you that he will make him ruler over all that he has.”
Give up the regrets for a lasting prize.
Phil 1:6 “being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
Why have people generally not overcome the law of sin ‘till now? What is it that is not understood? Likely, our relationship with money, sex and/or a desire for things is the problem. The problems associated with these matters typically boil down to some form of lust. We want what we want. Scripture is the attempt of the Creator to teach us to diligently seek Him and become like Him. Perhaps those living in our culture and circumstance might benefit from certain aspects of His word being highlighted. With that thought in mind, CreatorsCovenant has produced a document that attempts to focus on solutions for modern failures and misunderstanding. We are not thinking that we can improve on the record the Creator left us, but attempt to focus on subtle things and a few not so subtle things that might make a difference. See Cease from Sin.