Thursday, December 10, 2009

towards holiness…

3Who may ascend the hill of the Lord?
Who may stand in his holy place?
4He who has clean hands and a pure heart,
who does not lift up his soul to an idol
or swear by what is false.
5He will receive blessing from the Lord
and vindication from God his Savior.
6Such is the generation of those who seek him,
who seek your face, O God of Jacob.
………………………………… Psalm 24: 3-6

If I were to suggest a list of Scriptures that absolutely should be studied and committed to memory, I would put the entirely of Psalm 24 near the top of the list.  Above is a selection of three verses that state the requirement that God places upon us.  What is required of me if I am to dwell in the presence of the Most High? I must have clean hands and a pure heart and be free from idolatry.  What a daunting proposition!  What an impossible thing! Fortunately, the blood of Jesus makes it possible for me to enter into communion with God—I have been redeemed. But a large part of that redemption includes that I will walk in righteousness.  God has not called me to walk in this alone, but has commanded that I be in community with fellow Believers. We Believers, then, are commanded to build each other up into faith and in unity in the Truth.  Ephesians 4 states this clearly:

7But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it. 8This is why ita says:

“When he ascended on high,
he led captives in his train
and gave gifts to men.”b

11It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers, 12to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up 13until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. …  16From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work. 17So I tell you this, and insist on it in the Lord, that you must no longer live as the Gentiles do, in the futility of their thinking. 22You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; 23to be made new in the attitude of your minds; 24and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.

25Therefore each of you must put off falsehood and speak truthfully to his neighbor, for we are all members of one body. 26“In your anger do not sin”d: Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27and do not give the devil a foothold. 28He who has been stealing must steal no longer, but must work, doing something useful with his own hands, that he may have something to share with those in need.

29Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. 30And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
……………………………………………………………………… Ephesians 4: 11- 32

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