About a month ago I started reading/studying through 2 Corinthians as I prepare to reach Penn State and begin ministry on campus.
This morning I did some reading in chapter 6 which led me into the beginning of chapter 7. As I read I absorbed the teaching about living differently from non believers. Even while I meditated on this, I glazed over the OT reference (6:17-18), but once I reached 7:1 a lightbulb finally went off.
"Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God."
We seek to live lives of holiness not because we are better than others, not even because we think by our actions we can be righteous. Our deeds have no bearing on our standing with God. Why then do we seek to live lives of holiness? Out of reverence for God.
This is definitely a truth I want to memorize to quote later for the purpose of teaching why we live as we do.
What promises then lead us to worship God in this way?
"Therefore come out from them and be separate says the Lord. Touch no unclean thing and I will receive you. I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty."
Now this OT reference means something to me. God the creator of the Universe who could destroy the earth in an instant if he chose will be a father to us. As Christians we sometimes take this for granted. Sure God is our father we say. Some of us even scratch our heads and wonder why this isn't a big deal to other people. "They must be crazy to not want God to be their father" we think.
Then my mind went to John 5:18 and how the jews "tried all the harder to kill him; not only was he breaking the sabbath, but he was even calling God his own Father, making himself equal with God."
To call God our Father is revolutionary teaching in most cultures, and in some religions purely heretical, worthy of death. This is another truth that distinguishes Christianity as a faith unlike any other to a humanity that during it's brief history has mostly regarded a deity as one who rarely cares what is happening to people.
Let's not only celebrate how great our God is, but seek to introduce the world to him as Father!!!