“Having, therefore, these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

II Corinthians 7:1

When our “citizenship is in Heaven” (Phil. 3:20), then it shouldn’t be difficult for others to tell we’re “strangers and pilgrims” here (Heb. 11:13).

Paul’s tone in his second epistle to the Corinthian Christians is more subdued than in his first letter. Yet, his imploring them to “give no offense in anything so the Ministry won’t be blamed” (II Cor. 6:3) is just as strong in this letter as it was in the first one.

He’d just exhorted them to “not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers” (6:14) because God has called all of His Children to “come out from among them and be separate” because of His indwelling Presence in our lives (6:16-17). And, this will not happen if we’re not intentionally “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Now, just what exactly does this mean?

First, we must realize that it’s God’s Presence and Promises that motivates us to lovingly obey Him. A nonchalant attitude toward His Word reveals an equally nonchalant attitude toward the One Who inspired it. Thus, when we realize that He has chosen to be “a Father unto us so we can be sons and daughters unto Him” (6:18), we should never take this blessed relationship for granted or presume upon His Grace.

Thus, it is “His Goodness that leads us to repentance” (Rom. 2:4b) and “Godly sorrow over our sins” (II Cor. 7:10) that causes us to desperately want to please Him. And, dear Pilgrim, there’s nothing that pleases Him more than when we “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit”—for none of us would like to live in a house full of garbage. . .and neither does He (I Cor. 3:19; 6:16).

So, again, what’s involved in this “perfecting holiness in the fear of God”?

The Greek word “epiteleo” is used here for “perfecting” and basically means “to fulfill further, to bring to completion, accomplish, finish, execute, etc.” That means it’s an on-going process that really doesn’t stop until we finally see the Lord Jesus Christ face-to-Face.

And, what is this “holiness in the fear of God”?

Holiness is that state-of-being whereby we are daily transformed by the Holy Spirit into Christ’s likeness. Or, another way to put it is, through the process of sanctification (“being made holy or set apart”) Christ becomes more obvious in the way we talk and act. When we’re first saved, Self is quite strong and the Savior is quite hidden; but, through daily “denial of ourselves, taking up our cross and following Him” (Lk. 9:23). . .which is “being crucified with Christ” (Gal. 2:20). . .we are visibly changed and others will readily see we are “different.”

Therefore, it is vitally important that we “please Him Who has called us” (Jn. 8:29; II Tim. 2:4; Heb. 11:6) lest we wound His Holy Heart and grieve His Holy Spirit. Why not pause right now and ask the Holy Spirit to search your heart and mind (Ps. 139:23-24) and reveal any areas in your walk-and-talk that are hindering His good work of Holiness in your life?

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated September 7, 2010

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