Note: This is the second in a three-part series. For part one, click here.
The Bible says we should worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness and give Him the glory due His name (Psalm 96:8-9). Holiness is not external piety or self-righteousness, but worshipping Him with a depth of consecration that says, "God, my life is not my own. You purchased me with a price; do what You want to do. That's the glory due Your name for what You've done for me." Yet too often, we see the church profaning the holy in the name of grace.
The Holy Spirit is going throughout the church (for judgment starts in the house of the Lord), shedding light on compromise and complacency; revealing places where we are trampling the Spirit of grace and no longer respecting the Spirit of holiness. We've profaned the holy things of God.
In the Ezekiel 43:6-7, we read: "Then I heard one speaking to me out of the temple. And a man stood by me. He said to me: Son of man, this is the place of My throne and the place of the soles of My feet, where I will dwell in the midst of the sons of Israel forever. And My holy name shall the house of Israel defile no more, nor they nor their kings by their harlotry, nor by the corpses of their kings when they die."
He continues in v. 8: "By setting their threshold by My threshold and their post by My posts and the wall between Me and them, they have even defiled My holy name by their abominations that they have committed. Therefore I have consumed them in My anger."
God gives us careful instructions on how to serve and worship Him, but often we choose to do things our own way; it's almost a mirror image, but it's not from God. When Moses was getting the blueprint for the tabernacle, consider what would have happened if others were listening in and wrote down exactly what God was saying. They could have gone and built exactly what they heard God say to build, thinking He would bless it. But God is not obligated to anoint what merely mirrors Him; He is only obligated to anoint what He specifically directs.
Think of our Constitution. Those who don't understand the spirit of the Founding Fathers try to amend it to fit what they want. We've seen this in the high courts of the land, with those who have set themselves as god in the house of God (2 Thessalonians 2:4). The Bible is very clear that God intended marriage for one man and one woman: "Therefore a man will leave his father and his mother and be joined to his wife, and they will become one flesh" (Gen. 2:24). Through the Supreme Court's decision on June 26, 2015 our judges decided to redesign and redefine God 's holy plan for marriage. They want to dictate to the church and to the people how God is supposed to operate. But God is not obligated to man.
Likewise, God's Word is our Constitution. When we interpret it according to our human ideals, we become dictators, creating legalism to force people into subservience; or we create amendments to make God's Word into a license to do what we want. Both ways lead to bondage. When we build our own threshold or doorpost next to God's, we put enmity between God and us, and create our own abominations. Only when we understand the Spirit of God's heart can we be a people who will worship Him in spirit and in truth.
True holiness—not legalism or license—is what will set the church apart from everything else in the world. God's divine holiness needs to radiate from the church. We must be "the light of the world. A city that is set on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a basket, but on a candlestick. And it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (Matt. 5:14-16).
The Spirit of Grace
God gives us the grace not to justify our sins but to overcome the works of the flesh. When we yield our spirit, mind, and body to Him and say, "Not my will but Yours be done," the great grace of God empowers to us to walk in the fullness of the godhead bodily and to literally be a testament to the greatness of our God in difficult times.
Hebrews 10:26-27, 29 says: "For if we willfully continue to sin after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a fearful expectation of judgment and fiery indignation, which will devour the adversaries. ... How much more severe a punishment do you suppose he deserves, who has trampled under foot the Son of God, and has regarded the blood of the covenant that sanctified him to be a common thing, and has insulted the Spirit of grace?
"Adversaries" here are not just those against God, but anyone—even those professing to follow God—who would come and set up their own doorpost or threshold mirroring God's, but not being yielded to Him; they are complacent and compromised, wanting God's blessings but not yielded to Him.
In the same way, Jesus looks out for us, cares for us, cherishes us; He poured out His love for us, died for us, and is always standing at the right hand of the Father interceding for us. He has earned the right for us to call Him Lord because of all He has done for us. It's the glory due His name.
Yet the grace of God is trampled when we count the blood of the covenant—which He shed for us to sanctify us—a common thing. How can you profane something so holy? We profane the holiness of God when we claim grace but build our own doorpost and our own threshold; when we justify our sinful actions instead of being justified by faith; and when we choose not to honor and respect God—this all amounts to trampling underfoot the Son of God Himself and insulting the Spirit of Grace. We need to be under the blood instead of having the blood under us!
Not only do we trample God's grace underfoot when we use it as a license to sin, we are also guilty of withholding grace from others. After Jonah delivered God's message to the Ninevites, God "changed His mind about the disaster that He had said He would bring upon them" (Jonah 3:10). However, instead of being pleased that God saved a city and reveling in His mercy, Jonah was angry. He felt that God should have destroyed them.
The church's attitude should not be that of Jonah's. Just as we have received the grace of God, we must also bestow grace on others. It's wrong for the church to enjoy God's grace while withholding it from America.
God Makes a Way
Just as God did with Jonah, He is going to make a way for us to do what we are called to do. He knows what we can handle; we are temples of His Holy Spirit, and we are called for spiritual battle. The Holy Spirit pleads through us and implores us to draw others unto Him. We experience His best plan for us when we walk in the place of simple obedience, which is the highest form of worshipping God.
We can do nothing without the Lord. We need sharp and clear minds to communicate what the Holy Spirit says, so we can walk in a spirit of power and love and with a sound mind, not fear. When we place our confidence in Him and not in ourselves, He will always have His way.
Doug Stringer is the founder and president of Somebody Cares America/International. You can find him online at DougStringer.com.
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