Importance of Holiness
Being sure of your salvation
Can we be sure of our salvation and rejoice in the Lord of our salvation? Yes, absolutely! But first we must know where we stand with God, and what is required of us. What does God require of us ? To walk in the light and have fellowship with one another:
But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
He that saith he is in the light, and hateth his brother, is in darkness even until now. He that loveth his brother abideth in the light, and there is none occasion of stumbling in him. But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.
It is my belief that to have fellowship with one another refers to fellowship in our hearts with one another, which requires us to love one another as Christ loved us, and not fall into unforgiveness in our heart against one another. If we do these two things, the Blood of Christ will continually wash us clean as we make mistakes and fail at times in our walk with Christ. Jesus made it very clear that we are to have our feet washed by Him, which means that our walk with Him will need to be cleansed from our mistakes and failures along the way. But Jesus is willing to do this for us if we will walk in the light and love one another. Jesus said that it is necessary that our feet be washed, or else we have no part in the kingdom of God:
He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a basin, and began to wash the disciples' feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded. Then cometh he to Simon Peter: and Peter saith unto him, Lord, dost thou wash my feet? Jesus answered and said unto him, What I do thou knowest not now; but thou shalt know hereafter. Peter saith unto him, Thou shalt never wash my feet. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me. Simon Peter saith unto him, Lord, not my feet only, but also my hands and my head. Jesus saith to him, He that is washed needeth not save to wash his feet, but is clean every whit: and ye are clean, but not all.
Jesus goes on to say afterwards, that if He needs to wash our feet, then we also need to wash each other's feet. This means that if Jesus needs to forgive us as we make mistakes, then we need to forgive our brethren as they too make mistakes.
If I then, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet; ye also ought to wash one another's feet.
Paul also tells us to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh (see Romans 8). Even Paul made mistakes and failed at times ; he made this clear when he said, " That which I do not, that I do" (See Romans 7:15). Paul realized that even he failed at times in his walk with Christ, but he got back up, dusted himself off, and continued to walk in the Spirit. Shall we continue in sin ? According to Romans 6:1-2, God forbid ! Is sin a light-hearted thing that we shouldn't be serious about turning from? Absolutely not! If we continue in sin, then it becomes our master and we will die spiritually:
What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid. Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
The Bible clearly states that grace is no opportunity to the flesh:
For, brethren, ye have been called unto liberty; only use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.
On the other hand, are we to feel condemned each time we fail ? Absolutely not ! Simply turn from your mistake and trust the Blood of Christ to wash it away. God's Word is clear that His mercy towards those who fear ( love and respect ) Him is as great as the heavens are above the earth !
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.
Now please understand that there are many cases where a person can be in bondage to pornography, lust, anger, etc. due to a spiritual bondage in their life. This can cause the person to repeatedly fall into the sin, no matter how hard they try to stay away. The temptation is overwhelming, because something on the inside is driving them to fail (not forcing them, but driving or pressuring them). In such cases, do not feel condemned, but know that Jesus is ready to forgive you over and over again (see Matthew 18:21-22) providing that you are not using this bondage as an excuse to continue in sin. This is where it is vital for that person to seek deliverance and spiritual freedom from those bondages. Yes, you can indeed be set free from such bondage, but there's usually more to it than we see on the surface. If it's a mistake once in a while, then turn from it and move on, but if it's a continual bondage / failure that you are facing, then you need to seek deliverance so that you can be set free from that bondage. God deeply desires for us to live a holy life, and therefore it is essential ( Children's bread ) for us to be delivered from all strongholds, unclean spirits, and bondages in our lives.
What if a person dies while still in bondage in some area of their life ? Then what ? As long as they were walking in the light and did not hold unforgiveness in their heart, then I can assure you that they are going to heaven, because that is what the Word of God requires of us. The Bible is clear that if a man will abide in Christ, then there is no condemnation in him:
There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Walk according to the Spirit, not the flesh
Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh. For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.
The Bible tells us that those who walk according to the Spirit, which involves mortifying the deeds of the flesh, then we are sons of God. It is not acceptable for a person to proclaim Christ and continue to live in sin.
And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Let's take a brief look at religion versus relationship in our walks with Christ:
Religion takes this flow of events:
1. Be good and earn your favor with God.
2. Rely on your holiness to be made right with God.
3. Never feel good enough, because we cannot justify or make right what we have done.
Relationship takes this flow of events:
1. God's love is lavished upon us by sending His Son to die for the payment of our sins (see Romans 5:8). THAT is how our sins are paid for (see Hebrews 9:22 & Matthew 26:28).
2. We, after receiving such great love and mercy, in return ought to eagerly desire to keep the non-burdensome commands of Jesus to love one another as Christ has loved us. These two commandments, by which all the others fall under, include loving God with all our heart, and loving one another as Christ has loved us (see Matthew 22:36-40).
3. Our faith, therefore, yields obedience and fruit (righteousness) in our lives as we abide in Jesus (see John 15:4). As we continue in this faith and love of God, we are conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29).
This doesn't mean that we will never make a mistake, but it means that we are to be constantly in a growing process unto perfection. If we begin to allow our flesh to get the best of us, then we need to turn back, repent, and continue to walk in the Spirit. If we are serious about what Christ has done for us, and thankful for the work of the cross, then we will automatically desire to be obedient to do what He asks of us. So what did Jesus tell us that we must do? What does He want of us? He wants us to go forth and love one another as He has loved us.
...love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Living according to grace is similar to a parent teaching a youngster how to walk. The toddler is expected to learn how to walk, but not without his parent's help, and certainly, requiring the parent's patience and grace as he fails in his learning process at times. But it is not acceptable for the toddler to quit trying and decide to crawl for the rest of his life, is it? The same is true with our walks with Christ. At first we will stumble more, but as we grow in Christ, our mistakes should become fewer as we become more like Christ.
Why are you doing what you're doing?
Okay, now we're digging in below the surface. Did you know that a person who does the right things, may not always do them for the right reasons? Let me take three people, who all do the right things, but are doing them for three different reasons:
Person A) does what is right because he fears that at the slightest mistake, God will be angry with him. He does what is right, but out of fear that God is a strict taskmaster, tapping His foot, waiting for a slip up.
Person B) does what is right, because he feels that he's earning his good status with God. He is not relying on the mercy and goodness of God, but rather his own acts of righteousness. This is dead religion.
Person C) does what is right because they have came to know God in a genuine relationship with Him. He knows that God truly loves and cares for him, and is merciful towards him in spite of his failures. Therefore he WANTS to do what is right, because he has been conformed to the image and likeness of Christ Jesus. He hates the things God hates, and loves the things God loves.
Did you know that Person C is the only one who's life (and heart) has been transformed by the love and power of Christ? The other two have not been transformed on the inside (their heart), and if you take away the fear and brownie points, where would their heart be? Would it be Christ-like?
Which person are you? I believe that God wants to take us to a place where we WANT to do what's right. That only comes from a genuine relationship with Him! We have to KNOW of His goodness, before we can truly repent in our hearts for our failures. God's Word tells us that it is His goodness (mercy, lovingkindness, forgiveness, love, etc.) that leads a person to true repentance:
Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?
This is a multi-part teaching