GOD CALLED US IN HOLINESS
"For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness" (I Thess. 4:7).
Paul clearly declares that God has not called us, saved us, and sanctified us for us to continue on in a life of uncleanness. Going towards or having fellowship with or unto uncleanness would be our own choice using our unrenewed or fleshly mind. Paul does not contrast this and say that God has called us TO holiness, but God has called us IN holiness (I Thess. 4:7). What is the difference whether it is TO or IN holiness? The real difference is the source of the involved action. For the first part we make decisions whether we are involved with uncleanness or not. For the second part we were called IN holiness when we were put in Christ at the Spirit rebirthing and Christ was put in us. That is sourced and done in, by, and through the Holy Spirit. Certainly, it is the will of God, since He has called and sanctified you in Christ, that you should choose to abstain from sexual immorality (I Thess. 4:3). It is the will of God, "that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor" (I Thess. 4:4).
Paul tells us, "But of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God –and righteousness and sanctification and redemption – that, as it is written, 'He who glories, let him glory in the Lord' " (I Cor. 1:30-31). Our Heavenly Father made Christ wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption for us. When we were put in Christ Jesus, we received His wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. Paul said, "God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth" (II Thess. 2:13). Both sanctification and holiness come from the exact same Greek word hagiasmos. By the Holy Spirit, we were set apart for God or sanctified for His use at salvation. At salvation, we also received the nature and character of Christ appropriated to us. Christ has justified us, and we now have the Holy One – Christ living in us as us. We have a shared-life in Christ, and our Father looks on us and sees us, as a part of the righteousness and holiness of His Son in us. What amazing grace!
We must have a Holy Spirit renewed mind, filled with the revelation truth of Christ living in us as us, with His crucified life expressed today through the situations and circumstances we face. That's what Paul is talking about when he says, "we have this treasure in earthen vessels". . ."always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body" (II Cor. 4:7,10). We are being conformed to His image (Rom. 8:29). As we let Christ fully express Himself with the Spirit-renewed mind, we will observe His lordship and life expression increase in us. Our God called us in holiness, and He will express holiness in us (I Thess. 5:24). As Lord, Christ will flow through us, from obedience to righteousness, from righteousness to holiness, and from holiness into His full expression of His eternal life (Rom. 6:16,19,22).V
Written by Dwight Davis
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