Friday in the Twenty-Eight Week of Ordinary Time

2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1

The Call to Holiness

The call to saving faith in Christ Jesus is never without the call to holy living; indeed, the latter is the proof of the former—not how many tears one can cry, not how many souls one has saved, not how much one gives to the church, or how many mission trips one has taken—but a changed life that seeks more of God, to honor God by sloughing off the sin that so easily besets, and joyfully sacrifices the things of this world for His Kingdom as one draws closer to heaven.  You know these people, these holy ones, because they look so different from the world; that is, they stand out.  They don’t try to stand out; indeed, they shun the limelight by nature.  But they have cast off the trinkets and the things after which the world chases so to chase after the things of God.  They came out of the world, and they don’t want to go back into it.  They are about the task of perfecting holiness.

Now this doesn’t mean that they lock themselves up in their houses.  Paul makes it clear that we must get along in the world as that is where we are (1 Corinthians 5:9-11), nor does he allow a Christian to divorce an unbelieving spouse if the unbelieving spouse consents to live together (1 Corinthians 7:12-16).  But from the sinful places and activities of the world, the Christian must separate.  And Paul draws the starkest contrasts possible to make his point: It is the difference between light and dark, Christ and Belial (another name for the devil or a demon), a believer and an unbeliever, the temple of God and a pagan temple of idols.  He then quotes several passages from the Old Testament which speak of God’s wonderful promises to those who shun the world for a heavenly life: that God will welcome them, and that He Himself will be their God, and will be a Father to them and they His sons and daughters, that He will walk among them and dwell with them.  No, there are no specific promises, like what God will do for them with their jobs or families or bank accounts or illnesses.  This is because such people need no such promises; they only need God’s presence and that is enough for them.  Yes, they engage in ministry, but for them it is second nature.

And this is where I think the Church fails today: We don’t look any different from the world.  Even worse, the Church mirrors the world in its own brand of worldliness.  The world should either admire us or hate us (which is more likely), but it should never be indifferent to us.  I can hear people saying to me, “We are called to minister to the world and save souls.”  Yes, but we can’t do this effectively until we have first separated ourselves from the world, cleansed ourselves, and come out of her.  Then may we go back in.

Author: The Reformed Baptist

My name is Stephen Taylor, ordained Baptist minister of eighteen years pastoral experience with a Ph.D. in Historical Theology from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Better than that, I am married to a godly woman, Karla, who has been very patient with me since 1989. I have two daughters, both of whom I homeschooled for extended periods of time, who became godly young women, and who ran off and married godly young men, all of which is very proper. The oldest daughter has even seen fit to bless me with a grandson and a granddaughter, and my youngest daughter with a grandson, all three of whom are bundles of exceeding joy. As you can see, I am quite blessed. This website is dedicated to helping people grow in the wisdom and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ through the gift of writing that the Lord has given to me. It is specifically about helping His people grow in godliness, the theme you see repeated above. I write devotions with this aim and hope that they might be of some help to God’s people. Full disclosure: I am of a Reformed bent, meaning that my understanding of Scripture is primarily informed by the Reformers and their successors of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. However, as a student of church history and theology, I strive to remain true to that teaching handed down once for all unto the saints through every age of the Church. I like to think of myself as a “catholic” Christian, as the Reformers thought of themselves. At any rate, feel free to read, pray, and contact me if you wish, or correct me if need be. As you can see, I tend to follow the church year. Of course, I make no special claims about these devotions. I know very well that others have written better and plumbed the depths of God’s word with greater insight. But if my musings help someone draw closer to the Lord, well then, I have my reward. Blessings to you and may the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speak to you that word which He knows you especially need to hear. Grace & peace, Stephen Taylor

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