Sunday, May 29, 2011

Holiness Restored

The Trinity is not a new concept invented by modern theologians in an attempt to describe the union between Father, Son and Spirit as the Bible translates their fellowship. From before the foundation of the earth there was a Triune relationship which is characterized by love, adoration, joy and acceptance. Into this amazing fellowship we are now adopted so that we can share in the blessings of being part of an eternal outflow of love, benevolence and approval.

Paul very distinctively writes: “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will. (Eph 1: 3-5)

Chosen before the foundation of the earth we were predestined to take part in this union which heavenly places pertains to. As members of the Trinity we are considered holy and blameless. Holiness hence refers to our new position in the heavenly realm. Moreover, holiness can be understood as a state of eternal joy, love, acceptance and mutual admiration. This potent word is pregnant with the wonder and the beauty, the passion and the sheer togetherness of the Trinitarian life.

When Christianity arrived in Rome holiness by and by lost its original meaning. Interpreted in the Roman judicial system holiness was transferred into the legal realm. In this world of pure law holiness came to mean legal perfection or moral rectitude. This metamorphosis heavily influenced the church so that holiness became a matter of conduct and behavior and hence made it possible for legalistic conceptions about holiness to prevail in the institution. This influence has gravely distorted the true meaning of holiness, and furthermore turned holiness into something man has to attain in order to prove his devotion to God.

Holiness is the effect of Jesus’ crucifixion, resurrection and ascension. However, the Adamic race wouldn’t have benefitted from Jesus finished work if those defiled by the fall, that is, every man, wasn’t included in everything Jesus accomplished. Therefore, we are crucified with Him, we are resurrected with Him and we have ascended with Him. This mystical transference which took place when Christ became us is our guarantee that we are included in everything He accomplished.

Holiness understood from a legal perspective irretrievably reverse the whole act of reconciliation, to such a degree that this understanding purports that Jesus came to save us from God. Changing God has become the object of Christ's sacrifice. He came to convert God so that God's wrath could be emptied upon Him and not us. However, Paul insists that Jesus came to save us from ourselves and the consequences of the fall. While we were utterly helpless Jesus came to save us from bondage and the spirit of error's evil domain.

To too many Christians the word holy denotes alienation, fear and estrangement, when its proper meaning has all the opposite connotations. Its true and original meaning can only be properly acknowledged in concepts such as inclusion, peace and fellowship. In short, our holiness pertains to the undisputable fact that we are reconciled to God and that our original design, that is, that we are created in His likeness, is restored.