Holiness Series: Maturity

I came across a familiar old quote this week while preparing for the sermon.  It says, "Don't be so heavenly minded that you are of no earthly good!"

James puts it this way in chapter 2, verse 14:

"What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them?"and then again in verse 16,"If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it?"

It is tempting to think that being kind and loving like Jesus is some sort of accomplishment in the pursuit of holiness; however, if that was true, then Ghandi, the original Prince Buddha, and countless other sacrificial humanitarians would qualify for the eternal reward that God's requirement of holiness promises.  The purposes of God's heavenly minded character traits are not for the purpose of making us into polite and peaceful humanitarians.  His main goal is to build a Church that is infinitely more equipped to effect redemptive works through our perfected diversity, than it would be possible to do individually. The challenge for many churches today is that they are so focussed on what looks like a heavenly kingdom here and now (peace and love), that they have missed the entire point of the Heavenly Kingdom in the first place.  His agenda is redemption of EVERYTHING.  He wants us to keep GROWING.  Redemption is defined in the Bible by death and new growth.   There is no redemption without death (ultimately Christ's first, then our old nature following) or new growth (the resurrection ultimately, then followed by our discipling)  Naturally then,  if there is absence of death to old nature stuff in our surroundings, and absence of new growth in spiritual fruits and purposes  then their is absence of redemptive work.  The Bible calls us to put certain things to death, to mortify sin and grieve over it.  Then to "earnestly work out our salvation with fear and trembling."  

If we are so heavenly minded that we refuse to see the necessity of the hard and uncomfortable work that we are called to, then we truly are no earthly good as the Church we were called to be. Being mature means growing in holiness that is discerning and wise through continual practice of application (Heb 5:14, 12:11; 2 Pet 1:10).  Look around, where are you being called to engage in His redemptive purposes individually and as the Church?

With you for His glory,