The Beauty of Holiness

The Beauty of Holiness

“…worship the Lord
in the beauty of holiness”
1 Chronicles 16:29

Throughout the history of the church there have been those, whose pursuit of living holy lives, have resulted in something austere, rigid and without joy. True holiness, which is the fruit of the Holy Spirit, is something beautiful, joyful and pure. It is free from the hypocrisy of external things for its source is a spring continually flowing within to keep us clean.

Holiness is only valid as we abide in Him who is Holy. The more we grow in the love of the Father the freer we become from the love of the world (1 John 2:15). God Himself is the author and sustainer of holy lives.

As we partake of Him the “beauty” of holiness becomes a living garment enfolding our hearts with the very breath of heaven. There is a power to be found within the wonder of true holiness. It guards us, leads us, and enables us to live above the temptations of this world. The verity of increasing holiness will always be expressed in humility. Humility is the fruit of any life abiding in the immensity of God. Pride cannot exist in His presence. Selfishness, unforgiveness, and all the vices and impurities of the flesh are consumed in the magnificence of His Holiness.

Beauty is the unmistakable result
of Him who is Holy dwelling within.

Ω

“He has made everything beautiful in its time”
Ecclesiastes 3:11

Brian Troxel

Stephen Charnock – Holiness

Stephen Charnock

“Worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness”
Psalm 29:2, 96:9

Holiness

“As it seems to challenge an excellency above all His other perfections, so it is the glory of all the rest; as it is the glory of the Godhead, so it is the glory of every perfection in the Godhead; as His power is the strength of them, so His holiness is the beauty of them; as all would be weak without almightiness to back them, so all would be uncomely without holiness to adorn them. Should this be sullied, all the rest would lose their honour; as at the same instant the sun should lose its light, it would lose its heat, its strength, its generative and quickening virtue. As sincerity is the luster of every grace in a Christian, so is purity the splendor of every attribute in the Godhead. His justice is a holy justice, His wisdom a holy wisdom, His arm of power a “holy arm” (Ps. 98:1), His truth or promise a “holy promise” (Ps. 105:42). His name, which signifies all His attributes in conjunction, “is holy,” Psalm 103:1″
– Stephen Charnock

The Gospel of Freedom

The Gospel of Freedom

“For ye know what commandments
we gave you by the Lord Jesus”
1 Thessalonians 4:2

Freedom of self is but a path to bondage and depravity. The Gospel of God offers an entirely new and radical freedom; freedom from self. To hold the words of God in the intellect only, without allowing them to bring us under His Lordship, is the bane of religion. The full salvation of God lies in Him becoming our life in order for us to reveal His.

The “gospel” of today often ignores the fact that God has given us “commandments”. It tends to focus on our freedom rather than His. We receive forgiveness to deal with our guilt, yet our essential self remains unchanged. This is not the full salvation for wherever “self” remains so too does the rebellion, the disobedience and the carnal tendencies which contaminate and refute His Lordship in our lives.

“For the mind of the flesh is death, but the mind of the Spirit is life and peace; because the mind of the flesh is hostile towards God; for it is not subject to God’s law, neither indeed can it be. Those who are in the flesh can’t please God”
Romans 8:6-8

Paul writing to the Church at Thessalonica declared that he had given them commandments concerning their walk and growth in the Lord. If commandments are spoken of today many are offended; they label it “legalism” and cover their ears from the truth. We must stop and ask ourselves where these commandments came from. They came “by the Lord Jesus”.

“For ye know what commandments
we gave you by the Lord Jesus
1 Thessalonians 4:2

What is the spirit and purpose in which they are given to us?

“For this is the will of God,
even your sanctification…”
1 Thessalonians 4:3

A gospel which presents only the truth of justification without the need of becoming vessels which are sanctified, is not able to impart the power and the wonder of His Salvation. Jesus came to save us from our sins, not to offer a salvation to enable us to remain in our sins.

“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid”
Romans 6:15

Paul prefaced this powerful truth by declaring emphatically:

“For sin shall not have dominion over you:
for ye are not under the law,
but under grace…”
Romans 6:14

If we in truth hold to this powerful word, we must conclude that IF we are under grace sin shall NOT have dominion over us. It is the grace of God that breaks the chains of sin. Grace is not a sentiment; it is the power of God to free us from the dominion of sin. Freedom from sin is a revelation of the measure that our lives are lived under His grace! Grace frees us from the penalty of the Law because it causes us to live above the dictates of the law by the power of the Law of His life in us (read Romans 8:3-4*). That is the true freedom of a life in Christ. The commandments are spiritual and because of that we must walk in the Spirit to fulfill them. Only a spiritual man can fulfill a spiritual law.

The carnal man bristles at the very mention of the word “commandments” for it strikes at the heart of rebellion. One may speak the words of the redeemed yet live and walk under the dominion of the carnal mind. God’s word speaks to all who walk in the flesh.

“So then they that are in the flesh
cannot please God”
Romans 8:8

We may quote scriptures and be involved with a church or some Christian sect, but if we walk in the flesh we “cannot please God”! Those who are truly spiritual fulfill the Law of God for they are partakers of the ONE who came to fulfill the Law, not abolish it!

“Don’t think that I came to destroy the law or the prophets. I didn’t come to destroy, but to fulfill”
Matthew 5:17

Thanks be unto God who has brought a true and powerful salvation to all who by faith enter into a Grace which makes us free from the Law of Sin and Death.

“If the Son therefore shall make you free,
ye shall be free indeed”
John 8:36

The Gospel of Christ is not in Word only; it is revealed in the power to break the dominion of sin and free us from the works of the flesh. The deliverance of God is seen here in our past, in our present, and in a living hope for our deliverance in the future.

“…who delivered (past) us out of so great a death, and does deliver (present); on whom we have set our hope that he will also still deliver us (future)  italics mine
2 Corinthians 1:10

Ω

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus
hath made me free from the law of sin and death”
Romans 8:2

Brian Troxel

The Basis of our Salvation

Nothing but the Blood

“…when I see the blood,
I will pass over you”
Exodus 12:13

A great misconception in much of the Gospel today is that the forgiveness of our sins is based upon compassion rather than the sacrifice of our Savior. His justice demanded that our sins be paid for. God’s love dictated that His Only Begotten Son offer Himself upon the Cross to pay the penalty for our rebellion, sin and shame. If we fail in understanding the nature of our God, we will fail to understand the nature and wonder of our salvation. This failure leads to lukewarm living and carelessness in the hearts of many.

“For God so loved the world
that He gave His Only Begotten Son…”

It was because of Love that God sent His Son to die in our stead. Forgiveness was based on the Blood of Jesus, not on the sentimentality of love. The Love of God never violates His righteousness. His Love is pure and holy and those who dwell in Love, walk in righteousness. It is humanistic reasoning that presents a salvation based upon anything less than the Sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. This infusion of humanism into the mixture of the Truth of God robs us of the conviction of sin; of the horror that it actually is. We get the idea that God simply “winks” at our sin because He is Love. It is because of this deadly supposition that many in Christ live at ease with sin and are robbed of touching the power and glory of God in their lives.

Whenever sin is regarded lightly, the knowledge of God is superficial. God hides Himself from such. It is in His Holy Presence that the true nature of sin becomes known and our repentance is real.

The Holy Love of God
required Sacrifice to procure our Forgiveness.

As we begin to know in truth that our salvation is only because of His Sacrifice we are able to respond to Him sacrificially. Anything less desensitizes us to the incredible cost of our redemption and produces lukewarm hearts, tepid prayers and impotent living.

“But to whom little is forgiven,
the same loves little.”
Luke 7:47

When we estimate our salvation based on a sentiment rather than the sacrifice of God’s Son, the corresponding heart response is artificial, lacking the fire and intensity of all that He is worthy of.

“It is shallow nonsense to say that God forgives us because He is love. Once we have been convicted of sin, we will never say this again. The love of God means Calvary— nothing less! The love of God is spelled out on the Cross and nowhere else. The only basis for which God can forgive me is the Cross of Christ. It is there that His conscience is satisfied”.
Oswald Chambers

Σ

Nothing but the Blood of Jesus

What can wash away my sin?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
What can make me whole again?
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Oh! precious is the flow
That makes me white as snow;
No other fount I know,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

For my pardon, this I see,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
For my cleansing this my plea,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Nothing can for sin atone,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Naught of good that I have done,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

This is all my hope and peace,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
This is all my righteousness,
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Now by this I’ll overcome—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus;
Now by this I’ll reach my home—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.

Glory! Glory! This I sing—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus,
All my praise for this I bring—
Nothing but the blood of Jesus.
By Robert Lowry

Brian Troxel

Have This Mind – Part One

Have This Mind

Part One

“Have this in your mind,
which was also in Christ Jesus,”
Philippians 2:5

“We would see Jesus”

Truth became incarnate in Jesus Christ. We are told many times in the scriptures that Truth is a person; He is the embodiment of the heart and character of God Himself. Jesus boldly declared to His disciples “he that hath seen me hath seen the Father”. Things buried within the Gospel of John are significant and to the human intellect often cryptic and obscure. Only by the gracious illumination of the Holy Spirit do we begin to see the veiled wonders of God. At this particular juncture Jesus chose the words “he that hath seen me” while in other places Jesus would declare “they who are of the truth, hear my voice”. On this occasion the aspect of “seeing” was the vital truth Jesus sought to convey to His disciples.

The life of Christ was lived before His disciples to an extent that others were not privy to. They beheld Him in His private moments, and they knew that He spent time alone with His Father. They witnessed the power of God flow into the lives of countless multitudes in healings, in deliverances and in the demonstration of God’s character such as in the case of the woman taken in adultery. Their exposure to Him in all facets of His life was a comprehensive revelation of the Father.

The response of Jesus to Philip’s seemingly innocent request (John 14:8) was/is heart rending and filled with a piercing truth for us as well; Truth is more than a teaching; more than something learned by the accumulation of knowledge. It is beyond the reach of human thought!

“He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father”
John 14:9

This powerful truth ought to revolutionize our seeking of Him. Truth cannot be contained or held within the precepts of men, for truth must be seen by the same Spirit which initiated His very conception in Mary. Truth is a person. To see Him correctly we must walk, live and abide in that same Spirit who alone can make Him known to us.

He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father.

In other words, Philip, when you beheld me feeding the five thousand by the power of compassion, when you heard me confronting the blindness of the Scribes and the Pharisees, when you saw the lepers healed, the gift of sight given to the blind, me washing the disciple’s feet, and the demonstration of power when I rebuked the storm, all of these things were the revelation of my Father. Truth is more than words; it is expressed in character and works. It is shown in our ability to minister Him to our children, it is revealed in the concourse of everyday life. It is not only the Sunday sermon; it is the Life Christ Himself shining through the medium of our humanity in our every day life. In His life as a man, within the frailty and the humanness of Christ, the glory of God was evident to such an extent that Jesus declared unequivocally: “he that hath seen me, hath seen the Father”.

“It is enough for the disciple that he be like his teacher,
and the servant like his lord”
Mathew 10:25

The Call of God is much more than becoming familiar with His Word, more than the formation of correct doctrines and promises believed. His call to His disciples is to bear His likeness, His character, and His heart in this world!

“But we all, with unveiled face seeing the glory of the Lord as in a mirror, are transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord, the Spirit”
2 Corinthians 3:18

It is in our “seeing” of Him that transformation occurs. While it is good to read the promises of God, the purpose of the Holy Spirit is to cause us to WALK in the promises of God. The contrast between these two is as vast as the gulf between life and death. May we allow the power of the Testimony of Jesus to impact us to the core of our beings with the enormity of His Call.

He that hath seen me
hath seen the Father

Where there is no beholding of Him there can be no change.

Let us consider the words of faithful Job:

“I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear:
but NOW mine eye seeth Thee.
Wherefore I abhor myself,
and repent in dust and ashes”
Job 42:5-6

Repentance is the fruit of seeing Him. Only in the seeing of Him are we freed from the limitations and confines of our fallen natures to experience the power of His Resurrection Life within.

May our hearts echo the desire of those who came to Philip:

“Sir, we would see Jesus”
John 12:21

Ω

Hearing Him brings us to obedience
Seeing Him brings us to His Likeness

Brian Troxel

PODCAST – The Foundation of the Lord

The Foundation of the Lord

“Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock. “Everyone who hears these words of Mine and does not act on them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. “The rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and it fell—and great was its fall.”  (Mat 7:24-27)

 

Becoming Free in Christ

Becoming Free In Christ

“Freely you have received, freely give…”

The true art of life is generosity. To give freely of ourselves is the revelation of our Savior’s presence within. How freely, how undeservedly we have received of His great mercy. Shall not that heart transform us from the stinginess of giving things rather than ourselves? To give of our time, effort, and most importantly our heart to those around us is life. To live in the freedom of each moment is to give with no thought to our own resources or concerns.

That is freedom.

To seek out the true welfare of another soul at our expense is true life. Life does not consist in what one has, but in the ability to give to others what has been so freely given to us. The Body of Christ today is one of ours, mine, us and they. All of these things denote a wrong thinking, which of course produces wrong living. I hear the term “our church”, “our pastor”, and “we believe”… how it crushes the real heart of all that we have been called to. Paul called himself a “steward” of the grace of God. A steward is one who owns nothing, but simply manages the wealth of another. Truth, Life and Power are only such in the giving of them away, freely and without expectation of any return.

The New Law

The only Law which governs true generosity is the Law of His Love and Wisdom. Love is never impoverished, for in and of itself is the very treasure of God! Men who are always talking of their poverty have not touched the reality of His Love. Love is not aware of itself. It has no vested interest in its state or “feelings”. It gives because that is its very nature. It lives because He lives. It defends not itself, holds on to nothing, and takes no account of its own resources. It is a life that lives in the sheer wonder of God’s Glory and resources. It is no wonder that the Eternal Son with great Joy beckons us to live and walk in the halls of His Father’s house.

“I am come that they might have life,
and that they might have it more abundantly”
John 10:10

Only the child-like faith of Christ can bring us to the simplicity of a life so free and unbound.

“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus…”
Philippians 2:5

Brian Troxel

Morning by Morning

Morning by Morning

“And the fuel on the altar shall be kept burning on it; it shall not be put out. And the priest shall burn wood on it morning by morning.”
Leviticus 6:12

The altar of the Old Covenant is a representation of our hearts in the New (Romans 12:1). It was the duty of the priests to keep the fire ever burning by adding wood “morning by morning”. In the morning as we set aside time to commune with our God who is “a consuming fire”. There is a necessity to touch the flame of the Eternal One that our own hearts may burn with a love for Him. It is this burning which keeps us from the temptations of the world and the impurities of our own selves.

As one man, greatly used of the Lord, stated: “an empty altar receives no fire” (1). Each morning we arise and lay ourselves before Him as a fresh offering that we might walk circumspectly and alert throughout the day. His fire ever falls upon the altar of sacrifice; as it was in the days of Elijah it shall be in this day.

May we discover the secret of His Flame. May we feel the embers of our hearts stirred by His Holy Breath until we are filled with the fire and intensity of His Spirit. He has an answer for cold hearts, for the lethargy in His house. It is nothing less than His presence burning within.

“Who maketh his angels spirits,
and His ministers a flame of fire
Hebrews 1:7

His true ministers carry the flame of God burning within their hearts. They cannot be satisfied with tepid prayers, powerless sermons and the lifeless conjectures of those whose lives do not align with their words. The fire of God purifies. It warms the very soul of man and brings Him into the zeal of the Lord for His House (John 2:16-17). There is a lamentation within over the condition and the temperature of the hearts of His people. There is a seeking of the purity, power and intensity of His Spirit to see His Unity arise in His House.

It is the “fervent prayer” of a “righteous man” that avails much, that brings forth the moving of His hand in the earth. Let us keep the flame burning within; let us seek out fellowship with others who will stir the embers of our hearts that we may know, to quote a good friend, “the fellowship of the flame” (2).

His beauty will arise
out of the ashes of ourselves.

“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that He might be glorified
Isaiah 61:3

What is the purpose of these people?

“And they shall build the old wastes, they shall raise up the former desolations, and they shall repair the waste cities, the desolations of many generations”
Isaiah 61:4

This is the Day of the Lord and He Himself is appointing unto them who mourn over the state of the Zion of God in our day; beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness! Let His fire fall afresh upon our hearts that He may be glorified by the lives we live and the words we speak!

“But you have come to Mount Zion, and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable multitudes of angels, to the festal gathering and assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better than that of Abel. See that you don’t refuse him who speaks.”!
Hebrews 12:22-25

“Keep yourselves in the Love of God”
Jude 1:21

(1) Frank Bartleman
(2) CR Oliver

Brian Troxel

Thought for Today – Right Words

Thought for Today

Right Words from Right Hearts

“When the heart is right,
the tongue will be eloquent for God”
Joseph Parker

“My heart overflows with a noble theme.
I recite my verses for the king.
My tongue is like the pen of a skillful writer”
Psalm 45:1

The love of God loosens the tongue and frees the heart. His presence graces the lips of men with praise and fills their lives with joy.

“…in thy presence is fulness of joy”
Psalm 16:11

Brian Troxel