Let’s talk about the elephant in the room: holiness!
It’s a journey. It’s a mystery. It’s a God thing that seems to have nothing to do with us.
For the last few weeks, we have been discussing holiness in our current sermon series. In week one, we recognized that we broke God’s trust when we sinned against him. We failed. All of us. And the first step in repairing our relationship with him is to admit that we failed.
During our second week of exploring this journey toward holiness, we talked about the past and the future. We recognize that we have spent too much time, an unhealthy amount of time, lamenting the past. The best way to eat this elephant called holiness is to break from the past. We cast our anchor into the future and secure it to Jesus who draws us forward. We are no longer sinners saved by grace. We are children of God being transformed by grace.
In week three, we were confronted with holiness beaconing us to be different.
Holiness is terrifying, overwhelming, and incomprehensible which is why we do our best to ignore it. God’s grace has given us freedom. And, while everything is permissible, not everything is beneficial. Yet, when we talk about holiness, we are not talking about preference or gray matters. God is calling us to be different; godly, holy.
St. Paul tells St. Timothy that in the last days…
“People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power.”
Paul is not talking about the world or non-Christians. He’s talking about the Church.
We [the Church in the U.S.] spend all of our time talking about those things that are “permissible, but not necessarily beneficial”. And we should be spending our time cleaning our house. Until we are walking in holiness, we have no authority with the world to comment on things permissible, but not beneficial.
Last week we left the discussion with unresolved tension. And it’s exactly where we need to be. We need to allow ourselves to feel the tension so that it can do its work in us.
On Sunday, we will work to resolve the tension. We will talk about bicycles, butterflies, and how to eat an elephant! We will work to answer the questions: what does it look like and how do we get there?