By Martin Cisneros
The greatest, most overpowering agony of mine in prayer these last forty-years is for God's people to not only be holy, but to have a firm revolution that overthrows centuries of nonsense about what holiness is, Covenantally, in the Judeo-Christian Bible. The Biblical definition of holiness is set apart from every pagan religious idea of holiness because pagan demoniacs will focus on externals, getting back to a primitive lifestyle, or a long list of what to do or what not to do, long prayers to be seen of men, extremes of fasting, dress, or anniversary keeping, and everything else that's the furthest manifestation from the Biblical concept of holiness. Holiness in the Bible isn't having a “symbol” of authority on one's head, but living with God as His Body. Scriptural holiness is about fully animating God through these physical bodies to all of Creation. It is maintaining a vital, living union expressing the will of Christ, our High Priest, in everything we say and do, as it says in 1Thessalonians 3:
12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints. 1Thessalonians 3:12-13
This isn't talking about holiness being put off until some Apocalyptic event. This is pointing us back to Ephesians chapter 1 that says we walk out our holiness in union with the steps that Christ Jesus wants to take through us. Ephesians 4 in continuing the same pattern regarding it's message of holiness speaks of our growing into Him through our unity with expressing the will of Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Pastors, and Teachers by our expressions of their teachings. Though it's a touchy subject for some, Ephesians 5 carries on the same message of holiness by saying wives are holy to the degree that they are expressing the will of their Scripturally-based husbands. We see in Ephesians a unique chain of holiness with our being holy as we express the will of Christ, in Ephesians 1, with letting Him be the Head of our lives, then we're told this is practically done by expressing the doctrines of our Christian teachers in Christ, in Ephesians 4, all within contexts of holiness. Holiness sets the setting of Ephesians 1 in the 4th verse, it is the setting of Ephesians 4 in the 24th verse, and it's the setting of a wife in Ephesians 5:27. We're told in 1Corinthians 7 that our children are holy and as we compare 1Corinthians 7 with the statements about children in Ephesians 6, Colossians 3, and 1Thessalonians 2 it's clear that children are holy because they're expressing the headship of Christ in Ephesians 1, by expressing the doctrines of their Christian teachers in Ephesians 4, within the framework of obeying their parents that are properly aligned in the Body with Christ as the Head and ordained Christian ministry as the Spine.
1Thessalonians 3:12-13 that we looked at a minute or two ago, says we're established blameless in holiness when we're going everywhere Christ is going. Ephesians 4 says that's communicated from the Head through the Spine of Ordained Ministers, while in Ephesians 5 that's transmitted to the woman and later to her children in Ephesians 6 through the nerve-endings of the husband that are permeating their lives with the signals received from Christ as Head through the Spine of His Ordained Ministers. Hebrews 12 says:
14 Pursue peace with all, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: Hebrews 12:14
This isn't talking about going to heaven, but about seeing His will flowing down to you as your Head through the Spine of His Ordained Ministers in a context of wholesome marriages that are expressing heaven on earth as Hebrews goes onto say in chapter 13 verse 4. Ephesians 4:7-12 says the grace of God is brought to you through the revelation of Christ through His Ordained Ministers. Therefore, 1Peter 1:3-16 carries on with this same theme that holiness is walking in 24/7 receptivity to receiving and expressing the will of Christ, our High Priest:
13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1Peter 1:13-16
Remembering what we just reviewed from Ephesians about holiness for women and children being the expression of the Headship of Christ Jesus through the Spine of His Ordained Ministers via the nerve-endings of the husband and father permeating all aspects of their lives we have an additional witness to this truth about women having their holiness through their husbands, in submission to the Word of God in 1Peter 3:
1 Wives, likewise, be submissive to your own husbands, that even if some do not obey the word, they, without a word, may be won by the conduct of their wives, 2 when they observe your chaste conduct accompanied by fear. 3 Do not let your adornment be merely outward—arranging the hair, wearing gold, or putting on fine apparel— 4 rather let it be the hidden person of the heart, with the incorruptible beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is very precious in the sight of God. 5 For in this manner, in former times, the holy women who trusted in God also adorned themselves, being submissive to their own husbands, 6 as Sarah obeyed Abraham, calling him lord, whose daughters you are if you do good and are not afraid with any terror. 7 Husbands, likewise, dwell with them with understanding, giving honor to the wife, as to the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life, that your prayers may not be hindered. 8 Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous; 9 not returning evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary blessing, knowing that you were called to this, that you may inherit a blessing. 10 For “husbands/wives who would love life and see good days, let husbands/wives refrain his/her tongue from evil, and his/her lips from speaking deceit. 11 Let him/her turn away from evil and do good; let him/her seek peace/prosperity and pursue it. 12 For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the Lord is against husbands/wives who do evil.” 1Peter 3:1-12
Father, in the Name of Jesus, I pray for those who've been wrestling with holiness issues, presuming it was the absence or an excess of makeup, depending on whether they've got Pentecostal or Charismatic backgrounds, or for those who've thought it was a certain style of dress, or about 9 million things they were meticulous about not doing EVERY SINGLE DAY that they'll have eyes to see and ears to hear what the Scriptures actually have to say about holiness being a living communion with Christ the Head, continuing in His Word via all of the means that He's given us to do so, and that they'll be doers of the Word, not hearers only; living lives as living expressions of Christ their Head, with hearts established in New Testament blamelessness before our God and Father, EVERYWHERE Christ Jesus goes through them to express His love.
I want to continue by looking at Romans 6:13 and a very important, very neglected principle, or principles of the Kingdom of Christ:
13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. Romans 6:13
This is a very neglected passage of Scripture. From sermons on television to blasphemous songs on Christian radio, all of the emphasis seems to remain on Christians dying, and whether that comes from the ancient misinterpretations of Peter's epistles that caused Christians to exercise their faith to get THROUGH persecution RATHER THAN to be delivered from it, or whether it comes, partially, to us today from the celebrations of the dead that there are in South America, I don't pretend to have it fully mapped out as to the origins. Perhaps depending on the statement being made that's Scripturally offensive; perhaps each statement divides somewhat neatly between those earliest Catholic errors and the South American cults that revere the dead. Even when it comes to how graphic Galatians 2:20 is, it says "nevertheless, I live," contrary to how many Christians understand that passage.
Romans 6:13, quoted above, fits into the same patterns that we were previously talking about in Ephesians about our holiness being in relation to walking out the will of the Head of every man, in relation to walking out the Spine of every man, and in relation to the place of husbands and fathers in the home that are fully discipled believers. What I'm about to say regarding Romans 6:13 is validated by the introduction of the marriage subject at the beginning of Romans 7, though I realize marriage is brought up as an analogy, but the only way that could be is if the imagery of both passages were compatible. Let's look at 1Corinthians 7:
32 But I want you to be without care. He who is unmarried cares for the things of the Lord—how he may please the Lord. 33 But he who is married cares about the things of the world—how he may please his wife. 34 There is a difference between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman cares about the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit. But she who is married cares about the things of the world—how she may please her husband. 1Corinthians 7:32-34
I'm about to paraphrase a part of Romans 6:13 and it'll really depend on how closely you were listening to what we were previously talking about regarding holiness. Look at 1Corinthians 7:32-34 very carefully though, and see that God, Himself, understands this matter to be this way and isn't offended by it and neither should we be. Romans 6:13 is equally saying: And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God's Ephesians 4 Ordained Ministers as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God's Ephesians 4 Ordained Ministers. Likewise it's also saying, again based on Romans 7 and 1Corinthians 7: And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to your spouse as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to your spouse. Again, St. Paul said in 1Corinthians 7 that he who is married cares about the things of the world, how to please his wife; she who is married cares about the things of the world, how she may please her husband. However, we know how far people in the world go to satisfy themselves with multiple sexual partners, even within the marriage bed and even by mutual consent with bringing additional men and women into their marriage bed, yet Romans 6:13 is the rebuke of that, when you recognize Romans 6:13 as a general Kingdom of Christ principle that you present yourself alive not only to God but also to anyone that Ephesians says He's told you to present yourself to where His Ordained Ministries and your spouse is concerned.
So what am I saying here? You must aggressively live life and marriage never works between two people who've resigned themselves to die for one another, but marriage is a life to be taken by force in a righteous context with the fruit of the spirit that are growing from one's time in the Written Word:
5 Let the saints be joyful in glory; let them sing aloud on their beds. 9 To execute on them the written judgment— this honor have all His saints. Praise the Lord! Psalm 149:5,9
Marriage isn't a context where you've gotta be willing to die for one another, but where you stand on the death of Christ Jesus until He comes into full manifestation in your marriage. You stand on the death that He died to be married. He's the Covenantal sacrifice that makes your marriage a Christian godly marriage and your vows are oaths sworn in His Name over His broken Body and shed Blood. One person can't be committed enough for a marriage. Both people have to be fully committed to be married. People discover that truth all of the time when no matter how committed they were, their spouse has filed for divorce! You have to be Scripturally aggressive to have marriage in Christendom. You have to have a New Testament aggression of love that nobody can beat this marriage out of you, 'cause some years down the road you may teasingly say that you'd swear with your hand on a Bible that that's precisely what your spouse tried to do: beat that marriage out of you! You present yourself as alive through the broken Body and shed Blood of Jesus and your members as instruments of righteousness to your spouse recognizing that that's an area of submission that God has ordained for you to submit to and your spouse doesn't have that ordination in vain. Your marriage license is the 28th book of YOUR New Testament and it's as much filed in heaven as it is in your local county clerk's office! Your spouse doesn't have that Sword, or Oath, in vain. Let me paraphrase one more passage of Scripture that the whole New Testament would validate with an exhaustive restudy of marriage:
1 Let every soul be subject to the governing spouse. For there is no spouse except from God, and the spouses that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists their vows resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For spouses are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of your spouse? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For your spouse is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for your spouse does not bear the sword (i.e. your Covenantal vows to God) in vain; for your Covenantal marriage vows to God are God’s minister, a [Covenantal] avenger to execute wrath (God's intense love) on him/her who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath (God's intense love in your spouse) but also for conscience’ sake. Romans 13:1-5