Wednesday, July 18, 2012

The Choice is Yours…………..

It has often been said, "Cleanliness is next to godliness," but in this case, cleanliness is godliness.

John picks up that same theme when he says, "Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates into the city" (Rev. 22:14).

Sainthood is not a graduate degree in Christianity, but the entrance requirement.  A saint is not someone who is sinless, but someone who is forgiven.

The same people Paul called "saints" he also sternly rebuked for their sinful behavior.  In fact, he accused them of being worse than the heathen (1 Cor. 1:2; 5:1).

Saints are not sinless, just forgiven.

For too long we have tried to sell the world an easy religion that majors on "free grace" and minors on full obedience; a cheap faith that offers forgiveness without repentance and purity without washing.  

 Even the unreligious know that a religion that costs nothing and demands nothing is worth nothing.  It is a false religion of a false Christ who is pictured as coming simply to lower the standards of admission to the Kingdom of God so that almost everybody makes it.

We have forgotten about holiness without which no one can see God (1 Peter 1:15, 16).

The Bible gives another perspective on holiness with this beatitude: "Happy" are those who wash their robes." Holy living is happy living.  It is life at its best and fullest.  It is the fulfillment of Jesus' promise: "I came that they might have life, and might have it abundantly" (John 10:10).

You are as holy as you want to be.

The unholy defect is in your desire, NOT your circumstances.

 In all honesty you have to admit that you don't want to be a saint.  You are content to be an ordinary generic brand Christian, just a decent person.  But Jesus is not interested in spot-cleaning, tidying up around the edges where the dirt shows.  He wants to get the deep down dirt out.  He doesn't say, "Unless you are perfect I won't help you."  But He does say, "The only kind of help I'll give you is to become perfect" (Matt. 5:48).

You can get squeaky clean with steady use of the Christian's "bar of soap." 1 John 1:9 says, "If we confess our sins, he (Jesus) is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”  

When you soil your clothes, you wash them. You do not expect them to stay clean. The washing, though effective, is not permanent. If you get them dirty again, re-washing makes them clean again. The same procedure applies to your soul. God's cleansing is a continuing process.

The last beatitude of the Bible says, "Blessed are those who wash their robes that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter by the gates of the city."

Two special privileges are specified for clean saints.

First, they are given the right to the tree of life. That refers all the way back to the Garden of Eden when mankind fell into sin.

The second privilege of the saints is that they enter by the gates of the city. The Biblical story which began in a garden where mankind sinned ends in a city where even the horses and trash cans are holy (Zech. 14:20 LB).  The primeval curse has been repealed and the eternal blessing pronounced.

Your ticket through the pearly gates has been purchased by the precious blood of Jesus (Heb. 9:22; Rev. 1:5).

But only the saints will go marching in.  "Outside are the dogs and the sorcerer’s and the immoral persons and the murderers and the idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices lying" (Rev. 22:15).

In light of the context, it is obvious that believers are in view here. However, it is a mistake to conclude that all believers are meant.  Not all believers can be described as "those who do His commandments."

Jesus did not take it for granted that even the Apostles would obey Him! He said to them, "If you love Me, keep my commandments" ( John 14:15), and, "You are My friends if you do whatever I command you" (John 15:14).

The choice is really up to you.

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