The Tabernacle Scroll

Issue 40

"For though a righteous man falls seven times, he rises again, but the wicked are brought down by calamity" (Proverbs 24:16).

The person who is disciplining himself towards holiness falls many times, but he doesn't quit. After each fall he gets up and continues the struggle. But this is not so with the unrighteous. He stumbles in his sin and gives up. He has no power to overcome because he does not have the Spirit of God at work in him.

Romans 7 gives us an accurate reflection of our own struggle with sin. Now, no one likes the idea of having to struggle with sin. We all want instant victory! We want to 'walk in the Spirit and let Him win the victory'. But this is not God's way. He wants us to persevere in discipline towards holiness. The Holy Spirit has already done a great deal of the work by providing us with the Scriptures to discipline us. "All Scripture is god-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness' (2 Tim. 3:16). The Scriptures will train or discipline us in righteousness (and holiness) if we know how to use them.

Our job is not to wait for a miraculous change in our lives (requiring no effort on our part), but rather to co-operate with the Spirit in his work of perfecting us in holiness. We need to hear the word as it is taught, read the Bible for ourselves, study the Scriptures intently and commit to memory key passages of Scripture. Doing these things involves discipline. But these in themselves will not result in holiness. The discipline of hearing, reading, studying and memorizing will not add one iota of holiness without practical application. When Joshua was taking over the leadership of Israel, God said to him: "Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it" (Joshua 1:8). Meditation means thinking about the Scriptures, turning them over in our minds, so that we can apply them to our life's situations. The practice of meditating in this manner can only be developed through personal discipline.

As we familiarize ourselves with the Scriptures we grow more and more in our understanding of holiness. But we do not actually grow in holiness without practicing it. "For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does" (James 1:23-25, NKJV).



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