The Mystery of Holiness

The Mystery of Holiness

Part One

“…that we should be holy and without blame
before him in love”
Ephesians 1:4

Our religious concept of holiness has many faces. It can appear austere, ascetic, harsh or given to cliques and elite tendencies. Nothing could be further from the mind and heart of God. The truth is, our growth into His Holiness must be garmented in the wonder of His Love. True holiness is founded upon the immensity of the Love of God. Its disdain for things of the world, its repulsion of isolationism and elitism, its burning desire to see the Body of Christ arise from the ashes of division, are the pure expressions of a life growing in the Love of Christ.

Worldliness spawns chaos and division. Racism, the desire for dominance, the need for men to draw others to themselves (or the need to be a follower of others), all stem from the same contaminated stream; the desire for self-gratification and a sense of belonging. These stains are rife in the Body of Christ; rivalry, competition, jealously and envy are the result of lives untouched by holiness. These things do not exist in heavenly places. They are obliterated in His Presence.

Those who have touched even the hem of the garments of His presence should be grieved by the slander, the separations, the envying and the striving for pre-eminence in the midst of God’s people. The pretense of holiness is a sign of ones lost in their own importance. There can be no true growth in holiness apart from its author, Love.

“…that we should be holy and without blame
before him in love”
Ephesians 1:4

The Holiness of God prompted the Father to send His Only Begotten Son into this world through the impulse of Love. Rather than looking down upon His creation, He desires to raise us out of its corruption and restore its beauty through the offering of Jesus. False ideas of what constitutes holiness are but another facade of the self-perpetuating and self-glorifying lust of men. Holiness is a life where all things are in order; the lust of self, the chaos and contradictions of our own hearts, are brought under the jurisdiction of the Spirit of God. The reign of harmony and peace are the fruits of holiness. As our own unruly self becomes subject to the Love of God, we begin to see order in our own hearts and in God’s house (not by law, but by grace). Order is the revelation of holiness. It takes little discernment to gaze over the landscape of what men call “Christendom” and see the energies and pursuits of self revealed in all of its disorder. When we declare “my church”, “my fellowship”, “my teacher” (1 Cor. 1:11-13) we have departed from the love and holiness of God. Order is the result of all things being in Him.

But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your heart, don’t boast and don’t lie against the truth. This wisdom is not that which comes down from above, but is earthly, sensual, and demonic. For where jealousy and selfish ambition are, there is confusion and every evil deed. But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceful, gentle, reasonable, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace”
James 3:14-18

Humility is a life free from the pursuits of self. It is bold and at times audacious in its presentation of Christ. It will not yield to the religious of the day, not because it is self-important, but because it is free from the agendas of others. Peace is the atmosphere of humility. There is a liberty and ease within made possible by the cross of Christ.

“A vain man through pride causeth debate* (division),
And with the counselled is wisdom”
Proverbs 13:10 (YLT)

The selfish man profits from division. It is in the chaos of division and strife that he can find a place of pre-eminence.

“For where jealousy and selfish ambition are,
there is confusion and every evil deed”
James 3:16

It is insecurity that compels men to follow others, to feel the need to be part of earthly organizations and religious cliques. They who are secure in Christ know there is but ONE Body, ONE Faith and ONE God and Father of us all. His Salvation is our freedom from the fallen self and the need to be recognized by others. His Unity can only be realized in the living truth of His Holiness dwelling in our hearts by Love!

Σ

“…and the leaves of the tree
were for the healing of the nations”
Revelation 22:2

*NOTE: The word translated “debate” in the YLT or “contention” in the KJV is defined as follows:

מַצָּה - maṣṣāh: “A feminine noun depicting strife, contention. It refers to wrangling, quarreling, and contention” The Complete Word Study Dictionary: Old Testament; Warren Baker

Thayer’s Lexicon points out this Hebrew word is from the Hebrew Root נָצָה - nâtsâh (naw-tsaw')
A primitive root; properly to go forth (1 John 2:19), that is, (by implication) to be expelled, and (consequently) desolate; causatively to lay waste. (scripture reference added by me)

Brian Troxel

The Lesson of the Fig Tree – Part Two

The Lesson of the Fig Tree

Part Two

“Now in the morning as he returned into the city, he hungered. And when he saw a fig tree in the way, he came to it, and found nothing thereon, but leaves only, and said unto it, let no fruit grow on thee henceforward for ever. And presently the fig tree withered away”
Matthew 21:18-19

The lesson of the fig tree is one of great value to those who seek truth. Its message is for our growth and development.

Jesus came to the fig tree looking for figs. He came looking for fruit consistent with its capability. So it is with us. The righteousness of God prevents Him from an expectation that is beyond the ability of the tree to produce. The God who measures the talents to every child of His according to their ability, is the same God who holds each of us accountable to Him for that gift. This truth brings our accountability into perspective. It is also meant to be instructive to us as parents and ministers of God that we walk in His wisdom regarding the lives of our own children and of every believer. We are not to expect Paul to minister as Peter, nor Jude to speak as Apollos. Such expectations are the result of religious doctrines and confines. The Life of Christ within regards the individual gifts and capacities of others and looks for the corresponding fruit. When the fruit of an individual is consistent with the call and the gifts of God given, there should be a collective rejoicing unto the Giver of all good things. When the fruit of a life is missing or lacking the vitality of its call and capability, there is great need for the ministration of exhortation and admonition. Ministers who fail in this vital aspect of ministry will find themselves accountable to the Chief Shepherd of our souls.

Stewards and Shepherds

We are stewards of the grace of God and as such we are to shepherd His flock with a desire to see Him glorified in each and every child of His. It requires a pure heart to walk in such things knowing full well our own accountability unto Him. The fear of the Lord is the ground upon which His true ministers walk and function. John the Apostle declared that he had no greater joy than to “see his children walking in truth”; the truth of what has been given to them. The one who has been given prophetic insight, that is the thing to which God will hold them accountable (1-see below). The one who teaches must teach the truth of God to the end that every life will grow in the holiness and wisdom of God. (2-see below). Those who exhort must do so with purity and simplicity (3-see below) As to the Apostolic, there is to be a faithfulness to call God’s people to the obedience of faith (4-see below). The list is as endless as the diversity of God’s creation.

(1) “Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith” (Romans 12:6)
(2) “Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus” (Colossians 1:28)
(3) “Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write unto you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write unto you, and exhort you that ye should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered unto the saints” (Jude 1:3)
(4) “By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:5)

In the book of Romans, Paul exhorts God’s people to receive all of these diversities as the gifts and the wisdom of God. Those who refuse these expressions deny God’s wisdom and subject themselves to His judgment. Division is the result of man’s wisdom and pride.

“Only by pride cometh contention…”
Proverbs 13:10

The Lesson of the fig tree is that He comes to each of us looking for corresponding fruit. His expectation is consistent with His grace given. In the Parable of the Talents, the man with one talent was judged severely for his faithlessness to the gift given (Matthew 15:30). In the Parable of the Vine, the branch which bore no fruit was “cut off” (John 15:2,6). The lesson of the Fig Tree was meant for our admonition and learning to that same end.

The response of Jesus to the two individuals who were faithful to their respective talents was the same! Different talents yet the same reward for their faithfulness to God’s measure.

“His lord said unto him, ‘Well done, thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord”
Matthew 25:21,23

The purpose of these diverse ministrations is:

“That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing,
being fruitful in every good work…”
Colossians 1:10

Brian Troxel