Location: New England, United States

Saturday, July 09, 2005

The Mystery of Faith

"Now we all understand that the law is good, if any one uses it lawfully, understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane..." 1Timothy 1:8 RSV

After accepting Jesus as our Lord and Savior, those who are "born again" become concerned with, "What do I do now?". This feeling stems from our sensing the Holiness (or wholeness) of God, and realizing that in comparison; we fall short. Certainly, the contrast between his light and our darkness is so stark, we become consumed with desperation. How can we ever measure up? So, in arrogance, we set about with our mental list of tasks to make ourselves holy, and in doing so, we lose our righteousness, peace and joy.

Only the Son can come before the Father in Holiness. Jesus owns his Holiness. In contrast, we must be made holy. The deception arises when Christians feel that they have the capacity to manufacture this holiness by their own hands.

Does the clay pot fill itself with water - or - does the potter, after finishing the pot, fill it with water to test for cracks? Then, if the pot leaks, who repairs the cracks?

Also, in the spring, does the apple tree lay down the compost around its own roots for the new season's growth? When the fruit appears, does the apple tree spray itself with pesticides and fungicides to prevent the spoiling of the fruit? No it is the gardener (vine dresser) who tends the garden to produce a bountiful harvest.

"Thus a married woman is bound by law to her husband as long as he lives; but if her husband dies she is discharged from the law concerning her husband." Romans 7:2 RSV We have died to our marriage of sin and unholiness when we accepted Jesus as our Savior. We have a new husband -Jesus. When we "married" Jesus, we took his name and now possess all that he owns - including his Holiness.

Jesus came to clothe us in his Holiness. We possess no holiness, but through him. Those who have not accepted Jesus live under the law and will be judged by the law, but we Christians will be judged by the Holiness of Jesus.

Believing in this simple Mystery of Faith fulfills Jesus' promise of righteousness, peace and joy. We are released from the strife of achieving our own holiness and only need to put on his robe of Holiness to stand before the Father.


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