Holiness: A Glorious Expression of God's Love
“But now we are released from the law, having died to that which held us captive, so that we serve in the new way of the Spirit and not in the old way of the written code.“ (Romans 7:6, ESV) “For the law of the Spirit of life has set you[b] free in Christ Jesus from the law of sin and death.”(Romans 8:2, ESV). These verses speak of the blessedness of the liberty believers possess by means of their union with the Lord Jesus Christ. I thank God that we are not bound by many of the Old Testament ritual regulations. It is important to study about these in order to learn the spiritual truths they convey, for they portray glorious truths about God’s holiness, His mercy, and our desperate need to have Him give us a new nature by means of His Spirit indwelling us and empowering to live in a manner that pleases Him. However, we must never forget the freedom that Christ bought for us on the cruel cross of Calvary.
Freedom is something that most every person craves. However, all types of freedom are not equal. There is a freedom that unregenerated people desire that will allow them to do whatever they want to do, whenever they want to do it, and it does not matter who gets inconvenienced for damaged by such freedom. This is NOT the freedom that Christ gives. Others who seek freedom don’t want a freedom that allows them to hurt others, but they desire a freedom that allows them to do whatever they want to do, even if it harms themselves. This is not the freedom that Christ has called the believer to enjoy.
So, what is the freedom that Christ has come to give us? It is freedom to live in a manner that pleases God. Before a Christian enters into a saving relationship with Jesus Christ he or she has a will that is in bondage to the flesh. This person has no concern for obeying God. This one may experience negative consequences for ungodly behavior and may become frustrated by all the negative consequences of such behavior, but this one will not stop the behavior. Why? Because the mind that is fleshly (unconverted, carnal, unrighteous) cannot love God or His standards of holiness. Such a person is irked by God’s commands and sees them as restrictive. Such a person wants to know why God does not want him to pursue premarital or extramarital sexual relationships, why does God want to put restrictions on what one watches on the big screen or little screen, why one should use discretion in the music one listens to, or why does God not deem it permissible to read racy material.
First of all, if one professes to be a follower of Christ and one is constantly asking these questions I wonder if such a one is truly converted. However, there are believers who have been reared in legalistic environments that constantly emphasized rules over relationship with Christ. It is not uncommon for one to go overboard in minimizing God’s laws in such situations. On the other hand, we must remember that the Spirit filled life will look like the law filled life. The Spirit will enable us to live in a manner that God prescribes. A Christianity that only emphasizes God’s willingness to forgive and that does not emphasize the Holy Spirit’s power to help the believer walk in holiness is very dangerous for it does not encourage growth in holiness that leads to a wholesome and healthy life for one’s mental, spiritual and physical components.
God loves His people passionately. In Zephaniah 3: 17 we read, The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; He will rejoice over you with gladness; He will quiet you by his love; He will exult over you with loud singing. (ESV). God passionately loves His people. The marriage sexual relationship is to be one that depicts God’s faithful, holy, and passionate love He has for His people. When His people watch steamy loves scenes on the big or little screen, they are not only making a mockery of God’s holy standards, but they are also weakening their view of God’s holy and passionate love for them. The fallen world system in which we live has its own “gospel, by which it claims to be able to set us free. However, its way of living leads to death by means of disease, disillusionment, frustration, and bondage. God’s way of living leads us to fulfillment, peace of mind, wholesomeness and healthiness. Choose today which freedom you will pursue – the false freedom of doing your own thing in your own way, or submission to the King of the Universe, the Lord Jesus Christ.