The Tattered Bride
When you look at the church today what do you see? We are called the Bride of Christ, but unfortunately much of her has had an illicit affair with the world. She has traded her authority for compromise and sin. What was designed to be fulfilled through an intimate relationship with Christ, is now replaced with drunkenness, medication and all forms of sin. Since I am a part of a church that still believes God desires holiness and purity, we often hear people say that they prefer to go to other churches where they are not convicted or encouraged to draw closer to God. After all, He's a God of mercy and grace... right? First of all He absolutely is, but what exactly does that mean? His mercy is what draws us to Him in the first place. Were it not for His mercy, He would have been so repulsed by our sin that He would have never given us access to Salvation and adoption into His family. He's so merciful! We never deserved it but the blood of Jesus was still shed for us!
GRACE: The original Greek word is CHARIS the definition is: the divine influence upon the heart. Grace is actually God's strength and ability to do His will, not freedom to do our own. It's been so incredibly misused and abused. I've heard of preachers saying you are under the bondage of old school purity and holiness but we are under grace, and we can do whatever we want.... that's such a sad example of the condition of their hearts. What's the result of this type of watered down Biblical belief system? A broken and tattered Bride.... just as Adam and Eve gave up the keys to their power and authority to the enemy through sin, so have they. The greatest price was paid to restore our right standing with God... not through perfection, for we have all sinned, but that we would have a heart to serve, seek and to live Holy through repentance and the grace He provides to help us grow in purity as the Spirit draws us closer to Jesus.
Living a life to please God and not the flesh isn't bondage, but it's actually freedom from the evil powers of sin that are determined to destroy your destiny and ultimately your life. You haven't begun to understand and experience true Christianity until you've yielded your desires and replaced them with His. He formed you and He knows exactly what's best for you. He has a plan for your life and it will only be discovered as you lay yours at the altar and pick up the one He specifically designed for you!
Hebrews 12:14 (NLT) Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord.
2 Corinthians 7:1(NLT) Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God.
2 Timothy 3:1-7 (NKJV) But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come:For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God,having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away! For of this sort are those who creep into households and make captives of gullible women loaded down with sins, led away by various lusts, always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.