About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
I was raised in the
Methodist tradition. John
Wesley is considered to be the founding father of the Methodist Movement.
He was instrumental in bringing many changes to both the church and
culture during the period of time known as the First Great Awakening that
spread throughout England
and North America. One area of change Wesley's
teaching brought to the church was a whole-hearted dedication to live a
holy life. This gave birth to
what has been called the Holiness Movement, from which many of today's
Evangelical denominations are rooted.
Although I do not embrace the Methodist doctrine of Entire
Sanctification, I do embrace the Biblical mandate for Christians to mature
into holy living.
How one attains to
a life of holiness has been the subject of debates for years.
Methodists in the past, at least in my opinion, have strived for
holiness through legalistic means. Obedience
to rules and church traditions were equated with holiness, something the
Apostle Paul might have called "another gospel," a term he
coined in Galatians 1:7. He
called such attempts at holiness human effort in Galatians 3:3.
"Are you so foolish? After
beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal through
human effort?" Biblically
speaking, attempts at holiness apart from the Holy Spirit's involvement in
your life are humanistic and do nothing in the pursuit of a holy life.
The Holy Spirit is not only instrumental in getting us saved, He is
instrumental in working our salvation out into a life of holiness.
The Apostle Peter
tells us how holiness is achieved in our lives.
"His divine power has given us everything we need for life and
godliness through the knowledge of Him who has called us by His own glory
and goodness" (2 Peter 1:3). Peter
makes it clear. Once knowing
our Lord Jesus Christ we have the power within us to live a godly life.
The Greek word "dynamis" is translated as
"power" in this verse. We
derive our English words "dynamite" and "dynamic" from
this Greek word, and for good reason.
If, therefore, you have the Spirit of God living within you, you
have the divine dynamic ability to empower you to live a life of holiness.
Peter goes on to
say this. "Through these
He has given us His very great and precious promises, so that through them
you may participate in the divine nature and escape the corruption in the
world caused by evil desires" (2 Peter 1:4).
According to Peter, a disciple of Jesus participates in the divine
nature. We share, through the
Spirit of God, the essence of who God is.
Think about this. We,
as born again believers, have the divine nature residing within us that
enables us to escape the corruption of the world.
It is the participation in this divine nature that causes us to be
totally set apart for Jesus, resulting in living a godly life.
The Apostle Paul
concurs with Peter on this issue. "If
anyone is in Christ, He is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has
come" (2 Corinthians 5:17). As
born again believers, we are not who we once were.
We have been transformed by the divine essence of God living within
us. We are a distinct creation
among God's creation. As a man
is distinctly different from a woman, so a Christian is distinctly
different from a non-Christian. We
have no excuse. Submission to
this divine nature produces a life of holiness.
In my early years
of Methodism we spent many Sunday evenings at an altar of prayer in an
attempt to be entirely sanctified, entirely set aside for Jesus in a life
of holy living. We expected an
instantaneous miracle that would produce this holy life.
It was called Entire Sanctification.
Little did I understand back then that the dynamic power to living
the holy life I was seeking was already resident within me, and is in you
as well, assuming the Spirit of God lives in your mortal body.
Many of us have underestimated the divine power within us long
enough. Let us be those who
allow the very nature of God within to reconstruct our lives into a life