Live Like Jesus
1 John 2:2-17
Holiness begins when we choose to live in Christ. Before we meet and get to know Jesus, we have no understanding of the depth of our separation from God.
We may believe ourselves to be ‘good people’, and we may even have constructed a world-view that sets up lifestyle choices or patterns of behaviour that we deem to be ‘good and upright’.
Without the guidance of God and the ‘atoning sacrifice of Jesus for our sins’, we are adrift in our lives, setting the standard for our moral and spiritual code from the culture around us. That culture is not simply the backdrop of our community or county, even of our country, but it is a global influence drip fed to us through media of different types.
Our little children are easily educated into consumerism of war and selfishness through the targetted advertising of fighting and winning, of conforming to a set standard through the toys and games, the activities and programmes that they take in.
Social media and the world of memes expresses its own critique on who we are and what we believe. Often world-wide in its influence, the global culture we inhabit as we take on the views of political and economic regimes through its portrayal on TV and news channels as well as the voice of acceptability or indictment we receive through the telly we watch. We are influenced. We are chameleon-like and begin to blend into the cultural climate of our dominating influencers.
This has an effect our holiness. What does it mean for us to be a holy people in both church and society when the odds against holiness are so high?
Holiness begins when we choose to reject the world’s authority for our morality and judgement. Instead, we choose the Law of God and the Way of Jesus. This means stepping into a new culture - which is stepping into the kingdom of God.
This begins with Jesus.
John always begins with Jesus. “in the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” John 1:1
In our beginning of holiness, we choose to heed the call of Jesus and to step into the world of salvation. We have a right to do this because we step in through Jesus who is the ‘door’ and the ‘way’.
He is ‘the only way’. In the kingdom of God, we see that there is a new way of living. The old has gone. The way of life is evident. It is through receiving Jesus as he atoning sacrifice for our sins. And we must each do this personally. My sins are not the same as yours, but they are equally effective at keeping us from God, from being Holy. There are some things that we all do that keep us in a fallen state, falling from the standard of God’s glory, but in Christ, we are able to shake those off also.
We notice in 1 John 2 that there is a feel of the Covenant that God made with the Hebrew people - requiring them to keep the command of the Law. Here, too , there is a command placed on us. Holiness demands a keeping close to Jesus and to learn of his ways in order that we might become like him in who we are and what we do.
What are Jesus’ commands? He said that he did not come to abolish the law but to fulfil it - so everything in the 10 commandments still holds. But the new commandment of ‘love one another as I have loved you’ is a kingdom value that is of Jesus.
To step into holiness is to step into the kingdom of God.
We make holiness too complicated when we try to identify its constituent parts. It begins with accepting Jesus as your saviour and committing to remain close to him so that his attributes become yours as you love as he loved, trust as he trusts and are obedient to God as he was… easy…
Except for when it isn’t.
Living with a light outside your window, you never experience the darkness. There is always a radiance that will shine.
One year, I was camping with my youth group at a Big Event and we had got lost on the way there, so the camping opportunities were quite limited when we arrived at the site. My pitch was under the beam of a security light. I was able to find everything I needed in my tent all week. There were no dark corners or hidden areas. Everything could be seen, day or night. I could even read when I settled down.
We become accustomed to the goodness of living in the light of Christ. We are made holy as the sin is revealed in the light’s presence. Our attitude to godly living is not begrudging -but delighted in.
Hatred and love need to be sorted out. We sort them out in the Kingdom of God.
Pride and arrogance need to be sorted out. WE sort them out in the Kingdom of God.
Despising our Christian brother or sister needs sorting out. Again, this is done in the Kingdom of God.
Where is this kingdom?
It is the place where our sins are forgiven, the place of our atonement - the person of Jesus.
Where is the evidence of the Kingdom’s power?
It is in the lives of the saints - the saved - the ones who are living for God: a holy people.
The world will pass away - and only that which is Of God will remain.
The place of God’s salvation.
The place where Gods love and obedience to god’s will have priority.
This is the place where we recognise that we are not enough, but in Christ, there is all we need for life in fulness and for a life of obedient graceful living.