Perfecting Holiness

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

The Holy Spirit speaking through Paul quotes Isaiah 52:11 to help make the point that Christians are called out of the world and are to be separate—sanctified—set apart. We must live in the world, but we are not to be of the world

Simeon Stylite

In the 4th century a famous monk named Simeon Stylite, climbed a 60 foot column and spent the rest of his life up there. Simeon lived the last 37 years of his life, having food and drink and other necessities hoisted up to him in a basket. From the safe distance of 60 feet, he could preach to crowds without ever having to get near anyone. He was trying to practice 2Corinthians 6 but got it very wrong

Not of this world
Jesus prayed to the Father for His followers. “I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. …
“I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them by Your truth. Your word is truth. As You sent Me into the world, I also have sent them into the world” (John 17:9, 15-18).
Christ’s prayer was not just for those of that day, but for all who would read and accept their teaching from that time forward. “I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word” (verse 20).
The apostle John wrote, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17).

The name Pharisees literally means “the Separated Ones”. They spent their whole lives making rules to keep themselves from contamination. They built rules and regulations and clarifications around God’s word to keep them from accidentally disobeying God’s word.
God’s word said not to work on the Sabbath, so the Separated Ones wrote 50 volumes of rules and regulations mapping out how many paces a man was allowed to walk on the Sabbath, how heavy a burden he might carry, what he could or couldn’t do.

Jesus, on the other hand healed people on the Sabbath! On one Sabbath his disciples got hungry as they walked through the grain fields and began picking heads of grain to eat. Working on the Sabbath! Jesus not only healed people of leprosy on the Sabbath, he did it by touching them. He touched unclean lepers, which according to the law made him unclean. Jesus didn’t ceremoniously wash his hands before eating. Worst of all, Jesus associated with sinners, hanging out with them, having dinner with them in their homes. The Separate Ones mocked Jesus by calling him the “friend of sinners”.

Jesus called the Pharisees white-washed tombs – clean on the outside, filled with rotting, defiling dead bones on the inside. It is possible to have veneer of holiness yet to be completely unclean on the inside.

Matthew 15:10-20
After Jesus called the crowd to Him, He said to them, “Hear and understand. “It is not what enters into the mouth that defiles the man, but what proceeds out of the mouth, this defiles the man.”
Then the disciples *came and *said to Him, “Do You know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this statement?” But He answered and said, “Every plant which My heavenly Father did not plant shall be uprooted. “Let them alone; they are blind guides of the blind. And if a blind man guides a blind man, both will fall into a pit.”
Peter said to Him, “Explain the parable to us.” Jesus said, “Are you still lacking in understanding also? “Do you not understand that everything that goes into the mouth passes into the stomach, and is eliminated? “But the things that proceed out of the mouth come from the heart, and those defile the man. “For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, slanders. “These are the things which defile the man; but to eat with unwashed hands does not defile the man.”

Guard your hearts
Proverbs 4:23

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