Two days ago we started a series teaching through the book of 1st Corinthians. It’s actually not a book, but a letter. As I mentioned last week here, Paul is writing to a church that is struggling to maintain it’s discipleship to Jesus in the midst of the wealthy overly-sexualized culture.
In other words, he’s writing to us, American church.
How should he start? How would you start? What do you want to say to the American church? If you could have a voice to the many millions of Christians across our land, what would you say? I’d be interested in your thoughts in the comment section below!
What does Paul say? He reminds them that they are holy in union with Christ, called to be holy. What does it mean to be holy?
Holier than thou? Not so much.
You can listen to sermon here, if you want a longer treatment. Basically Paul is reminding the Christians in the city of Corinth, and he is reminding us as well, that we are holy in Christ, consecrated into a special relationship with our Lord. We are called to become like him.
Our denomination has a history of focusing on holiness as vital to a disciple of Jesus, and based on 1 Corinthians 1:1-3, Paul is in agreement. Jesus himself said in Matthew 5:42, “Be holy, as your heavenly father is holy.” We are to pursue holiness in our lives.
We do this first and foremost through an attitude that believes Jesus lived a holy life, and that he offers to us, as his disciples, a renewal, a change, a new life. He called it the abundant life, and said he came to give it to us. Do we really believe that his offer of abundant life is better than the options for life that our society and culture has to offer? Our culture really promotes a version of the good life that seems so wonderful. And yet Jesus said that he came that we might have abundant life. Who do we believe?
If we believe Jesus, then we pursue becoming holy as he is holy. It might be a lifelong journey. Frankly, for the vast majority of us, it will be a lifelong journey. There will be struggles, failures, victory and growth. Praise the Lord for his empowerment and grace offered to us in the journey of holiness.
The pursuit of holiness, then, is not about a program, but about desiring with all your heart to be more like Jesus.
So what is Jesus like? Check out this classic: