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Is Holiness Passé

Is Holiness Passé

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Published by tiandwi

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Published by: tiandwi on Oct 27, 2008
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Is Holiness Passé?Romans 6:15-23; Hebrews 12:14Cascades Fellowship CRC, JX MIFebruary 13, 2005 (1
Sunday of Lent)Part 1 of 
Rediscovering Holiness
In the February 5 edition of the
Citizen Patriot 
the headline read “JPSfaces $3 million shortfall.” In recent weeks we have read of a shortfall in the JCCbudget as well. Even the state is struggling – Gov. Granholm is considering a 2billion dollar bond or loan to help pay for existing programs and develop newones. Everywhere we look, our community needs money. Somehow, some waywe have to pump more liquid funds into our coffers.Now, I can’t say that I have all the answers – especially on the state level.But as I thought about this over the past week, I think I have found a solution for our budget problems in Jackson County. I have found a simple, yet workableplan that with a little extra effort can help shrink the shortfall.Everyone drive faster. If we all use a little extra energy to push our accelerators a little further down, I think the accumulative affect will be a hugeswell of cash into our local economy. Follow me here.If we are driving faster, we are using more gas, which menas we must buymore gas. This, in turn, leads to greater revenues that are taxable – tax beingthe primary means to fund local governments. But that is not all.Faster speeds also mean more fender benders, which means an increasein auto-body work, auto sales, tires sales, auto repairs, increases in insurance,health care services, etc. These increases lead to increases in other industries –
it would simply take too long to list them all, so I will let your imagination run wild.All these increases lead to a greater tax base, and so on and so forth. But this isnot all.One of the real beauties of this plan is that it has built in a mechanism toflood money immediately into the system. With the increase in speed would alsocome an increase in speeding and moving violation tickets. The immediate influxof revenue this would generate might all by itself offset the shortfall. After all,where violation of the law abounds, cash abounds all the more to pay the fineswe incur.Now, please note that as I present this plan to you, I do so tongue firmlyplanted in my cheek. This plan is just plain silly. Despite rather lame attempt atrationale for the plan, the flaws in the plan are obvious. Only an oaf wouldseriously suggest such remedy.Yet, this is just the sort of argument that the apostle Paul faced in hismissionary journeys. No, Paul didn’t have to worry about cars or speedingtickets as a revenue source for a city. But he heard this argument in relation tograce. That’s why Romans 6:15-23 makes it into the letter he wrote to the churchin Rome.Really, this part of Paul’s letter begins in Romans 6:1 with these words,
What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may increase?”
Paul wrote this letter to the church in Rome with the anticipation that he would bevisiting them soon. Up until this point in Paul’s ministry, he and the church in Rome only
knew each other by reputation. So he is writing to introduce himself and the gospel hehas been commissioned to preach.As he lays out his theology, he begins with the universal problem of mankind –sin. None of us escape it, we all fall prey to its infection. We come from the wombperverse and bent little creatures inclined to rage against mention of dependency upona Creator. We want to be self-made, self-assured and self-reliant. We’d rather worshipanimals, the stars, the sun, especially ourselves rather than God. We purposely stiflethe truth, suffocating it in layers of self-deceit and wishful thinking that there is no God.So much so, that we miss the countless expressions of God’s presence and glory in theworld around us. In other words, we can claim ignorance, but that is no excuse. Wewere blind toward God because we closed our eyes. We were deaf toward himbecause we stopped up our ears.After Paul makes it clear that we all have this huge problem, he tells us what Godhas done about it. When we were helpless to do anything for ourselves – when wewere so indifferent, we weren’t even losing sleep over being at odds with God – Godsent his Son. When the time was ripe, Jesus Christ came in human flesh and livedamong us the kind of life God intended man to live. And, then, beyond all hope, Jesustraded his sinless life for our sinful life on the cross. Just as death entered into theworld through the disobedience of one man, so through Christ’s obedience the manyare brought to life.The question then becomes, since through a tremendous act of grace we aregiven eternal life through Christ, how do we live now? Since we don’t deserve whatJesus has done for us and since we can’t earn it, does it really matter how we live? If 

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