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Vieraskieliset / In-english

Blog: Am I holy?

Vieraskieliset / In-english
17.5.2020 6.50

Juttua muokattu:

14.5. 16:19
2020051416194020200517065000

I am an or­dai­ned mi­nis­ter, and or­dai­ned mi­nis­ters are ex­pec­ted to show dig­ni­fied man­ners, exemp­la­ry life and com­mit­ment to God’s word. In some way, or­dai­ned mi­nis­ters are even re­qui­red to be holy. I al­so con­fess my­self to be a be­lie­ving per­son, a child of God. Be­lie­ving pe­op­le are ex­pec­ted to be sin­less and per­fect, at le­ast when they have fal­len in­to sin.

I do not feel my­self to be holy eit­her as an or­dai­ned mi­nis­ter or as a Chris­ti­an and a hu­man being. I am qui­te start­led by the qu­es­ti­on in the tit­le. Could I ever be holy? I feel anyt­hing but holy. Am I not on­ly evil and sin­ful on my own part? Like Paul, I must say: “For I know that good it­self does not dwell in me, that is, in my sin­ful na­tu­re. For I have the de­si­re to do what is good, but I can­not car­ry it out.” (Rom. 7:18)

There are pe­op­le who try to do eve­ryt­hing to per­fec­ti­on. The ef­fort to be as good as pos­sib­le or per­fect is cal­led per­fec­ti­o­nism. The un­he­alt­hy side of per­fec­ti­o­nism is ina­bi­li­ty ac­cept anyt­hing im­per­fect in life. That ma­kes life cons­tant am­bi­ti­on and as­pi­ra­ti­on.

Pe­op­le can al­so strive to be per­fect in their spi­ri­tu­al life. They may try to ple­a­se God with their own works and to de­vo­te their whole life to Him. Some re­li­gi­ons al­low a per­son who has shown he­roic vir­tue in life to be dec­la­red a saint, to whom pe­op­le can turn in in­ter­ces­so­ry pra­yer.

As a yo­ung man Mart¬in Lut¬her wan­ted to de­vo­te all his life to God and the­re­fo­re be­ca­me a monk. He wan­ted to ple­a­se God by his mo­nas­tic life. He had been taught that, if a per­son does all things in his po­wer, God will not deny him His grace. But the pos­si­bi­li­ty to ple­a­se God by mo­nas­tic life did not pro­vi­de a so­lu­ti­on. Out­ward­ly he was a de­vout monk, but he still felt un­cer­tain and des­pe­ra­te, won­de­ring if the things he was ab­le to do would suf­fi­ce be­fo­re God.

God al­lo­wed des­pai­ring Lut­her to make a mo­men­tous dis­co­ve­ry: Neit­her hu­man love nor any hu­man deeds can re­ach God. Ins­te­ad, God for­gi­ves sins for free be­cau­se of the me­rit of Christ. A di­vi­ne exc­han­ge ta­kes place. Christ ta­kes away pe­op­le’s sins and gi­ves them His own righ­te­ous­ness and ho­li­ness. Pe­op­le can ac­cept this tre­a­su­re through faith, which is not a re­ward for what they have done but a gift of God.

But isn’t God alo­ne holy? We read in the Bib­le: ”For this is what the high and exal­ted One says — he who li­ves fo­re­ver, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but al­so with the one who is cont­ri­te and low­ly in spi­rit, to re­vi­ve the spi­rit of the low­ly and to re­vi­ve the he­art of the cont­ri­te.’” (Isa. 57:15.) God’s name, es­sen­ce and word are holy. He li­ves in a high and holy place, where we as hu­mans can­not en­ter. And yet He al­so cal­ls us and wants to live with those who long for His pre­sen­ce be­cau­se of their sin­ful­ness and we­ak­ness.

When Apost­le Paul wrote a let­ter to the Chris­ti­ans in Rome, he gree­ted them like this: ”To all in Rome who are lo­ved by God and cal­led to be his holy pe­op­le” (Rom. 1:7). Paul al­so ad­d­res­sed the Chris­ti­an is Co­los­sae as ”God’s cho­sen pe­op­le, holy and de­ar­ly lo­ved” (Col. 3:12). A foot­no­te of the Bib­le tel­ls us that the word holy was ori­gi­nal­ly ap­p­lied to mem­bers of the Je­ru­sa­lem cong­re­ga­ti­on and la­ter to mem­bers of all cong­re­ga­ti­ons. Ac­cor­ding to God’s word, the­re­fo­re, be­lie­ving pe­op­le, inc­lu­ding me, are holy, alt­hough it seems un­be­lie­vab­le!

When and how does a per­son be­co­me ”God’s cho­sen and holy”? That hap­pens when he is pre­ac­hed all sins for­gi­ven in Je­sus’ name and ato­ning blood through the Holy Spi­rit in God’s king­dom. At that mo­ment he re­cei­ves the gift of Christ’s me­rit and ho­li­ness. Even I, alt­hough I was a sin­ful and evil hu­man being, be­ca­me righ­te­ous through faith and a holy one of Christ.

Sanc­ti­fi­ca­ti­on is a work of God through His Holy Spi­rit. Mart¬in Lut¬her exp­lains this in his Lar­ge Ca­tec­hism: ”I be­lie­ve that the Holy Ghost ma­kes me holy, as His name imp­lies. But whe­re­by does He ac­comp­lish this, or what are His met­hod and me­ans to this end? Ans­wer: By the Chris­ti­an Church, the for­gi­ve­ness of sins, the re­sur­rec­ti­on of the body, and the life ever­las­ting. For, in the first place, He has a pe­cu­li­ar cong­re­ga­ti­on in the world, which is the mot­her that be­gets and be­ars eve­ry Chris­ti­an through the Word of God, which He re­ve­als and pre­ac­hes, [and through which] He il­lu­mi­nes and en­kind­les he­arts, that they un­ders­tand, ac­cept it, cling to it, and per­se­ve­re in it.”

When a per­son be­lie­ves out of grace and be­gins to fol­low Je­sus in His cong­re­ga­ti­on, sanc­ti­fi­ca­ti­on by the Holy Spi­rit be­gins in his life. That was what al­so hap­pe­ned in my life, alt­hough I did not be­co­me a saint or a per­fect per­son, be­cau­se I am sin­ful on my own part.

My old por­ti­on did not and can­not re­pent. It is the sin­ful body. We must haul it along un­til we are bu­ried in the grave. Quo­ting Lut­her: ”For now we are on­ly half pure and holy, so that the Holy Ghost has ever [some re­a­son why] to con­ti­nue His work in us through the Word, and dai­ly to dis­pen­se for­gi­ve­ness, un­til we at­tain to that life where there will be no more for­gi­ve­ness, but on­ly per­fect­ly pure and holy pe­op­le, full of god­li­ness and righ­te­ous­ness, re­mo­ved and free from sin, de­ath, and all evil, in a new, im­mor­tal, and glo­ri­fied body.”

Text: Ola­vi Val­li­vaa­ra

Trans­la­ti­on: Sirk­ka-Lii­sa Lei­no­nen

You will find the ori­gi­nal blog post here.

3.6.2020

Jee­sus sa­noo: "To­ti­ses­ti, to­ti­ses­ti: sil­lä, joka us­koo, on ikui­nen elä­mä." Joh. 6:47

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