I have been stewing on this for a while now. A topic that I personally wrestle with often — almost too often. And I’m ready to be a little more open about what I’m thinking.
I’ll back up to how this all started. I remember reading through 1 Peter 1 some time ago. “Be holy because I am holy” the author writes as he reiterates an Old Testament command from Leviticus 11. Leviticus 11 and 1 Peter 1 both have the same theme and the same coercion for their readers, who includes us today, and that message is — be different, be separate, be distinct, be sanctified, be holy all in comparison to the world around you. In fact, be holy like God.
It is hard work to be holy when hell is all around us every day. Yes, hell is a state of life after death but we’d be fools to think that it isn’t also in the way we mouth back to our spouses or in the way we cast judgements at that homeless person. Hell creeps into our homes as we drink to try and escape from a marriage that has us feeling trapped. Hell is that glowing screen of pornography in the middle of the night. Hell is that lie that Satan keeps telling you that you are inadequate, not smart enough, not thin enough, not _____ enough.
What does it look like to get, and keep, hell away from you? No matter what hell you’re facing, your salvation starts with the Gospel. No, the starting place for fixing your marriage is not to hug it out. The starting place for fixing your porn addiction is not to throw away your phone. The starting place for finding self-sufficiency isn’t a diet, a degree or anything else that you can earn, check off or write a check for. The starting place to freedom is the Gospel — the reality that Jesus Christ lived, was crucified, was resurrected and now sits enthroned as the King. You want to know how to silence Satan and get the hell away from you? Start with Calvary.
The crucifixion puts you in a unique place because it both humbles you and strengthens you at the same time, you know what I mean? You realize that you are both nothing and everything. You sit in your sin at the foot of the Cross and you remember that you are dead in your transgressions. I mean, at that point, you don’t want anything to do with hell. You’ve seen what it can do to someone in what it has done to Christ.
Then you see what God can do in bringing life from that. I could stop typing right now and that would be all that is needed. God brought life from the cross. I mean, we ought to have nothing to do with the hell that surrounds us when we serve a God good enough and powerful enough to overcome death. It’s that simple.
Whatever you’re facing or whatever is trying to take you down, you don’t need a self-help book or a specific waistline, take a moment to rest in the Gospel. Be holy. Be set apart. Be you.