Share His Holiness – 2

Holiness

A few posts back, I spent some time in Hebrews 12:10. considering the benefits of patience.

I’ve been a believer for well nigh onto 4 decades and the phrase “share his holiness” in Hebrew 12:10 somewhat caught me off guard. I must have read it dozens of times, and yet it jumped off the page this time.

Hebrews 12:9-11

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

What is tarnation is this holiness.  That “thing” we considered in our previous post that we are to receive, take, and have a right to?
I kinda understand the Bible to teach two truths about holiness.

Absolute Holiness – A State of Being for the Believer

1 Peter 2:9

But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.

We are a holy nation, having been set apart for service to the Master. This is what I am calling Absolute Holiness. Check out the cool graph below – and yes I think graphs are cool – I s’pose my geekiness is starting to ooze out in this post.

This Absolute Holiness is expressed by the yellow flat line residing at 100, and is the condition we, as believers find ourselves in. Peter describes it as being a citizen of a country – it is not a commentary of behavior (since there can be bad citizens and good citizens), so much as a privilege to accept and live up to. It is a condition that has been provided to us and is not dependent on our actions or obedience. His death and resurrection supplied this blessing to all who believe.

In a sense, it is the goal for which we strive, knowing that it is not only attainable (some day) but it is also the life to which we are called to.

Experiential Holiness – A Goal to Chase for the Believer

1 Peter 1:15-16

but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Experiential holiness is a different animal. It is a command to the believer, not a statement of fact.
As a believer walks with the Lord, confessing his sin, and obeying the Master, his experiential holiness increases daily. The jagged solid blue line on my fancy graph below typifies 50 yrs of a believer’s sanctification. All through his journey with Jesus, he has had some victories and some defeats.
Some years, like his 27 and 28th year, this believer was experientially walking like the world, being dominated by the flesh and the devil. He was in rebellion, and some folk that knew him at that time felt he may have fallen away.
Repentance and renewal came for him in the 28th year, and he again began to seek the Lord, confess his sin and obey what he knew would please the Lord.

Progressive Holiness

I think this graph, if it portrays the Bible’s teaching on holiness correctly, shows the importance of keeping short accounts with the Lord. Continuously responding to the Lords urging and recognizing sin in our lives will produce the type of growth in holiness seen in the first 20 yrs of the believer typified on the graph.

The graph identifies points of repentance in the believers life. Each valley in the graph above is a point of decision, a decision to repent of an action or attitude. Each peak is a point of rebellion in the believers life.

Strive For Peace

Each day in a believers life is to be a life of repentance from dead works. While on this earth, we cannot attain to a sinlessly pure and absolutely clean lifestyle, thought life and emotional existence. Our hearts desire it, but we are in a struggle. A struggle/striving to receive the holiness of God in our lives through staying under the discipline of God.

Don’t give up in your struggle.  Strive for peace and holiness.  They are both goals to be sought for in our travelling with the Lord.

Hebrews 12:14

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.


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Share His Holiness – 1

HolinessMy last post, I spent some time in Hebrews 12:10. considering the benefits of patience.

I’ve been a believer for well nigh onto 4 decades and the phrase “share his holiness” somewhat caught me off guard.  I must have read it dozens of times, and yet it jumped off the page this time.

Hebrews 12:9-11

9 Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?

10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

To Share His Holiness.

First off. lets consider what this sharing issue is.

The word translated “to share his” is metalambánō.  I found a word study  that seems to help.

  • 3335 metalambánō
  • from 3326 /metá, “change after being with,”
  • and 2983 /lambánō, “aggressively take or receive” –
    • properly, to lay hold of with initiative which prompts “a change afterward,” i.e. to show real interest which brings certain change.

This term is found in seven verses within the New Testament.  Lets take a quick look.

Act 2:46

And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts,

The believers took food into thier bodies, consumed the bread, ate the grub, internalized the material.  They chewed it, experienced it, took it for thier own.

Act 24:25

And as he reasoned about righteousness and self-control and the coming judgment, Felix was alarmed and said, “Go away for the present. When I get an opportunity I will summon you.”

Felix was in command of the situation.  He would decide when to summon Paul.  He was in control of this prisoner and, possibly in his mind, in control of the message (Not really!)

Act 27:33

As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing.

Same concept as Acts 2:40, only in the negative – they hadn’t taken any food.

Act 27:34

Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.”

Golly, this term is used alot in reference to gulpin’ food stuff into the machine.

2Ti 2:6

It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops.

Paul is simply setting priorities and making the observation that the farmer has a right to the first crops.  This idea of “a right” is interesting.  Could this term have the connotation of a right, and if so, how does that impact the verse we care considering?

Heb 6:7

For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.

What is the blessing that the land takes/receives?  Not sure that it is important in this study, but it is a curious statement, and makes me want to figger what that blessing is. Someone help me with this???

Heb 12:10

For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness.

Back to our original verse.

The term “share” in our verse is sometimes translated as take, receive, or even more interesting “ought to receive”, implying a right.

As believers this verse holds much promise.  Under the discipline of God, one of the intended outcomes is that we “ought to receive” His holiness.

Do I get this?  The aim of Godly discipline, if we are patient and stay under the discipline,  is that I have a right to receive holiness from the Lord.  I understand this as an experiential holiness, a holiness that a believer walks in, is part of his life and can be seen by others.

Check out the next blog to find out where I’m going with this.


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Christian Cloning

SteveTaylor-IWantToBeACloneI was waiting for my son this afternoon and popped in a tune by Steven Taylor.

It is a freaky song and I really like the lyrics – so much so that I am gonna let you read what I’m talking about.


 
I WANT TO BE A CLONE –  by Steven Taylor

 I’d gone through so much other stuff
That walking down the aisle was tough
But now I know it’s not enough,
I want to be a clone

I asked, the Lord into my heart,
Christian-clonesthey said that was the way to start
But now you’ve got to play the part,
I want to be a clone
 
Be a clone and kiss conviction, goodnight
Cloneliness is next to Godliness, right
I’m grateful that they show the way ’cause I could never know
The way to serve Him on my own,

I want to be a clone
They told me that I’d fall away unless I followed what they say
Who needs the Bible anyway,
I want to be a clone

oblivion-cloneTheir language, it was new to me
but Christianese got through to me
Now, I can speak it fluently,
I want to be a clone

Be a clone and kiss conviction, goodnight
Cloneliness is next to Godliness, right
I’m grateful that they show the way ’cause I could never know
The way to serve Him on my own,
I want to be a clone

Send in the clones,

I kind of wanted to tell my friends And people about it, you know,
what You’re still a baby, you have to grow, give it twenty years or so
‘Cause if you want to be one of his you gotta act like one of us

Be a clone and kiss conviction, goodnight

Cloneliness is next to Godliness, right
I’m grateful that they show the way ’cause I could never know
The way to serve Him on my own, I want to be a clone

So now I see the whole design,
my church is an assembly line
The parts are there, I’m feeling fine,
I want to be a clone I’ve learned enough to stay afloat
but not so much, I rock the boat
I’m glad they shoved it down my throat,
I want to be a clone

Everybody must get cloned


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Oh, The Deep Love of Jesus

A simply beautiful hymn performed beautifully.  Rejoice in the love of Jesus.  Follow the link below to be blessed.

Thank you  Antidote! ‘Oh, the Deep Love of Jesus’ — Lee Duigon  for posting such a beautiful piece of music


 

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God & Clouds

Clouds 2

Clouds

Clouds are complex.  The range of impact on our lives goes from supplying some shade from the noon day sun, and the ever desired gentle rain, to wreaking havoc by delivering hurricane type destruction.

I think it is so also in the Scriptures.  Why is this a topic today?

During services one morning, we sang the following song, and it got me to thinking.

The song goes like this…

These are the days of Elijah
Declaring the word of the Lord, yeah
And these are the days of Your servant Moses
Righteousness being restored
These are the days of great trials
Of famine and darkness and sword
Still we are the voice in the desert crying
Prepare ye the way of the Lord!
Say, behold He comes, riding on the clouds…..

My  question is … when Jesus says He is “coming on the clouds”, is that a good thing or a bad thing?

Coming on the CloudsClouds 3

What is the context in the New Testament to this phrase “coming on the clouds”?

Is there some Old Testament background that might give us some understanding?

A passage that comes to mind when associating clouds with God is Isaiah 19:1

Isaiah 19:1

An oracle concerning Egypt.
Behold, the LORD is riding on a swift cloud
and comes to Egypt;
and the idols of Egypt will tremble at his presence,
and the heart of the Egyptians will melt within them.

An additional passage that associates clouds with judgement on Israel.

Lamentations 2:1

How the Lord in his anger
has set the daughter of Zion under a cloud!
He has cast down from heaven to earth
the splendor of Israel;
he has not remembered his footstool
in the day of his anger.

A number of times in the minor prophets,  clouds are associated with judgement on Israel.

Joel 2:2

a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness!
Like blackness there is spread upon the mountains
a great and powerful people;
their like has never been before,
nor will be again after them
through the years of all generations.

Nahum 1:3

The LORD is slow to anger and great in power,
and the LORD will by no means clear the guilty.
His way is in whirlwind and storm,
and the clouds are the dust of his feet.

Zepheniah 1:15

A day of wrath is that day,
a day of distress and anguish,
a day of ruin and devastation,
a day of darkness and gloom,
a day of clouds and thick darkness,

The reason I am writing is due to this seeming conflict.

When Jesus said He would be  “coming with the clouds” should we rejoice or shudder.

What was Jesus referring to when He made that statement.  Many believers think He was referring to Daniel 7:13.

But golly gee willikers, this could not be describing His glorious return to earth as many in the modern church think.  The verse speaks of the Son of Man coming TO the Ancient of Days!

Daniel 7:13

“I saw in the night visions,
and behold, with the clouds of heaven
there came one like a son of man,
and he came to the Ancient of Days
and was presented before him.

Of course His return is a Day that a true believer waits on, but is it ever described as Him “coming on the clouds”?

If Daniel 7:13 is describing the ascension, Jesus use of it clearly signaled to the Jewish leadership His claim to Messiahship, and the ability to come in judgement upon sinful nations.  The phrase “coming in the clouds” is found fours times in the New Testament, as seen below.

Matthew 24:30

Then will appear in heaven the sign of the Son of Man, and then all the tribes of the earth will mourn, and they will see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven with power and great glory.

Matthew 26:64

Jesus said to him, “You have said so. But I tell you, from now on you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.”

Mark 13:26

And then they will see the Son of Man coming in clouds with great power and glory.

Mark 14:62

And Jesus said, “I am, and you will see the Son of Man seated at the right hand of Power, and coming with the clouds of heaven.”

All of these verses have the context of judgement.

Paul refers to clouds once in his epistles and is referring to being joined with the dead in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air.

It’s funny – I hadn’t noticed this before, but this verse doesn’t link the Lord with the clouds necessarily.  The clouds are the place for the “living” saints to join the “dead” saints, and then meeting the Lord in the air (not the clouds?)

1 Thessalonians 4:17

Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we will always be with the Lord.

I wonder – Does the prophet Amos have something to say to us?

Amos 5:18

Woe to you who desire the day of the LORD!
Why would you have the day of the LORD?
It is darkness, and not light,

Let us always remember who the Lord is.  Let us not presume upon the kindness and mercy of God, and forget the utter awesomeness of the triune God in His return for His people.


I do hope you will supply comment or correction from the Word for our mutual edification.

If you read something in this discussion that concerns you, please take the time to send me your comments or reply within the post. I look forward to hearing from you.

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C.S. Lewis on Church Attendance

CSLewis 2I was surfing the internet a few nights back and as it got later in the evening, I tripped over a quote attributed to C.S. Lewis, which was supposedly found in his autobiography.

His opinion on church attendance is revolutionary, rebellious (?) and reassuring (to me at least, since it seems to echo with my sentiments.)

It goes as follows….

The idea of churchmanship was to be wholly unattractive. I was not in the least anticlerical, but I was deeply antiecclesiastical.

…But though I liked clergymen as I liked bears, I had as little wish to be in the Church as in the zoo.

It was, to begin with, a kind of collective; a wearisome “get-together” affair. I couldn’t yet see how a concern of that sort should have anything to do with one’s spiritual life. To me, religion ought to have been a matter of good men praying alone and meeting by twos and threes to talk of spiritual matters.

And then the fussy, time-wasting botheration of it all! The bells, the crowds, the umbrellas, the notices, the bustle, the perpetual arranging and organizing. Hymns were (and are) extremely disagreeable to me. Of all musical instruments I liked (and like) the organ least. I have, too, a sort of spiritual gaucherie which makes me unapt to participate in any rite.

This is an amazing quote!

What think ye?


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Godly Intimidation

bad-teaching-methodsHow doth thee teach?

A short while ago, I attended a small Bible class, with a teacher and four students in attendance. The topic is of little consequence since the manner of discussion is the topic of this post.

Prior to the formal teaching portion, the teacher and a student were discussing racism and prejudice, and the feelings that the student was experiencing regarding personal interactions with a race not her own. The discussion elevated to the point where the teacher warned the student that if she refused to change her feelings, she would have to leave the classroom. The student (I think) simply regarded the threat as a hollow remark and mentioned the topic again, stating she feels a certain way. Again, the teacher threatened the student that she would have to leave his class.

animated gifAt this point I shut down. I stayed in the class since a good friend asked me to come, and I didn’t want to create more friction, but I was dumbfounded.

And I thought of 2 Timothy 2:24.

 2 Timothy 2:24

And the servant of the Lord must not strive; but be gentle unto all men, apt to teach, patient, (KJV)

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (ESV)

And the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, (NET)

And I considered what was driving this teacher to feel so threatened by honest discussion. I have had a few conversations with this teacher previously and he seems sincere and desirous of pleasing the Lord. I have noticed though, that when challenged on certain teachings, he depends heavily on teaching he has heard from professional Christians over the radio or internet, or from books (other than the Bible) that he has read.

I feel this student may have been opening a door to honest discussion, and a possible venture into a specific focused consideration of what the Bible has to say about racism, judgement and forgiveness.

As the verse states, the servant of the Lord should be kind, able to teach, and patient. Alas, the class experienced anger, condemnation and impatience from the teacher.

Chirping Crickets

At the end of the class, when asked if anyone had any questions, it was not surprising to hear the crickets chirping.

Not these Crickets!

Since then, as I have thought about this experience, I seem to be drawn to another passage in the New Testament that may be applicable.

Luke 9:51-56

And it came to pass, when the time was come that he should be received up, he stedfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem,

And sent messengers before his face: and they went, and entered into a village of the Samaritans, to make ready for him.

And they did not receive him, because his face was as though he would go to Jerusalem.

And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?

But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.

For the Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them. And they went to another village.

They did not receive Him.

Why did the Samaritans not receive Him? The Samaritans came about due to the splitting of the theocracy after Solomon’s time, and to keep the people of the northern tribes happy, established a temple and had their own “expectations”.

When the two messengers (the Greek word is “angelos”) went ahead into the Samaritan villages to prepare for the Messiahs arrival, the Samaritans rejected Him. Why? Because His face was set to go to Jerusalem.

But the true temple, according to the Samaritans, was at Mount Gerizim. If Jesus is going to walk through Samaria, (which He was planning on) surely He intends to validate the Samaritans beliefs. Visit the temple and congratulate the Samaritans on their achievements? Who know what the Samaritans were expecting. But they didn’t want to see the Master go to the competition temple – that is for sure.

I found a list practical applications for this concept while ruminating in an old commentary, called Barnes’ notes on the Bible.

  1. That people wish all the teachers of religion to fall in with their own views.

  2. That if a doctrine does not accord with their selfish desires, they are very apt to reject it.

  3. That if a religious teacher or a doctrine favors a rival sect, it is commonly rejected without examination. And,

  4. That people, from a regard to their own views and selfishness, often reject the true religion, as the Samaritans did the Son of God, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

All of these truths I have experienced internally for years, and still struggle with. I suppose the point I identify most with is number 3. I mentioned on the “About” page of my own struggles with considering alternative teaching. I confess that this decision brought many challenges and doubts, but also expanded my understanding of the message of the Bible!

So what did the disciples do about the Samaritans reaction to the Master? The natural, normal, easy thing to do! Lets kill em! Let’s just shower fire down on these Samaritans. That will teach them! Condemning others based on their beliefs is natural. It is the normal condition we humans find ourselves in. It is not the lowest level we dip to but the normal reaction of our heart towards others. It is easy.

Jesus rebuked them, stating that the disciples didn’t understand the spirit they were of.

The disciples thought they were engaging in religious zealotry, like the prophet Elijah. Jesus informed them they were not following after the spirit of the Master, but reflecting a spirit of destruction.

The disciples were completely confused. I suppose they hadn’t had a chance to read and understand the apostle Paul’s instructions!

And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil, (ESV)

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