The privilege of holiness...

This morning I had the pleasure of worshipping at Narellan Salvation Army. As a part of the worship the congregation was given the opportunity to share their testimony. This is a common part of Salvation Army worship so this was nothing new for me. One man stood up and shared how this coming week he will celebrate being free from the cycle of compulsive gambling for seven years. Having been through the Army's "Bridge Program" he has learnt to recognise and manage his addiction and, by the aid of God's grace, live for seven years (and I pray for the rest of his life) without stepping back into his old ways. Hallelujah! Thanks be to God! (This is what I love about Army testimony times!) By this testimony I was reminded of the Army's doctrine of holiness. It begins with the words "We believe that it is the privilege of all believer's to be wholly sanctified." Every person who puts their faith in Jesus Christ can live a holy life and can do so now. A life cleansed by the Holy Spirit from the guilt and stain of original sin. A life filled with the perfect love of Christ which outflows in love for God and love for neighbour. A life enabled, by God's grace, to resist temptation and follow in his way. A life of holiness. Of course, this does not mean that we no longer sin, although that is the ideal we aim for. It does not mean that we no longer require the continuing work of grace in our lives. But it is a very positive outlook on life this side of heaven. It means that the ministry we have with the "lost, last and least" is filled with hope for we believe that every person can live this way, by God's grace - the bank manager, the prostitute, the builder, the drug addict, the drug dealer, the whosoever... I saw this doctrine in action this morning in the life of the man at Narellan this morning. I pray that I see the results in my own life too. By God's grace I believe I will. "Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift." (2 Cor 9:15)

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