WORKING TOWARD COMPLETE HOLINESS
Can a born again Christian be defiled? As new creation, do we still have need to cleanse ourselves? The great truth is that the Spirit of God in lives in every born again Christian permanently, and we have the righteousness of God. Therefore, to answer this questions correctly, we must get to find out what the Word, 'defile' really means. To 'defile' is the Greek verb, Koinoo, which is to make common. In other words, it is to think, imagine or fancy as the rest of the world. So defilement can take place as the filthiness of flesh and spirit. However our daily effort is to devote ourselves to God and His Word, so we can work toward perfecting holiness, and not to live with such mind and consciousness.
Reference: 2 Corinthians 7:1 New Living Translation (NLT) "Because we have these promises, dear friends, let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God."
I want to start by talking about the promises Paul mentioned above. We have to remember that God's promises under the old covenant, came with conditions. Hebrews 8:7 (ESV): "For if that first covenant had been faultless, there would have been no occasion to look for a second." Then the next verse says, "But God found fault with the people and said: 'The days are coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the people of Israel and with the people of Judah'"(verse 8). God always found fault with the people under the old covenant. For this reason, there was a serious need for the new covenant. Now Jesus became the mediator of this new covenant because His sacrifice is a once for all, faultless, permanent, and completely effective solution to sin. And it qualified everyone in Christ for all of God's promises.
To explain this further, under the new covenant, God's presence is forever with those who are in Christ. His presence is no longer a promise; His presence is our inheritance. It's no longer, "I will be with you"; its now, "I'm with you till the end of age". Same way, all His promises are no longer dependent on a Christian's ability to obey; they are dependent only on Christ's obedience. Remember Paul wrote at the beginning of this Book of Corinthians, "For all of God's promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding 'Yes!' And through Christ, our 'Amen' (which means 'Yes') ascends to God for his glory"(2 Corinthians 1:20 NLT). By another word, these promises have been fulfilled in Christ and we have the right to receive and appropriate them as inheritance.
So in the new covenant, when you hear promises, its actually talking about our "promised inheritance". In Christ Jesus, they are now our inheritance, with a resounding "Yes". Hebrews 9:15 (ESV) explained this clearly: "Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant." Take note of the phrase, "promised eternal inheritance". His death has occurred and it redeemed us from the transgressions that made God put old covenant conditions on His promises.
According to our Scripture reference, Now that we have these promises, also known as 'promised inheritance', let us cleanse ourselves from everything that can defile our body or spirit. And let us work toward complete holiness because we fear God. This means that there is an ongoing process of cleansing our lives from anything that can defile our body and Spirit because we are God's temple (see 1 Corinthians 3:16; 6:20; 16:9). This cleansing happens as we yield ourselves to the ministry of the Word and the governing influence of the Holy Spirit.
Today, we are urged by apostle Paul to participate with God in bringing holiness to completion in our individual lives. God calls us His holy saints, set apart for His purposes because of our faith in Christ. However in our daily walk, we still have the responsibility to work toward complete holiness because we fear God. As long as we are in this present world, we must subject ourselves to continuous improvement towards perfecting holiness, motivated by the fear of the Lord. And our cleansing agent is the Word of God (see John 15:3; 17:17).
For the reason of this perfection, Christ Himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip His people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:11-14 NIV). Hallelujah!
Scripture Reading - Psalm 119:9; Matthew 5:48; 1 Peter 1:15; 1 John 3:3.
Exuberant Declaration: The fear of the Lord is to hate evil, work toward perfection and serve the Lord with a perfect heart. By paying careful attention to the Word and living accordingly, I purify myself from corrupting influences of this world, and everything that contaminates the body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God. Blessed be God!