If you want to talk about holiness in the Christian life, please see it not as a matter of a servant learning to be a “better person” so he can get a “Reward” and make his “boss happier.”That’s not what this is. This is a sick person being nursed back to life very gently by the Physician.
Mat_12:20 A bruised reed shall he not break, and smoking flax shall he not quench, till he send forth judgment unto victory.
He is so gentle and works so slowly. If He were to suddenly bend a bruised reed back into place, it would break. If He were to blow too hard on smoking flax, it would be quenched. So God works by the Comforter. He gave us the Spirit, the Comforter. The first time we see the Spirit in the Bible is in Genesis, where He “brooded” over the water of the deep before God said, “let there be light.” The word “brooding” is like a mother hen over her chicks.
Remember, Jesus said:
Mat_23:37 O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!
He talked to people who hated Him so much that they killed all the prophets and were going to kill Him too. He was weeping over them, saying, “I’m like a mother hen. I would love to gather you and comfort you.” His heart towards them is unfathomably compassionate. If we don’t understand that, we will go to the law if we don’t have that backdrop when we talk about sanctification.
Remember that the law was given at Sinai. This was a smoking mountain that nobody could approach. God was speaking there from a dark cloud with lightning and thunder. As He spoke the commandments of the law out of His own audible voice, there was the sound of a trumpet that got louder and louder and louder as He spoke the commandments until the people were on their knees with their hands over their ears. They were begging Moses to get God to stop talking to them! They said, “we never want to hear His voice again!”
Hebrews talks about how we have not come to that mount (Heb 12:18). We are not in this terrifying situation where we are dealing with the Law Giver, where if you even touch the mount, you would die. Moses said, “I exceedingly fear and quake” (Heb 12:21!). God was a consuming fire on the mount. That is not our position. Unfortunately, that atmosphere has permeated our view of holiness!
There is an element of that because Our God is holy, and He is a consuming fire. However, this was before God became a man. I’m not sure, but I believe the Gospels were written last. The doctrinal wars had been going on, and people had been arguing for this and that the Gospels were circulating among the Churches. People started reading stories about God-Man, who suddenly puts everything in this context of Divinity in Humanity. He suddenly puts everything in the context of being a Physician. The thing you’re calling “sin,” I’m calling “Sickness.” You’re calling down God’s judgment, and I’m calling “9-1-1.”
We have to use our imagination. Paul talks about having a pure imagination. Genesis says that “every imagination of their hearts was only evil continually.” Who do you think God is? He is known in Jesus Christ. No man has ever seen God, the only begotten Son who is in the Bosom of the Father has revealed Him (John 1:16). God is only knowable through Jesus Christ.
Suppose you have the knowledge of God that is based on images from the Old Testament where God is doing these dramatic miracles and delivering the people, destroying the enemies, but have not clothed your knowledge of that power with the face of Jesus Christ. In that case, you don’t know God! Satan will take advantage of that, and you will have a different God.
That’s what the Pharisees and religious types have. They actually do not know God at all. Even though they read the Bible all the time, they are “veiled” (2 Cor 3:15). 2 Corinthians 4:6 tells us that the God who called light out of darkness has shined in our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ.” Remember we said that the Comforter, the Spirit, brooded on the deep waters like a Hen and God called light out of the darkness. This is the same. God has brooded on our heart in a nurturing way and shined in the darkness of our hearts to illuminate the knowledge of His glory in the face of Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ is not just the Son of God dwelling in unapproachable light with the Angels worshipping Him, the Ancient of Days, Jehovah I Am. Jesus Christ is the Man who was born of a virgin. A 13-year-old girl in a manger gave birth to Him. He was a man of sorrows and rejected of men, acquainted with grief. He bore our iniquities and was wounded for our transgressions and bruised for our iniquities. The chastisement of our peace was upon Him (Is 53:5). He gave His beard to the mockers and the spitters (Is 50:6). He was disfigured beyond recognition so that He no longer even looked human when He was up on the cross (Is 52:14). He set aside (hid) the form of His glory and took upon the likeness of a servant (Phil 2:7). He even became lower than a servant. He went as low as you can go in human estimation, dying as a blasphemous, false prophet, sower of sedition, lunatic, the wanna-be king who claimed to be God. He died on the cross, the most humiliating and agonizing kind of death. But then, He went even lower. He became sin and even became the curse for us (Gal 3:13; 2 Cor 5:21). Not only that, but The “bronze serpent” typified him on the pole(John 3:14-15). He came in order to condemn sin in His flesh, judge it, and terminate It in His flesh (Rom 8:3). He said, “My God, why Have you forsaken Me?” (Mt 27:46).
Because He was righteous, He cried out and was Heard. In His travail, He wept great tears and was heard and was raised from the dead.
Heb 5:7 Who in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared;
Now God has raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His own right hand in the Heavenlies and He has inherited a name greater than that of Angels (Heb 1:4). This Man, who has been through all of that, who has tasted death for you (Heb 2:9), who is touched with the feelings of your weakness and is sympathetic (Heb 4:15), who cried over Jerusalem and said “I would long to have gathered you” – this was God in Christ, reconciling us to Himself, not counting our sins against us (2 Cor 5:19).
God was reconciling enemies to Himself. We were heirs of wrath by nature Eph 2:1-3). We were hostile to Him (Rom 8:7). We were alienated from Him (Col 1:21). He became a man and went through all of that for us. While we were enemies, while we were cursing Him. At the same time, we were sinning against Him. He was saying, “Look, I’m not calling the police, I’m calling 9-1-1! I’m not calling for judgment, I’m getting you to the hospital!”
That is Jesus Christ! That is God!