Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God (1 Corinthians 7:1 NKJV).
I've always heard it said, "When you see a 'therefore' in the Bible you need to ask 'What's it there for?'" The best way to do that is to read the preceeding verses.
In this particular case, I needed to see what promises God had given that would assist believers to cleanse themselves from all filthiness of both flesh and spirit, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God. Here's what I found:
1. God will dwell and walk among the people. This indicates to me that God doesn't expect people to grow in holiness alone; He is right there beside them, assisting them in each step along the way.
2. He will be their God, and they will be His people. If He is the people's God, their focus will be on Him, rather than on other things -- otherwise, the "other things" would be the God. When He call us "His people," He takes ownership of us, and with that ownership comes responsibility. Again, the key is that the people are not expected to walk in holiness alone; God is right there with them, enabling them to do it, as they worship Him as God.
3. He will be a Father to them, and they will be His sons and daughters. As a mom, one thing I am well aware of is how committed to my children I am, and how willing I am to do what is needed to help them succeed. Take that tendency of parenthood, and mix it with the absolute love, perfection and goodness of God, and it's easy to see how He is there, committed to helping us succeed in holiness. As our Father, how could He do anything less? Again, He doesn't expect us to do it alone.
What a comfort to know that we are not alone in this life, in this walk, in this struggle to be holy. The promise is that we don't have to do it alone. That promise gives us hope that we can indeed cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and perfect holiness in the fear of God.
Father, we thank you that we don't have to walk through this life alone; You are with us every step along with way. Thank you for being a loving, perfectly good Father who is more than willing to help us succeed in our quest for holiness. Help us to always look to You for our help. ~Amen.
Thought: Use your journal to explore any tendency you may have to attempt to be holy in your own strength. If you don't like to journal, spend some time in prayer on this matter.
Copyright by Rebecca Livermore, a Christian speaker and writer from Denver, Colorado. Her passion is helping people grow spiritually. To read more of her articles, visit http://www.rebeccalivermore.com , www.helpforchristianwriters.blogspot.com or www.relevantdevotions.blogspot.com .