Perfecting Holiness in the Fear of God II Cor. 7:1 CLICK TITLE FOR AUDIO
This sermon is about perfecting holiness in the fear of God, not so much by cleansing ourselves after we have sinned but by staying away from unclean things. Until now I have read 2 Cor 7:1, as an admonition to cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit after we have sinned. But this admonition isn’t about confessing and forsaking sin that we have already committed; it is about cleansing our flesh and spirit by keeping them from becoming defiled by unclean things [2 Cor 6:14-18].
In the first part of 2 Cor 7:1 Paul refers to “having… these promises.” The promises are listed in 2 Cor 6:16-18:
- I will dwell in them
- I will be their God
- They shall be my people
- I will receive you
- I will be a Father unto you
- Ye shall be my sons and daughters
“Having therefore these promises,” we are to “cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” How do you suppose we are to perfect holiness in the fear of God? Well, from the preceding chapter we would by following the Lord’s two direct commands in v.17, thereby cleansing ourselves from filthiness of the flesh and spirit:
- Be ye separate
- Touch not the unclean thing
Then you are to separate yourself and touch not anything that defiles your flesh or your spirit. There are many things in your life right now that are unclean and you don’t even realize it. And you are not going to realize it until you begin drawing closer to God. Listen:
- The more fellowship you have with righteousness the easier it will be to identify unrighteousness – 2 Cor 6:14 – and the less you will desire unrighteousness.
- The more communion you have with light the easier it will be to identify darkness – 2 Cor 6:14 – and the less you will desire darkness.
- The more concord you have with Christ the easier it will be to identify the devil – 2 Cor 6:15 – and the less you will desire that with which the devil tempts you.
- The more part you have with those who believe the easier it will be to identify an infidel – 2 Cor 6:15 – and the less you will desire to be with or listen to infidels.
- The more holiness you have in the temple of God the easier it will be to identify an idol – 2 Cor 6:15 – and the less you will desire the idol.
We could list a whole bunch of things for you that are unclean, like the Lord did in the Old Testament. But you won’t separate from them just because we tell you that you shouldn’t have anything to do with them any more than listing them in the Old Testament kept the Jews away from them. You will only see them as filthiness in your flesh and spirit as you draw closer to God. And the closer you draw to him the more you are going to see your need to “come out from among them,” [2 Cor 6:17]. And only when you come out from among them are you going to be perfecting holiness in the fear of God. That’s how you cleanse yourself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit… you get it out of your life. And when you do that then you are going to see his promises in 2 Cor 6:16-18 fulfilled in your life.
Conclusion: Start by drawing closer to the Lord. Separate yourself from every unclean thing the Lord shows you. Keep drawing closer to him and keep separating from each unclean thing he reveals to you as you draw closer to him. That’s how you perfect holiness in the fear of God. If you stop short of getting an unclean thing out of your life that he shows you then that’s where your holiness stops no matter how much spirituality you portray to others.