"...know that the LORD has set apart for Himself him who is godly" ps 4:3
"the Lord knows those who are his...let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity" 2 tim 2:19
"sanctify them by your truth. your word is truth." john 17:17
"the hour is coming and now is, when the true worshippers will worship the father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship him." john 4:23
Jesus said to him, "If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me." mt
"Then Peter answered and said to Him, "See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore what shall we have?"..."everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name's sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life." mt
"but all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, ma cause thanksgiving to aboutnd to the glory of god" 2 cor 4:15
"therefore, I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus wit eternal glory...this is a faithful saying:
-if we died with Him we shall also live with him..." 2 tim 2:10-11
"we give no offense in anything that our ministry may not be blamed, but in all things we commend ourselves as ministers of God" 2 cor 6:3-4
i have a confession to make, i live a dual life. the life i live in my heart, my ideals my aspirations, and my flesh life where i settle for just floating on the current of american society. this has frustrated me for years. i purpose in my heart to change yet find myself stuck again in that same place. what who is sufficient for these things? here's what i am talking about:
there is a calling throughout scripture to those who are called by the Lord to separate themselves. its the essence of this idea of 'holiness' or 'separateness'. paul said in 2 cor 6: "what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? and what comunion has light with darkness?" and, quoting from 2 samuel, "come out from among them and be separate, says the Lord do not touch what is unclean and I will receive you." so we are called to be separate, a called out people-ekklesia, but what does this mean exactly? the idea and philosophy makes sense, but practically? it becomes a little muddled when the 'rubber meets the road' so to speak.
are there set guidelines, limitations. what model do we follow? do we live as missionaries-as paul did during the infancy of the church? what about those 'corporate' or 'industrial' missionaries who bring the gospel to work with them as they live the lives of average working class americans? does being separated from the world mean that we shouldn't have mortgages? shop at nordstroms? sell mary kay? *smirk* is there a mold that fits only some? or is this a spirit that fits us all and we tend to settle for just a part of it? maybe theres a bit of truth in all of it. modern mainstream christianity, even fundamental evangelical type christianity still encompasses average people living average and largely typical lives. we have radical dentists, and evangelical electricians. they strive to work out their salvation in fear and trembling while trying to provide security for their families, raise babies, plan for college and retirement. yet what about when Christ told the rich man to sell everything that he had and follow him? is this spirit only for the select few? only those who wish to be called his disciples? what about the rest of us? are we less 'sold out'? it's not good for a man to be alone yet it is good for a man not to touch a woman? what about raising up the next generation? well obviously the word of God supercedes the word of Paul but yet there is something to be studied here. i believe it is in part a specific calling to specific individuals... maybe even just for a season, but it is a real calling to be radically separated from the world and be utterly sanctified unto the Lord.
on the flip side this spirit falls heavily on any who would strive to be righteous or claim the name of Jesus. i believe it does call us to a different kind of life than the rest of the world around us. we are not simply people who follow Christ...we are Christ-lets. tied into and bound up in the one true Vine, being transformed into his glorious image day by day. we have the mind of christ and have died to our carnal selves. these are dramatic and radical (yes it is the word of the day) ideas that will leave a definite mark on your life. we are pursuers-or-righteousness, bearers-of-the-cross and fleers-from-iniquity. true all things are lawful to me under the grace of provided by Christ's mediation, yet all things are NOT profitable. if I would claim the grace and love of God it is REQUIRED that i love my brother, that i consider others better than myself and that i take whatever measures necessary to ensure his spiritual health. this the a symptom of true sanctification.
when you reach retirement are you going to look forward with joy to the golden years of peace and relaxation with the woman/man you love as you watch your family grow and multiply-enjoying the fruits of 30 years of working hard and investing wisely. maybe even this is when your ministry truly starts, i don't know. i can't say this is wrong but i can definitely tell you IT IS NOT ENOUGH not enough for the sanctified chrisitian to RV their way into paradise. if you are living your life now for how it is going to benefit you later-which my friends is exactly what the world encourages and rewards- making your decisions based on the aspiration of one day being 'comfortable' 'respected' 'successful' there is SOMETHING amiss. you are settling for a human lifestyle with Christian characteristics rather than a Christ-lifestyle with human boundaries.
again these things are not inherently bad, but when we buy into the worlds idea of success, we miss out on the joy and blessings to be found in living a life utterly devoted to christ. if i were to sell everything i own now and give the money to the poor i would be regarded as benevolent perhaps...but mostly people would think i was whacky! that i was the exception and you know what? they'd be right, i WOULD be the exception because this is not the kind of life that we live now! we've abandoned this lifestyle in favor of a more acceptable, less demanding, more comfortable, albeit less spiritually rewarding lifestyle.
Is a set apart lifestyle a requirement of salvation? well i don't know if i could support that scripturally, but is it a requirement of sanctification? i'm thinking so. think of it this way, i can honestly do whatever i want in Christ. i have absolute freedom and security in my salvation. but if i am to allow the grace of God and the fellowship of the spirit to grow and develop in my body how can i allow darkness into that same space? it is counter-productive. if i want to go to a bar and parade my freedom in front of the saturday night crown, Christ's grace can cover that, but what will i wake to the next morning? the joy of a new day in the Lord or the shame and confusion that comes with mingling light and darkness? and what does that say to the world about christians and more importantly about Christ? the saddest thing a Christian could say is "I'm just like everyone else." so maybe we know we're different on the inside but a wise woman once made a great point: "how will people know you are different if you don't look any different?"
come on, throw your objections at me, i guarantee i have tried every single one of them on myself and they flat-out do NOT fit on the sanctified Christian. my words are nonsense, they begin to fade as soon as they leave my mouth but the word of GOD does not fade and cannot be 'interpreted' away. these are truths that must be faced and toss my assumptions, face them with honesty and see what GOD tells YOU! perhaps i erred and made this too confronational. it is not my opinion that matters, we are not talking about your appearance before men because they will criticize doubt and persecute you no matter what i'm talking about when it really comes down to it. when you are at the moment that really counts, the 'good and faithful servant moment' do you really just want to 'get by'?