Making Progress in the Life of Faith (7)
“Nor shall you bring an abomination into your house, lest you be doomed to destruction like it. You shall utterly detest it and utterly abhor it, for it is an accursed thing.” Deuteronomy 7.26
Just the beginning
The Christian life begins when, confused and uncertain about what we’ve always believed, and convicted of our need for redemption, we turn in faith to Jesus Christ and receive Him as Savior, Lord, and King.
The enemies of God today – among whose ranks we were before we believed (Rom. 5.10) – are being subdued (Ps. 110.1), not by the political sword, but by the power of the Sword of the Spirit (Ps. 149), as revived believers and renewed churches live and proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God unto awakening and restoration in the world, and lost people come to their sense and join us in believing the Gospel.
But believing in Jesus is not the end of faith; it is, rather, the beginning of the adventure of following Him. The pursuit of holiness now becomes the calling and journey of every true believer, as Paul says, “let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” (2 Cor. 7.1).
That is, if we profess to believe in Jesus and to belong to Him, we must walk the path He did, the path of obedience to God and His holy and righteous and good Law (1 Jn. 2.1-6; Rom. 7.12). Only as we stay that course can we expect to prove that we have been saved, are being daily revived, and are making progress in our faith as the people of God (Rom. 2.13; Heb. 3.12-14; Rev. 12.17).
Just like Israel
Our calling and challenge is not unlike that which Israel faced. They had to make progress in claiming the promises and blessings of God in the midst of a world of unbelief, idolatry, and abominable sin. God commanded them to be careful lest, as they interacted with pagan cultures, they should be tempted to compromise their calling and embrace some pagan ways.
We face the same challenge. As we encourage one another for revival, and work to renew our churches in order, worship, and mission, we interact with a world of materialism, sensuality, pragmatism, narcissism, and relativism. And, while it may be necessary for us to “learn the language of Canaan” in reaching out to our unsaved neighbors and friends (1 Cor. 9.19-23), we must be careful that we do not allow our interactions with the unbelieving world to draw us off the path of righteousness.
How can we do this? How can we persist in making progress for revival, renewal, awakening and restoration amid an unbelieving generation, and keep ourselves clean and pure from abominable and wicked ways? Let me make four suggestions.
First, take seriously Paul’s instruction to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5.17). He was only echoing the Lord Jesus, Who said we must pray at all times and not grow faint (Lk. 18.1). This is more than just an attitude of prayer; Paul and Jesus want us to develop a readiness to pray and even a lifestyle of prayer, so that, at every moment, we may know the refreshing and renewing communion of the Lord, helping us to overcome obstacles and fear, resist temptation, and stay the course of holiness.
Second, stay in the Word of God. We will not be able to walk the path of righteousness if we do not continually ponder and study the Map which guides our way. All Scripture is inspired by God, and all Scripture is profitable for our walk with Him (2 Tim. 3.15-17). We need disciplines in place to take us regularly through all of Scripture, and at ever-increasing depths of understanding and obedience.
Let’s make sure we are regularly making progress through all the counsel of God in the Bible, daily reading, meditating, and applying His Word to our lives.
Third, maintain vital connection with the people of the Lord. We set ourselves up for trouble when we are not an active part of a community of God’s people. We are part of the Body of Christ, and we need all the other members to support and sustain us. We shall have a difficult time contributing to the renewal of the church if we are not ourselves actively engaged in it.
Finally, find a soul friendor two with whom you can exercise mutual encouragement, edification, and accountability. As you sharpen one another and stimulate one another to love and good works, you’ll both make progress in the Lord’s will for your lives (Heb. 10.24).
God expects us to make progress in knowing more of the full and abundant life for which He has redeemed us through Jesus Christ. Let’s make it our agenda to be as zealous and faithful in this as He is. We can contribute to a movement of people working together for revival, renewal, awakening, and restoration, if we will stay the course of holiness and keep focused on the promises of the Lord.
1. What is holiness? What obstacles can keep us from making progress in holiness?
2. How can believers help and encourage one another to stay the course of holiness?
3. Do you have a soul friend? Do you think you would benefit from having one? Explain.
T. M. Moore
For a free PDF incorporating all seven of the studies in this series, click here.
Need a boost in your daily Bible study? Our Scriptorium studies come to you each day, unpacking the truths of Scripture in daily studies of individual books of the Bible. Each week’s studies are combined into a single, free PDF which you can download for personal or group use. To begin subscribing to Scriptoriumdaily studies, use the pop-up at the home page.
The Fellowship of Ailbe is supported by the gifts and prayers of its readers, students, and friends. Please seek the Lord about sharing in the financial support of our ministry. You can give online through PayPal by clicking the Contribute button at the website. Or send your gift to The Fellowship of Ailbe, 19 Tyler Drive, Essex Junction, VT 05452. Thank you for sharing with us.
Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.