Scripture: “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God….
As it is, I rejoice—not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting.
For you felt a godly grief so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves—what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment!” 2 Cor 7:1 and 9-11
Observation: What is the nitty gritty of holiness and what am I bringing to completion?
Analysis: My wife asked me this morning during devotions why it is that I ask so many questions and provide so few answers?
“Good question, I replied: Why do you think?” No, I didn’t, but it would have been a good reply just the same.
The real answer is what Paul will write later to the Corinth church: “Examine yourselves; see if you are in the Faith.” (2 Cor 13:5) Asking questions of the Face in the Mirror is not an exercise in doubt, it is exercising self-evaluation, leading to increased godliness and maturity.
These are in the same category of self-questions like “Humble yourselves before the Lord…” (James 4:10) If I do these things (with our God’s explicit approval by the way) then I don’t have to wait on His Hand when I perhaps least expect it (or want it). His mind and objective is to make me in the Image of the Son (Ro 8:29) so I might as well actively submit, rather than passively wait.
I want to bring holiness to completion in me; not for any other reason than it honors my Lord who died for my sin and brings redemption and adoption as a gift. I am justified before the Father only by His choice in being my Atonement. Why is this important to note and continually review?
The Gospel has two parts: Justification and Sanctification. I am Justified through the Atonement, a process that I had absolutely zero to do with and wouldn’t qualify for it in any stretch of the imagination.
I can be Sanctified; not only objectively but subjectively as well. Fact: I am called, directed, encouraged, exhorted to pursue Sanctification (or holiness, godliness, righteousness, etc.) until the End of My Days. I can either be passive about it or ACTIVE. Since the Holy Spirit is going to conduct His business in this, do I wonder if He wants a passive participant or an active and willing one?
Repentance is a response to the revealing of Sin in my life. I can acknowledge Sin and ask for forgiveness. Inbetween somewhere is REGRET. One side of this coin is “I am sorry I got caught” regret. The other side is Regret that I dishonored the One whom I fear.
One leads to “oh, well…”; the other leads to a regret of godly sincerity and a determination to change (repentance).
I have encountered that I repented for the same thing repeatedly in my lifetime. This doesn’t mean my repentance is ineffective, it is a sign that I have willing engaged in the battle of what is going to dominate my Soul.
Prayer: Lord God: Thank you for keeping the Main Thing the Main Thing in me. I fall, I stumble, I start to turn my back on the road of righteousness, and You tap me on the shoulder and turn me around. Every time. You have never forsaken me in this.
Keep me on the narrow road. Increase my comprehension of the Scriptures that I may know You, the only Lord. AMEN.