The Forging of Holiness, and thinking through what we read…

Discussion/Devotional point of the day…

“Certainly our goal is both lofty and difficult to attain. But please do not forget that people are not born holy. Holiness is forged through a constant interplay of God’s grace and the correspondence of man. As one of the early Christian writers says, referring to union with God, “Everything that grows begins small. It is by constant and progressive feeding that it gradually grows big.”12 So I say to you, if you want to become a thorough-going Christian—and I know you are willing, even though you often find it difficult to conquer yourself or to keep climbing upward with this poor body of ours—then you will have to be very attentive to the minutest of details, for the holiness that our Lord demands of you is to be achieved by carrying out with love of God your work and your daily duties, and these will almost always consist of small realities.”  Escriva, Josemaria

There is a reaction in us, at times -to immediately react to what we read.  So it was this morning, as I read this quote – I love the beginning – and the idea that holiness is forged in us, as Escriva uses something in his life, the forge, to replace the illustration of the potter’s wheel.
The  I have to start and think – for surely the forge includes the interplay of God’s grace in our lives – it is that grace that constantly hammers away our impurity, but what about this correspondence of man?  How much do we have to do with becoming holy, becoming the tools of God – set apart for His usage. Surely it will happen in communion, in unity with God, yet, do we have a role?

The apostle Paul talks of a race – of striving to grasp that which took hold of him.  The author of Hebrews talks of laying aside every burden, and every sin which would hold us, even as Christ starts and completes the race in us.

But what is this correspondence of grace?  Perhaps it is found in not in our maturity leading to independence, that somehow our maturity results in our needing God less, but precisely the opposite, by becoming more dependent, to desire His presence, to yearn for the times we spend with Him.  That communion with God, confidence of His make us His craftsmanship – leads us to be that new creation, to be the ones who do walk in the works (vocation) that God has prepared for us to walk in… to walk in that love…even as we exult in His presence, as we remember what He accomplished in our baptism, as we rejoice in the Feast that He invites and welcomes us to, to feast upon His Body and Blood and know we have life.  To rejoice as we hear – “your sins – your sins – they are forgiven.  To be so filled with joy as we read of His incredible love and mercy, the gifts of peace and comfort that are ours and are found in scripture, to rejoice at the times of fellowship we have in prayer…

These may seem little to us, the details… and perhaps we see them now as only duties..but continue in them – they will soon be revealed to be something more, the very charisma of God…as they bring us more and more aware of His presence in our lives… of the peace in which we truly dwell, that results in a manner of Holiness which is somewhat foreign to us at first – and truly foreign and needed in this world…

Lord, Have mercy… my friends, know He has!

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God’s saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on June 30, 2012, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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