Pursuing Moral Excellence, “Grace is opposed to earning, but grace is not opposed to effort.”
Salvation is by grace not of works for sure. There is nothing we can do to achieve a right standing before God devised by our own works to prove that we have value, thus God would have to allow us to be saved upon our merits. We know that is not the message of the Gospel. Yet, there is a tendency by some teachers in some churches to over emphasize that God requires nothing on our part to be in His will. This is the crux of the letter of James when he stresses works as proof of faith. Paul also was always pointing to grace and not works to make sure that we all knew that only God saves.
We are saved, if you wish, Signed, Sealed, and Delivered by the Blood of Christ. But, we are not saved from joining in on God’s plan of Holiness. Though we are made Holy through the Blood of Christ, we are also called to live a Holiness life which is done by participating with His Holy Spirit through our efforts, which is made possible because the Holy Spirit dwells in us.
Our relationship is not static, lacking in movement, action, or change. Yes, static that God saves and we cannot save ourselves, but in our daily walk in Christ we are to be changing, moving in our pursuing of God’s Will. We had a Journey Blog entitled “WHY DO WE STUMBLE ALONG LIFE’S PATH AS WE WALK WITH GOD?” back in the August. There we talked about I Peter 2:2-20. Here in this discussion I want us to narrow our sights on the idea of “Pursuing Moral Excellence”.
2 Peter 1:3-5 (NASB) “… seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust. Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge,…”
In the 1960-70s there was a moralistic push for God’s people to live a life of purity. Somehow people began to think that by living a moral life they would be saved, not fully understanding that a moralistic approach to God is a disaster waiting to happen. There is nothing in the nature of a man or woman that can produce a godly life. Their spirit is dead unto God and their soul (mind, emotion, and will) are not led by God’s Spirit. There was a mistake in the teaching of that era of time with thinking that living a moralistic life set you right with God verses teaching that you must be saved first, filled with the Holy Spirt and then, pursues a life of holiness through Moral Excellence.
So how do we go about pursuing a life of moral excellence? Peter’s statement leads us to the truth that everything we need pertaining to life and godliness is through Him. Because we have escaped the corruption of this world and are partakers in His divine nature, we have power through the Holy Spirit to say no to the things that pull us into living beneath the Will of God as we sojourn here on this earth till He returns for His Bride.
Do the things of this world pull us away from God’s call to pursuing moral excellence? Have we relied on false teachings that say it is all about Grace and not about spiritual works as well? Remember, we are not talking about salvation, we are talking about walking in God’s Will for our lives through righteous works to which the Scriptures calls us to. Remember the Stumble Blog, where we said that we simply do not have to stumble. We may stumble, but let’s not plan on it by refusing to join the Holy Spirit’s call to us to pull away from the things of this world.
Now, let’s get down and dirty. I am assured that I have sinned by watching shows I should not watch, (I ain’t telling which ones), listening to conversations that are border line gossiping, joining in with ungodly chatter, listening to music that is not of God. I could name hundreds of events in my life where I was spiritually lazy and should have stopped what I was doing. Well, how do you know what to not watch, listen to, participate in, etc.? Ask yourself, “What am I feeding my mind, heart, and soul with?
We need to learn to trust what the Word says and walk away from those sinful things that so easily entangle us. Remember it is the Work of the Spirit that guides you as you determine to “Pursue Moral Excellence.” But you have to participate with the Holy Spirit’s call to Moral Excellence. And God has given you the ability to do so, “…Seeing that His Divine Power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and Excellency…”
At this point in this Blog, I am thinking that I need to Pursue Moral Excellence, what about you?