There is an unreserved holiness that only brings wisdom and praise out from the innermost soul and from everyone around you. It is not only a destination; it is the light brought about by the scepter of Christ!
1. The search for the complete gospel that has already found me
You can refer back to my previous year 2008 blog where I wrote about bible verses that impacted my life:
I remember I was searching for the verses that illuminated St Augustine so that he was converted. I heard from my senior pastor Rev Leechull spoke about the bible verses that influenced St Augustine to conversion. At that time, the orientation of the church pulpit message kept on consoling the congregation, and gave me the impression that to accuse people would be the last thing God desires. i.e. how can these verses fit into a person’s life so as to make a person convert? Are not the verses below a result of conversion (born again) rather than something that converts (makes one born again)? Therefore, I could not fully understand why the following verses actually caused St Augustine (the way I interpret – the start of Christian theology that accords to his own experience, i.e. he wrote “The Confessions”) into conversion. Therefore, I did not list the verse down in my previous year 2008 blog. The following verses were what happened when he was prompted by a childlike voice, and took it as a divine command to open the Bible and read the first thing he saw:
13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and
make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
God changed him then at 32 years old through his mother Monica’s prayers of despair but continual hope since young.
Even though I cannot fully understand why the verses nailed St Augustine’s conversion, I kept the above verses deep into my heart. I just cannot forget them as they are from the bible. I cannot twist what I read from the bible to fit my own theology or what I, if my weak mind, has heard.
Along with the above verses, I remember
1 The heavens declare the glory of God,
and the sky above proclaims his handiwork.
2 Day to day pours out speech,
and night to night reveals knowledge.
8 the precepts of the Lord are right,
rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is pure,
enlightening the eyes;
12 Who can discern his errors?
Declare me innocent from hidden faults.
14 Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart
be acceptable in your sight,
O Lord, my rock and my redeemer.
For all these years, I realized one thing is absolutely true – the Lord is Holy and His glory is such that I must never show consideration for my weaknesses so that I worship God with compromise. Your weaknesses may come from the conditions and fields God has given you. But those are not for you to compromise God’s greater power through you to open the doors of evangelism. Those weaknesses are placed not for you to show consideration to (as if God loves you so that He will forgo every weaknesses as His favored child of God) so that you can live a more carefree life less of guilt or reproach from God. (If you hear no grief of the Holy Spirit, you either already have your conscience of faith tainted or that you are not born again.) Those weaknesses are placed for you to understand your spiritual calling, to be willing to suffer everything and to go to your end to face God in prayers, so as to attain Christ’s resurrection in getting practical wisdom.
2. Not to abolish the Law or the Prophets, but fulfill them
The 36 lessons are not an end to your conversion, or the experience of the “second” born again. They are a guide, and only a guide. They guide you to live unreserved from the Lord, to the Lord, and in the Lord.
If you really want to evangelize to the unreached, the young that is out of your generation, or a culture that is far beyond yours, you must really know how much you must suffer in the Lord to hold on to God’s promise. Do you value the gospel and the promise of gospelization more than anything else so that you test and approve the things you must do in your work place? When you test and approve, one must know what the absolute conditions are and what the relative conditions are. i.e. when you are at your work place, the relative conditions are about doing your best at your office work. The absolute truth is that you cannot be a slave because you have a gospel too important to compromise. When I face the Lord with even my closest ones worrying for me, I realized I had to do it my way – the way the Lord has shown to me. There is a peace in me that I am not disobeying the people around me, but a peace that God will bring me through, and God will definitely bless the people and company many folds through my obedience. It produces some anxiousness, but I slowly confirmed that those anxiousness are as a result of Satan’s attack as I obey the Lord my God.
If you find it hard to live in your workplace, then make it a point to have a church-centered and brethren-centered lifestyle. Then your perspectives can be build on solid ground and you will not waver like a ship among waves. You might be disobeying the earthly authorities if you keep on having a pulpit-centered, brethren-centered and serving-centered lifestyle, but be sure that if you follow the Lord this way, the Lord will not only deliver you out of it, but the Lord will give you your heart’s desire in the gospel promise of God.
This, in a word, means “unreserved holiness” in all things 24 hours, a point made to focus there and go towards there.
48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
“Unreserved holiness” created in me a new heart. There is a New Creation. That new creation is not by grace that has been made cheap, but by death and resurrection – grace that is made sovereign, and glory that makes every word in the bible alive in you.
3. Praising in the Gospel vs Conscience-Pricking in Religion
The greatest difference between gospel and religion are two folds:
– The gospel is that God has already found you unconditionally, and religion is that you need to keep on trying to find God.
– The gospel is that you can live in unreserved holiness that surpasses every law, but religion from man can never perform this miracle.
An unconditional love may have started to produce unreserved holiness, but a person is transformed when he is trained to go into a total willingness to produce unconditional appreciation for unconditional love of God gives praise from the innermost soul.
Do you notice how the Christian faith differs from all other religions? We praise God! Religions that rely only on the conscience will ponder why their gods need praises from men. (If they praise their gods, their gods will be embarrassed because their gods rely on conscience to help the earthly people.) Do we praise God out of a conscious debt of His love? Frankly speaking, no. God is not a judge who checks if He can impute to us His judgments, for He chose to impute all on His Son Jesus Christ already. We praise the God of Yahweh because we find Him awesomely amazing many times, and we especially find Him awesome because He is steadfast and faithful to us all the time. You would not praise a friend who helps out as a friend in need, but you will praise your own father who has always been so awesome and steadfast by your side, who will make sure you walk right, and who will even give his life for your true happiness.
1 My heart is steadfast, O God!
I will sing and make melody with all my being!
30 With my mouth I will give great thanks to the Lord;
I will praise him in the midst of the throng.
31 For he stands at the right hand of the needy one,
to save him from those who condemn his soul to death.
The child of God does not praise God only because he finds the Lord awesome. He only desires to find praise to God.
Sometimes, he may be unconvinced to obey God’s word. However, if he is born again to seek the unconditional love and unreserved holiness of God, you can be rest assured that he will never be at peace unless he submits with an unreserved love to God.
Therefore, pastors, elders, deacons, small group leaders and coworkers, you must teach the sheep how to praise God. Keep your focus right there, and you will forget your own troubles. We do not get crazy for the gospel only when we find it amazing. We know the gospel is our life so that we live in the gospel through praising God.