Monday, March 28, 2011

A Holy Christian Is A Happy Christian

by Elisabeth Elliot


If we aim at happiness in this
world, we will probably miss the
mark of holiness. But if we aim
at holiness, we cannot fail to be
happy.



As we consider the subject of
holiness, we must remember that
it is God’s will that we be holy. Paul
wrote that in I Thessalonians 4:2,3.
Being holy may seem theoretical
and theological—even irrelevant.
But being holy is extremely practical.


People who are truly holy are
much easier to live with because
certain things characterize their
lives. First, holy people are selfless.
They have not thought whatsoever
of themselves. Also, holy people are
characterized by serenity.


The real definition of holiness
from the Old Testament is “set apart.”
The holy vessels of the tabernacle in
the wilderness were not made of a
different kind of gold than a king’s
vessels or a different kind of brass
than any common person would
have in his house. They might not
even have been a different shape
or design. The vessels used in the
tabernacle were holy because they
were set apart for God from the
ordinary.



Every Christian is meant to be
a holy vessel, bearing the life and
death of Jesus. And the life and
death of Jesus are not commodities
assembled on an assembly line
but a living work accomplished in
personal sanctification.



Paul used the term “vessel,” in one
form or another, over and over in his
epistles. “We have this treasure in
jars of clay,” he said, “to show that
this all-surpassing power is from
God and not from us” (II Cor. 4:7). If
we call ourselves Christians, then
we are saying that we are willing
to identify ourselves totally with
Christ’s death and resurrection—to
come to the cross and to be crucified
with Christ. That is the prerequisite
for being raised with Christ. It
is a living work accomplished daily
and continuously in our personal
sanctification.



The Apostle Peter begins, “From
Peter, apostle of Jesus Christ to
those of God’s scattered people who
lodge for a while in Pontus, Galatia,
Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia [he
is writing to exiles]—chosen of old
in the purpose of God the Father,
hallowed to his service by the Spirit”
(I Pet. 1: 1,2. NEB).



We say the word “hallowed” when
we say the Lord’s Prayer, but what
does it mean? The word “hallowed”
means set apart or holy, Peter used
the expression for these exiles who
were Christians. If this applied to
the exiles in Peter’s day, then it applies
to all who have come to Christ
in faith.



Peter went on to say, “The inheritance
to which we are born is one
that nothing can destroy or spoil or
wither. It is kept for you in heaven,
and you, because you put your faith
in God, are under the protection of
his power until salvation comes—
the salvation which is even now in
readiness will be revealed at the end
of time” (v.4,5).



God has said that we were chosen
to be holy, Notice that these verses
do not say that we are chosen to be
made happy, even though in God’s
Book holiness is synonymous with
happiness. We have to sort that out
from our corrupted notions of happiness
that the world gives us.



What does it mean to be holy? In
Ephesians 1:4 we read: “In Christ he
[God] chose us before the world was
founded.” We have been born again
“into a living hope” (I Pet. 1:3). That
tells us that our future is a perfect
inheritance, which is being kept or
guarded for us beyond the reach of
change and decay. And this means
joy, for in verse six we read: “This
is cause for great joy, even though
now you smart for a little while, if
need be, under trials of many kinds.”



Are you smarting from trials of
many kinds? Almost every one of
us is smarting at least a little from
something somebody said to us
yesterday, some rudeness, some lack
of gratitude or appreciation. It may
be just a little thing, but it hurts or
smarts.



Peter went on to say that this is no
accident. “Even gold passes through
the assayer’s fire , more precious
than perishable gold is faith which
has stood the test. These trails come
so that your faith may prove itself
worthy of all praise, glory, and honor
when Jesus Christ is revealed” (v.7).



Going through trials is cause
of joy. It is not for nothing that
God has allowed that “smart.” It is
planned. That gives us hope and
confidence. So it is true that if we
aim at happiness in this world, we
are probably going to miss the mark
of holiness. But if we aim at holiness,
we can’t fail to be happy. One
of my life verses is Psalm 119: 14,
“I have found more joy along the
path of thy commandments than
in any kind of wealth.”



Every experience in your life, if offered
to Jesus, can be your gateway
to joy. It can also be the context
in which God will bring you closer
to the model of holiness set by His
Son, Jesus Christ. We don’t have to
be perfect to be holy, even though
perfection is our object and Jesus
commanded us to be perfect. But
God begins by calling us apart,
separating us from the world , and
then working in us as we respond to
Him in faith to make us holy.CL


Source: Back to the Bible International