Living Pure and Holy Lives

Romans 12:1 ESV

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

What does it look like to live a pure and holy life? Well, to be pure is to be unmixed with the world. It is not to be intermingled with what is of this sinful world. It is to be unadulterated, uncontaminated by what is impure (wicked, evil, sinful), and it is to be wholesome. It is also to be genuine (not fake, not a phony, not a liar), i.e. it is to be a person of integrity who practices telling the truth and not lies. And it is to be free from corruption.

And to be holy means to be set apart (unlike, different) from the world because we are being made to be like Jesus in heart, mind, character, and actions. And it means to be righteous, godly, morally pure, upright, faithful, honest, and not corrupt or immoral or dishonest in our attitudes or in how we think, speak, live, and behave, i.e. it is to be holy in all our conduct. It doesn’t mean we are absolutely perfect, but we are walking in holiness.

And this can only be accomplished in the power of God via genuine God-given faith in Jesus Christ, and not in our own flesh. For flesh is incapable of putting flesh to death. Only by walking by the Spirit of God are we able to not fulfill (gratify) the sinful passions of the flesh. And we can only walk (in conduct, in practice) by the Spirit when we are yielded to the control of the Spirit over our lives. Our lives must first be surrendered to Jesus Christ.

And this is what it means to present our bodies to the Lord as living sacrifices. Our bodies now belong to the Lord if we are in genuine relationship with Jesus Christ. We are now his possession and he owns us and so our lives are to be given over to him to do his will and to live no longer according to our sinful flesh. For as long as we see our bodies as belonging to us we are more apt to do what the flesh dictates.

So many people today professing faith in Jesus Christ are still living in slavery to sin. They are still living to gratify the sinful cravings of the flesh. Many are trapped in addiction to sexual sin or to drugs or to alcohol or to other addictive substances and practices. And this is because their bodies have not been given to the Lord as living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, but they still see their bodies as belonging to them.

So, we cannot live godly and morally pure and upright and holy lives if our lives and our bodies are not surrendered to Jesus Christ as living sacrifices on his altar and if we are still holding on to control. And we cannot expect to live pure and holy lives if our eyes, minds, and spirits are being given over to the things of this sinful world – to the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life. All those things must be put to death in us!!

So, if we truly want to be free from addiction to sin and to live holy lives acceptable to God then we must surrender our lives and our bodies over to the Lord and relinquish control to him. And then we must walk no longer according to the flesh but now according to the Spirit in holiness and in righteousness, in obedience to our Lord and to his commands (New Covenant), in the power, wisdom and strength of Almighty God.

And this is our spiritual worship of God. Singing songs of praise and worship to the Lord is great, but if you are not surrendered to him, and if you are still walking in the flesh, living in addiction to sin, then you are not truly worshiping God. You are just going through the motions of worship, and the emotions of worship, but true worship of the Lord involves death to sin and living to God and to his righteousness.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]

Romans 12:2 ESV

“Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Now we touched on some of this already, but what does it look like if our lives are conformed to this world? It means we think the same, act the same, speak the same, and have the same mindset and attitudes and values and philosophies of this sinful world. There is no difference or not much at all between us and those who have not professed faith in Jesus Christ. We do the same things, speak about the same things, and think the same way.

For example, a lot of you are on social media. How do your posts on there compare to the posts of your friends who do not profess faith in Jesus Christ? Are they about the same? Only slightly different? Only partially suggestive but not totally vulgar? And what do your posts represent? Jesus Christ? Holiness, godliness, righteousness, integrity, and moral purity? Are you sharing the gospel with others? Or are your posts fleshly? Or sinful? And do they represent the world and not the Spirit? Is Jesus even on your mind?

Now I am certainly not saying that we have to be talking about Jesus all the time and that all of our social media posts need to be about Jesus. We can certainly talk about things like our children, our jobs, our experiences, or ask questions, or share pictures, or whatever might be suitable for human beings to do with each other. But we need to still be representing Jesus Christ, and we need to be moral and godly and upright in what we do.

And we should, as followers of Jesus Christ, be sharing the gospel of Christ with others, even with others who profess faith in Jesus Christ. For we have many professers of faith in Jesus in America who are not in genuine relationship with Jesus Christ because they are still walking in sin, according to the flesh, in doing what their sinful hearts desire, and they are not walking by the Spirit in not gratifying the sinful cravings of the flesh.

So, we need to be people of integrity who live pure and holy lives by the power of God and who are not giving ourselves over to the cravings of the sinful flesh. And it is possible to live this way when our lives are surrendered to Jesus Christ, and when, by the Spirit, we are making it our practice to daily say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts, and to live self-controlled, godly, and upright lives, by the Spirit, while we wait for our Lord’s return.

Feelings / Greg X. Volz

Been on this roller coaster too many days
Riding in a circus of emotion
I get up on the high wire and down in the lion’s cage
My feelings have been ruling my devotion

Feelings come and feelings go
But feelings are so deceiving
I place my faith in the word of the Lord
Nothing else is worth believing

If it feels good, they say it can’t be wrong
But love is more than a Kaliope song
How can I get back to where I belong?
Get off this Farris wheel; you’ve got to trust what is real.

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