How to make a holiness sandwich

Devotional thoughts for October 2020

(Click here to read Monday Musings ... where I discuss the thinking that led to this article.)

Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? ... [W]e are the temple of the living God. As God has said: “I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people... Come out from them and be separate... Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you... I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters... ” (2 Corinthians 6:14–7:1 [selected], NIV)

The Apostle Paul cobbled together three ideas from the Old Testament to make a holiness sandwich — and that’s no baloney! The bottom slice is God’s presence with us, we are in the middle and the top slice is God’s fatherhood. Yum!

But what exactly do we do in the middle? ... or do we just sit there — like a slice of meat? Hardly. First of all, we are God’s baloney — and we should own that! ... so there is no “just” about it. But how do we own that? By keeping ourselves separated from the world.

Now, Paul is not trying to frustrate us by giving us an impossible objective (although it sounds like he could be)... but is it even possible for us to separate ourselves from a world that touches us on every pore — both physically and spiritually — in the way Paul meant? Yes... it’s possible. Paul is talking about an attitude of separation, not an actual separation... although actually separating from some things is a natural outcome of having such an attitude.

On clear Winter nights, I like to go out and spot the North Star. If I want to travel North, all I have to do is head towards Polaris. The thing is, I’ll never be able to reach it because it lives above the earth. So instead, I drop a plumb-line and note where it hits the earth. When I head there, I’m traveling North. But I will never achieve perfect northness, and here’s why.

First, I have no real desire to travel all the way to the North Pole! Second, I have no ability to reach the North Star. But since my target is the right target, I will always be a person who is heading North... and that’s what’s important.

Keeping ourselves separated from the world is like heading North. We will never arrive at the ideal... I mean... Polaris is 433 light years away! Yet by finding it in the night sky, I can extract useful navigational information and follow through with my heart and my feet.

In similar manner, we understand where perfect holiness is... and we know we will never reach it. Yet our trajectory can be perfect — and that’s all God asks. Now, back to our sandwich.

Think of God’s general revelation as the bottom piece of bread. He is everyone’s bottom slice... whether or not they are believers. Those of us who do the work of separating ourselves from the world are its filling — God’s children — and when God acts like a Father and protects us, he is the top slice of bread. There is no sandwich without God, but how it tastes is up to us.

So, is your holiness sandwich moist or dry? Is it savory or bland? Is it filling? Is it a sandwich that other people would like to try? Those are all good questions.

(Mainsail Ministries articles often have a preamble where I discuss the thinking that went into them. These are called Monday Musings — and if you haven’t read the one associated with this article — consider doing so at the following link: 20200928 No baloney).

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