“Garbage In, Hagios Out”

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“Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that in every place call upon the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours…” 1 Corinthians 1:2

Lord, just as You spoke to the believers of Corinth, so You speak to me.  Just as they were called out to be Yours, so have You called me out.  So we were called out and meet together in You.  Through and in Christ I am sanctified.  He has made me holy.  I have been purified and consecrated, set apart as a holy vessel.  Because of what You have done, I am hallowed.  I am holy.

I don’t deserve what You have given me.  I have not done anything to warrant this position.  I am like a thief who came and stole the work of another and cherish it as my own.  It was none of my work, but all of Yours.  Nothing I can do will ever equal it and nothing that I can do will ever take it away.  I had no right to this gift of grace.  Yet Your love, selfless and limitless, chose me and called me in my detestable state, to be changed into Your likeness.

I had nothing to give, yet You clothed me in Your righteousness.  You cover and daily fill me with Your grace.  I am not who I was because of what You have done for me and in me.  Lord, teach me to know and comprehend this intimately.  Without this, I could not be Your ambassador.  With this I am whatever You call me to be.  Each moment I am Your child.  I must learn to live as who I am in You.

You have called me to be sacred, blameless, most holy in Your eyes.  You have changed my savour from putrid to blessed.  I have been invited and appointed.  When I answered Your invitation, You appointed me.

What entitles me to this?  My invocation for You.  I have and will always appeal unto You.  I shall call upon You through eternity.  You have become the air I breathe.  You are my heart’s beat.  You are the blood that circulates through my veins.  You are my coming and my going.  I called upon You in humble entreaty and prayer.  You have given me Your surname.  I guess You’ve made me Your bride and we now may be intimate.  I am Yours and You are mine.  We are one, yet You are the head.

Well, that’s most of my meditation from March 15, 2003.  And it gives me a sounding board.  Because there’s a little more that talks about my relationship with You, Lord, through adoption.  But I wanted to focus on that marriage concept, feelling it was even more intimate.  But then I hit this thought, that Your relationship with me and mine with You should be reflected in my relationships with others.

So that’s where I am today, learning how a saint, a hagios, lives in relationship in this world.  Funny thing is, we often think that being a believer means we’re better or above some things.  Here’s the “humor” in that.  These Corinthians that Paul was calling saints, these hagios, well, they acted like anything but that.  They were a mess!  They were guilty of incest, perversion, quarrels, illness, heresies, and spite.  And Paul calls them saints.  Was he joking!  These people?

See, sanctified and saint are related.  A saint is a sanctified one, someone that’s been made holy.  The Greek is hagiazo.  If we find the Hebrew equivalent we go to kodesh.  Where the Greek hagiazo means set aside, separated”, the Hebrew kodesh is much richer.  Let me share Skip Moen’s explanation.  “Kodesh is not merely about moral or ethical behavior.  It is about God taking possession of us.  It is about surrender, dedication and consecration.  In Heschel’s terms, it is about awe and wonder in the presence of God.  We are mistaken if we think that holiness is a synonym for morality.  It is not.  In fact, in Hebrew kodesh has no Hebrew synonyms.  It is a cultic term for total abandonment to God based on actions initiated by God for God.  Moral and ethical behaviors are by-products of kodesh, not the purpose of kodesh.  This is why it is possible to be a “good” person and still not be hagios-kodesh.  And this is why it is possible to be a mess and still be hagios-kodesh.”

Look at this mess of people in Corinth.  Did God take possession of them?  Yes.  Did He call them into His presence?  Yes.  Did God initiate the invitation?  Yes.  Did they answer?  Yes.  Did God call them unto Himself?  Yes.  Does sanctified mean that they became perfectly pure and holy in moral character in one instant?  No.  Is sanctification the natural by-product of God’s work in His children’s lives and hearts?  Yes.  Doesn’t Paul tell us so?  “Being confident of this very thing, that He which has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Philippians 1:6)  What we see as messes, You, Lord, see as works in progress.  And since You are the One doing the work, You see the finished product.  You see the saint in us because Your work will be finished.  You see the holy one in us because Your work doesn’t fail.

So how does this change my perspective of Your marriage relationship with me?  Wow!  You picked up this piece of garbage, this total mess in the desert.  You invited me in to be Yours and swore You would be mine.  There wasn’t anything I could do to change myself.  All I can do is surrender to You.  You did it all and You are doing it all.  To understand this fills me with awe for You.  It’s overwhelming. Skip puts it this way, ” We are nevertheless a mess.  But God only works with garbage.  Garbage in- hagios out.  It’s a miracle.”  So if that’s the case for how You treat me, then how do I treat the other messes around me?  Do I see in them the product that You, Lord will make them?  Or am I stuck looking at the mess?  Lord, give me Your perspective of others, that I might take the garbage in love that You could bring out the hagios.

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