Romans 11-12, Psalm 138
In a previous post, I mentioned my son Michael's, testimony. We studied together, as I discipled him in the Scriptures that first year and he had that moment when it made sense and he committed his life to Christ. But making that transformation from realizing he was a new creation and actually transforming his mind and actions towards Christ was another thing. He one by one started to eliminate the large areas of carnality from his life. But the most difficult thing was separating from his friends. For a while before doing this he would live the Christian life Sunday to Thursday, and conform once again on Friday and Saturday to the pattern of the world. When he finally made that move to separate, he then found himself lonely for a season as he tried to figure out this new life in Christ. When Moses left with the people of Israel from Egypt, if he were to walk straight to the Promised Land it would have been an 11 day walk with the 2 million people. But God took them on a one year journey through the desert before arriving at the doorstep of the Promised Land. God knew it was easy to remove Israel from Egypt, it would be much more difficult and take more time to remove Egypt (or the world) from Israel.
In Romans 12:1-2, Paul writes, "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." Many Christians believe they can walk with one foot firmly planted in Christ and the other foot planted in the world. But a choice must be made, one the two options must be decided on. We all sin, but we must choose whom we serve, Christ or the world. In 1 John 2:15-17, we read, "Do not love the world or the things of 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." This choice will often lead to a season of loneliness, and we may feel isolated. But this season is necessary as we learn to lean more on Christ and less on the things of the world (James 4:8). God, in His Word, always said that those who truly follow Him would be the minority, or a remnant. In Romans 9:27, Paul quotes Isaiah, saying, "Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, The remnant will be saved." He goes on to tell them in Romans 11:5, "Even so then, at this present time there is a remnant according to the election of Grace." In the 2 verses before this, Paul describes Elijah feeling all alone, yet there were 7000 people like him who were faithful to God that he was unaware of. Though people like to follow the multitude, and most believe that most are on their way to heaven as a result of their own goodness, or some rite or ritual performed, Jesus speaks otherwise, saying in Matthew 7:13-14, "Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it."
To be holy means to be set apart. A saint is a person who is set apart for God and His kingdom. It is much easier to follow the multitude and fit in to society, but this is not the path of the saint, one who chooses to follow God. When we make that decision, we must all gravitate away from the things of the world and towards the things of God. Though this may initially lead to a period of difficulty and loneliness, as we spend time with God, we will learn to lean on Him and realize that He alone will never leave us. In so doing we become part of that remnant spoken about so frequently in Scripture. The process is difficult, but necessary. Corrie Ten Boom said, "Hold everything in your hands lightly, otherwise it hurts when God pries your fingers open."
Messages from Pastor Lloyd Pulley: