What is holiness? If asked we will quickly reply, “Set apart for a special purpose.” Although it is true that we cannot finally realize complete holiness until Jesus comes. There is no other rule of righteousness than that: God’s commandments are unmistakable. They are so very simple that we are liable to forget them - and if we forget them, we cannot be saved. We must keep them in remembrance and act upon them. It is not sufficient just to acknowledge them, we must act upon them (Luke 6:46).
Now Jesus our master says that we are to be kind to one another. If we are not, however much we know the truth, we do not belong to him. Our knowledge would then be to our condemnation: “If any man has not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his” (James 4:17). Now besides kindness, the spirit of Christ was a spirit of worship. He often retired to pray.
What did he say to the Samaritan woman in John 4:24? What is the worship of God? It is the deferential and reverential concentration of the mind upon Him. Intelligently, consciously, lovingly, adoringly, trustingly and prayerfully with a deep sense of things disclosed concerning Him to us in the truth. That is the worship of God. It is an attitude of mind requiring the highest abstraction from the things of this world. Merely to continue in sins and to dance as people in the world do, that is not to worship, nor is it to deliver a well-worded address to God when it is not backed by a spiritual mind.
There is such a thing as drawing near with our lips, while the heart is far away. Yahweh does not like it. As He hated Israel for this, so neither will He take it from us. We require to abstract our minds from our surroundings and to fix them on the Almighty, in whose hand even our breath of life is. The worship of God requires our attention: a complete fixing of our mind upon Him, knowing that His ear is open and that His eyes are upon us - hear David (Psalm 139:5,12).
Now our meetings are designed for a collective exercise of our thoughts, and those who possess holiness will be full of response to this supreme object of our association. We must pay attention to all that we do during worship such as singing. Our mental attitude should be such that when we stand up to sing, we sing to God not merely go through a performance.
In this life, the present is all-important to us. It will be too late to mend our ways when Christ comes; remember that Christ’s coming is not far away from every one of us. This statement is true from the time of the apostles (2 Corinthians 5:8-9). To be absent from the body means that our next conscious moment will be with the Lord. What does that mean? In death, one ceases to live and knows nothing any more (just like a night’s sleep). So, practically, it means that Christ is standing at the end of our little career, as it were, and that at the end of that career, we shall stand in his presence. In that sense, he is not far off; he is waiting at the end of our journey to receive us, although the reception does not take place until he comes. To summarise, if we are to die in the coming week, practically the coming of the Lord is only a week away from us. So whatever may occur, to us the Lord is at the door. And this thought has the power of giving the truth a reality in our lives. We may fail to have this thought if we consider that there is a long time period before Christ comes. It helps us to surrender our lives, our espousal to Christ (2 Corinthians 11:2). We are entirely his. We don’t possess the liberty the world claims.
Our position is that we must deny ourselves, and all ungodliness and worldly lusts. We are not our own (1 Peter 4:2). To do the will of him who lived and died for us, seems only reasonable. We shall find out about ourselves when the Lord stands before us. Among all the masses who will stand before him, none will be selected for his companionship except those who answer the description given to us in scripture, that is those who have been faithful stewards of his trust.
Just imagine the Lord in the earth again, and ourselves summoned to meet him. What will be the great anxiety of every one of us? Only one thing. All the fears and anxieties of a lifetime will be replaced by what determines Christ’s opinion of us. What determines his opinion is what we are now because he has made known the principles of his judgment (Revelation 20:12-13). So now is the time of action. Let every person look to what they are doing. We shall be judged by the simple judgment: have you done what I commanded you? All the commandments have to do with practical daily life. With knowledge of truth, this is true holiness. The practical management of daily life is the main question if we are to follow in the footsteps of our master. Then we shall be assured of rest with him (2 Corinthians 5:9-10).
Cotonou Ecclesia, Bro John Aduje in centre
Bro John Aduje (Cotonou, Benin)