The Redeemed Live Holy Lives by Gospel-driven Reflection

“When Israel went out from Egypt, the house of Jacob from a people of strange language, Judah became his sanctuary, Israel his dominion.” – Psalm 114:1-2

When God led Israel out of bondage in Egypt, He did so because they were His people. In the desert He tabernacles among them. His presence took up residence in the Temple, in the Holy of Holies. Likewise the nation was to be comprised of holy people who were set apart unto God. Their holiness was to mark them as different from the other nations allowing them to witness to the changing power of the One true God.

Just as Israel were to be a holy people where the Lord dwelled, we are to be holy as well. Peter expands on the idea when he writes,

“As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” – 1 Peter 1:14-16

As children of God we are to be holy just as Christ is holy. Christ is the key. Just as Israel was redeemed from physical bondage in Egypt, we are redeemed from spiritual bondage by Jesus.

“knowing that you were ransomed from the futile ways inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without blemish or spot.” – 1 Peter 1:18-19

As Christians then, we are to be holy, aligning ourselves with God’s will and focusing our attention on Jesus as the motivation to live holy lives. Until we recognize that there is no other savior but Jesus, we will always run to other gods, to idols, to those things we believe will provide what only Jesus can.

In order to pursue holiness, your focus has to be on Jesus and the gospel. Holiness is not the result of work-driven effort, but of gospel-driven reflection.

A righteous life stems from a righteous heart

“Praise the LORD! Blessed is the man who fears the LORD, who greatly delights in his commandments!”

(Psalm 112:1)

God’s promise for us in Psalm 112 reveals that those who fear the Lord, who live in reverent awe of God, seeking to align their life with God’s will receive blessing from God.

The remainder of the Psalm goes on to highlight what it looks like to live as one who delights in God’s commandments, as one who is upright.

  • They are not greedy but generous (5a)
  • They are not unfair or unjust. Rather they deal justly in all their affairs (5b)
  • Bad news does not move them. Rather they continue to trust in the Lord (7).
  • They are not afraid of their enemy, instead they continue to trust in the Lord to vindicate (8).
  • They freely give to the poor, seeking to care for the marginalized and disadvantaged in the city (9).
  • They are able to give of their wealth and resources because they trust the Lord to provide for their needs, viewing their resources as those given by God whom they are to steward and use to meet the needs of the community in which God has placed them (9).

The psalms ends with a word about the wicked, who doesn’t desire the Lord’s commandments and thus is angry when he observes the righteous in action. The difference between the two characters is not external action but an internal desire. Those who fear God live a life aligned with God’s will and those who disdain God reject the will of the Lord.

The point being we can’t manufacture righteous actions. They do not spring forth from a heart that rejects the Lord. Our heart, our desires, our affections must first be given to God. Only if we have turned to the Lord can we truly live a righteous life. To say it another way, a righteous life cannot spring forth from a wicked well. The well must first be made righteous.

We cannot make ourselves righteous (Rom 3:9-20). Only the Lord can change our heart from a heart of stone to a heart of flesh that desires to live under His rule.

Ezekiel writes,

“And I will give them one heart, and a new spirit I will put within them. I will remove the heart of stone from their flesh and give them a heart of flesh, that they may walk in my statutes and keep my rules and obey them. And they shall be my people, and I will be their God.”

(Ezekiel 11:19-20)

Has the Lord changed your heart? Do you desire His rule? Are you living a righteous live in the power of the Holy Spirit or are you trying to live for God in your own power and strength?

If you are seeking God in your own power, it is most likely because you want something from Him or the community in which you live. You don’t want God for God. You are using God to meet your own desires. The righteous don’t use God. They are satisfied with God alone.

Revival Begins with Confession

“Both we and our fathers have sinned; we have committed iniquity; we have done wickedness.

Ps 106:6

Revival begins with confession. The psalmist confesses his sins along with the nation’s, repenting, not to seek his glory, but the Lord’s glory. 

Repentance is not easy, it is humbling, but if we want to accomplish our purpose in life, which is to glorify God, we must be willing to admit our sin.

Richard Lovelace in his book Dynamics of Spiritual Life says,

Luther was right: the root behind all other manifestations of sin is compulsive unbelief—our voluntary darkness concerning God, ourselves, his relationship to the fallen world and his redemptive purpose. For this reason the entrance and growth of new spiritual life involves the shattering of our sphere of darkness by repentant faith in redemptive truth. If the Fall occurred through the embracing of lies, the recovery process of salvation must center on faith in truth, reversing this condition.

Lovelace, Richard F., Dynamics of Spiritual Life: An Evangelical Theology of Renewal, Expanded Edition (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 1979), p. 90

Those who are willing to humble themselves in repentance will not be forsaken by the Lord. The psalmist, in today’s Psalm, makes it clear that the Lord is not out to get us. Instead, His steadfast love endures forever.

“Praise the Lord! Oh give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever!

Ps 106:1

John also makes it clear that those who repent will experience healing when he says,

“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us.

1 Jn 1:8–10

Because of the gospel, we can turn to the Lord. We can admit our sin. That is exactly what we must do if we want to experience revival. We must turn to the Lord in repentance.

When we turn to the Lord in repentance, we are seeking His glory over our own. We accomplish our purpose in life when we seek God’s glory because we were created to glorify God. When we seek to align ourselves with His will by humbly admitting our failures, our sin, and turning from sin towards God, we glorify Him.

Humble yourself under the mighty hand of God and experience His steadfast love today!