Holiness isn’t popular, yet only the holy will see God (He 12:14): He calls us to godly fear in perfecting it (2Co 7:1), continually cleansing ourselves of all uncleanness, all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. What does this mean? How do we do it?
Holiness is about our heart’s alignment with God’s Law, Torah, the law of love (Mt 22:37-40); it’s God’s measure of how disposed we are to seek His pleasure, of our inclination and tendency to love others as ourselves in deed and in truth.
So how would we live if we cared deeply for God and others? Perfecting holiness is striving every day to live out our answer to this question, exercising our inner selves, training our souls in godliness, purifying our spirits in seeking and obeying the truth through the Spirit unto authenticity and love (1Pe 1:22), seeking the pleasure of God and the good of others in every thought and choice. It’s continuous improvement for life. (Php 3:14)
Thankfully, the pursuit of holiness is itself the work of God, to make us increase and abound in love toward others, so that He may stablish us unblamable in holiness before Himself. (1Th 3:12) As we wrestle this out in daily life He strives in and through our striving (Col 1:29), ensuring our victory (1Co 15:57): He will be glorified in and through us. (2Th 1:10)
Since the moon is central in the timing of God’s feasts, celebrating each new month is natural in God’s kingdom. (Is 66:23)
YHWH doesn’t tell us exactly how to do this, but it’s easy for saints to come together under an open sky to worshipfully enjoy each new moon. Like anything else, the more familiar we are with lunar phases the easier this will be.
Monthly worship rhythms keep us aligned with God’s calendar in community, and encourage us to anticipate and prepare for each biblical feast as it approaches, keeping us in touch with God’s prophetic timeline. (Col 2:16)
Of all the phrases used by the Apostle Paul in the New Testament, “not under law” may be the most misunderstood. Most think it means God’s laws in the Old Testament are obsolete, but context implies something very different: Paul says, “sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.” (Ro 6:12-14)
Not being under lawis what causes us to overcome sin … yet sin is breaking God’s Law. (1Jn 3:4) Paul isn’t telling us we can sin all we want now, but how being in Christ causes us to sin less and less.
The key appears to be in the contrasting phrase – under grace: experiencing the power of God as He transforms us into the likeness of Christ. (Ep 2:8,10)
As God works in us both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Php 2:13), we are no longer under law, trying to obey in our own strength, feeling only the duty and command but no empowering life, with no inclination to obey, always failing, rebelling and feeling the terror of our condemnation. Rather, we have Christ in us, the hope of glory (Col 1:27), Who delights in the law of God within us, moving in us to obey Him in spirit as well as the letter, that the righteousness of the law might be realized and fulfilled in us as we obey it from the heart. (Ro 8:4)
Jesus Christ overcame the world (Jn 16:33) and is doing it all over again in every one of His children (1Jn 5:4), delivering us from both the penalty and power of sin, giving us grace unto glory. (Php 1:6)
As we approach a new year in God’s calendar (Ex 12:2), I am looking forward to celebrating with my King as He invites me to His table again … to seven glorious, heavenly feasts of the Lord.
When Jehovah calls them “my feasts” (Le 23:2), He seems to be saying that these eternal appointed times are for Himself as well as for us; each one an invitation to dine in person with the Almighty.
As He Himself rested on the very first Sabbath day (Ge 2:2-3), and as He promises to celebrate Passover again with us in His kingdom (Lk 22:15-16), and as all activity in the Jerusalem temple during each biblical feast mirrors that of God’s heavenly temple (He 8:4-5,9:23), it is evident that God Himself participates in His own feasts, along with the hosts of Heaven — and that He invites us to join Him.
We can see Jehovah’s heart here in His insistence that we come to His house to participate in His feasts (Ex 34:22-24); and as it has been from the earliest days so shall it always be. (Zec 14:16) As He invited the Apostles of old (Jn 21:12), what an awesome privilege to be invited by God to come and dine with Him! (Mt 22:8-10)
Further, in characteristic fashion, these appointed times with God are not just for satisfying our fleshly appetites, but each feast is rich in spiritual food, simply chock full of spiritual and prophetic symbolism to engage our minds and hearts in His ways. (Col 2:16-17)
The message could not be any clearer: in His feasts God is inviting us into an awesome fellowship with Himself; He enjoys sharing Himself with us and engaging us in what He is doing. In this coming season of God’s calendar, let’s take every opportunity to enjoy and delight in God as He has so graciously invited us.
We all start out in sin, as rebels hating God (Ep 2:3), but God transforms some of us so we begin loving Him, trusting Him, thanking Him and obeying Him from the heart; He quickens our spirits to delight in His Law, (Ro 7:22) and starts writing His laws into our minds and hearts. (He 8:10) We then begin to enjoy obeying Him: a transformed nature, a new creature, is evidence of our redemption. (2Co 5:17)
It is in obeying Jesus that we love Him: He said: “If ye love me, keep my commandments;”(Jn 14:15) we love Him by keeping His Laws (1Jn 5:3), those laws within Torah, which are all spiritual (Ro 7:22) and eternally good. (Ro 7:12)
Unfortunately, most Christians are consistently taught that certain parts of the Mosaic Law are obsolete, no longer relevant, but Jesus didn’t abolish any part of Torah and He specifically told us not to think this way (Mt 5:17-19); it’s still God’s definition of sin. (1Jn 3:4)
Though we aren’t justified by obeying God’s Law, we’re deceived in thinking we’re in a right relationship with God if we’re still willfully disobeying Him. (1Jn 2:4) We’re far from salvation if we aren’t seeking to know and obey God’s statutes (Ps 119:155); we can’t worship in truth until we’ve learned His commandments(Ps 119:7), or even be earnest in seeking salvation if we aren’t already obeying Him the best we know how. (Ps 119:176)
As we seek to make our election sure, here’s an easy litmus test: if there are parts of God’s Way we still don’t like, that we disdain and deliberately refuse to obey, then we’re deceiving ourselves, carnal, still out of step with God. (Ro 8:6-7) Though there’s definitely room for sincere ignorance (1Ti 1:13), the stubborn, willfully disobedient soul has yet to be redeemed. (Ro 2:7-9) In other words, What’s the point in pretending to be transformed … if we aren’t acting like it? (1Jn 3:7)
Being shadows of things to come (Col 2:16-17), the feasts of the Lord are fascinating prophetic windows. In Christ’s first advent He fulfilled the four spring feasts to the day, in sequence. The fall feasts are evidently reserved for His second coming, which I expect He will also fulfill in sequence, to the day.
Today I am observing the Feast of Trumpets, Yom Teruah, the day of shouting and blowing of trumpets, the first unfulfilled feast in the biblical calendar. Perhaps Paul was thinking of this feast when wrote, “For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first.”(1Th 4:16) Isn’t the symbolism striking?
“Unto them that look for him shall he appear the second time.”(He 9:28) After thinking carefully about Babylon the Great, I’m a naysayer in today’s end times chatter, but I wonder how one can be anticipating Christ’s return and not be faithfully observing the feast which foreshadows it. Though we certainly know not the hour, and in our confusion about the calendar the day is also a question, shouldn’t we be looking for Him to appear on a day like today, in the appointed time?