Grace & Holiness. 19/2/17
A Message by Pastor Bill Page, Living Light Gospel Church, Cairns.
Grace & holiness… we need both and I must fulfill my responsibilities to you through the Lord.
John 1:17 “For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” “Truth” must always accompany “grace”.
Ephesians 1:7-8a “In the ages to come (our time) He might show the exceeding riches of His grace… for by grace you have been saved through faith.”
The life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is the pivot-point of all history. Now, “all things are made new”. No longer do we approach God through the keeping of the law. Because of Jesus, the way is open to all men, women and children; right into the presence of our Heavenly Father, and He could not have demonstrated this in a more powerful way than, at the exact time that Jesus died on the cross, He tore the temple curtain in half “from top to bottom” (Matthew 27:57) opening the way into the previously forbidden “holy of holies”. Now through Christ, that is where we all belong! “Grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
No matter what you have done or where you have been, the way is open. Come home to your Heavenly Father.
Our salvation happens the moment we repent of our sin and receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour. But our “sanctification”; literally “growing in holiness”; is a life-long process. When we receive Jesus Christ as our Saviour we enter into a love relationship with Him, and when you love somebody, you want to live in such a way that pleases them. Certainly we are “saved by grace” but that is only the starting point. Now we must build a life of increasing “sanctification” or holiness.
Ephesians 1:3-6 It is because we have already received “adoption as sons” and daughters “that we should be holy and without blame.”
Hebrews 12:12-17 We have an enemy (Satan) who is committed to keeping you in sin and bondage and out of the Kingdom of God so we must be strong!
Verse 13-14: “Make straight paths for your feet so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.” Like the man on the temple steps (Acts 3:1-8) we were “lame”; lost in sin and unable to function the way that God has designed us to, and God’s desire is not that you continue in the “lameness” of a life lived without Him, being “dislocated (separated) altogether… but rather be healed.” Take His hand and allow Him to heal you and lift you up! So, “make straight paths for your feet”, avoiding any “dislocation” and “pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord.” This makes “holiness” critically important!
Matthew 5:8 Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
Hebrews 12:15 Grace and holiness are inseparable. “Looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God.” It is only by receiving and understanding the true nature of the grace of God that we live a life of increasing holiness.
Holiness is not just an absence of sin but an attitude of the heart. We don’t approach it through the law but by grace.
So as we build a lifestyle of holiness, we turn away from any “bitterness” towards others.
Deuteronomy 29:18 “Wormwood” is a bitter tasting, poisonous plant.
Hebrews 12:16-17 As we are urged to grow in holiness, we are reminded about the dangers of sexual sin and being “profane” (Godless) because, as we see the example of Esau, there will come a “cut-off point”. Even though Esau “wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.” “It was too late for repentance, even though he wept bitter tears.” NLT
Just like the people in Noah’s time, locked out of the ark; their only means of salvation, Jesus said that this is exactly what will happen when He returns. (Matthew 24:35-39).
Why would the Lord give us this Old Testament example of Esau here in the New Testament, after the life and death of Jesus, and the “new covenant” that we have through His body and His blood? Because you and I represent Him in this fallen and sin-damaged world we are called to reveal Jesus everywhere we go, through love, grace, mercy and forgiveness for all people and by also living a life of increasing holiness ourselves so that we will not be locked out of our “inheritance” and that our witness in the world will be “unshakable”.
We receive our salvation through grace but we make our “inheritance” sure through our “sanctification”.
So how do we do it?
- Open your heart and life to Him.
- Turn away (repent) from sin.
- Grow in your relationship with Him through His word, prayer, worship and fellowship.
- “Be filled with the Holy Spirit”.
- Allow Jesus to guide you and lead you every day.
It is not about works of the law. As we “grow in grace” we will also grow in holiness. 1 Peter 1:13-16