Sunday, March 9, 2014

Holiness in Action!

Just then a man in their synagogue who was possessed by an impure spirit cried out, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!” Mark 1:23-24
Have you ever wondered what the Holiness of God looks like?  Well - in this scripture - it appears that "impure spirits" do - and they point directly at Jesus.  

Jesus is the Holy One of God - because, well, God is Holy and Jesus is Immanuel (God with us).  

There's tons of stories in the scriptures that talk about how Jesus interacts with people - messed up people - and how He loves them.  One of my favorites is almost right after the impure spirit calls Jesus out - it's a fascinating picture of God's Holiness in action.  It's also an image that kind of bucks the traditional view of how many people see God's Holiness:
A man with leprosy came to him and begged him on his knees, “If you are willing, you can make me clean.” Jesus was indignant.  He reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately the leprosy left him and he was cleansed.” Mark 1:40-42
The Holy One of God - touches (embraces) the unclean man - and the unclean man is made clean.  But - listen carefully - The HOLY ONE TOUCHES THE UNCLEAN.
If you've grown up within a traditional church gathering, this may be a difficult a picture for you to wrap your head around.  We're often taught the opposite about God from the pulpit.  Often in churches - Holiness and “sin” can’t be in the same place.  I’ve heard many preachers say, “Sin is separation from God.”  They’ll often point to the “holiness” of God as a reason why God is separate - Holiness and sin can’t be in the same place at the same time.
But what do you do with Jesus?  He doesn’t seem to fit into this model.  God (the Holy One) becomes a man.  Throughout His life - He consistently hangs out with sinners.  He's even kissed by Judas at the moment of betrayed!  You can’t really get closer than a kiss - and Judas' "sin" couldn't be any bigger.

Isn’t it like Jesus to break all the rules - and jump outside of the boxes we try to put Him in? 
God came near: “Emmanuel - God with Us.”  
Going further - the scriptures say:  
“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Cor. 5:21
Think about that for a second.  God made Jesus to BE SIN - for us.  In other words - Jesus became SIN - our sin.  Let's put that in other words.  He became lust, anger, envy, malice, greed, etc.  And not just our sin - but the sins of the whole world - throughout all of time! 
Going even deeper - Jesus BECAME murder, thievery, molestation, rape, fighting, war, abandonment, depression, abuse, addiction, and on and on and on.
Jesus became sin - unclean.  
Hear what I’m trying to say:
JESUS IS CLOSER THAN WE EVER IMAGINED!  He is with us when we sin - He's not separate.  He became our sin - our worst!  He doesn't just see our sin - he became it!!!
The bible says - "the wages of sin is death..."
He had to die.  Jesus HAD to die.  He was sin, so He had to die.  
But - (how beautiful): although He died - God couldn't stay dead.  Christ is life!  And when He came out from the other side side of the grave (alive and clean!) He invited us into that brand new life - His life - a resurrection life - eternal life.  

23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23 

The leper pleaded, "if you are willing, You can make me clean."
Jesus replied with a resounding: "I AM WILLING - BE CLEAN!" - to the leper - and to us!
And - with that - we are clean.  WE ARE CLEAN!
God embraces us at our worst - while we are unclean (just like the leper).  God touched us - and becomes our worst - in order to ultimately set us free.  He absorbed our uncleanliness and He took it with Him to the cross.  ALL OF OUR SIN DIED AT THE CROSS!
I could go on and on - but - isn't that amazing - awesome?  Our sin is dead.  It is finished!  
Soooo - what’s Holiness look like?
“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8
May God’s Holiness be evident in us as we embrace those in our lives that are living at their “worst.”
Because - that's what Love does.




1.  Jesus isn't surprised by our "sin" or uncleanliness.
2.  Jesus isn't afraid of our sin - or uncleanliness.  
3.  Jesus has complete and total power over sin
4.  Jesus is closer to us than we realize - even when we hide in (or are in the midst of) our darkness.
5.  Jesus embraces us at our worst
6.  The consequence and power of sin died on the cross with Jesus
7.  Holiness in action is "the Word became flesh and dwelt among us."

And lastly -"Jesus" (in these above statements) can be switched with:  God.  Father.  Holy Spirit.  (i.e.  Jesus/God/Father/Holy Spirit isn't surprised by our "sin" or uncleanliness)