grace notes- Pastoral LETTER 3.2.23

Monthly memory verse: “And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.  So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith ” (Gal 6:9-10).

Dearly beloved saints of Covenant of Grace,I hope this letter finds you and yours doing well in body and soul.  I have been praying for you this week and rejoicing in the Lord for His kindness in providing us with a new Associate Pastor, as we were blessed to celebrate this past Lord’s Day.  Truly, our God is good to us and worthy of our adoration and complete, wholehearted devotion in all of life.  This all-of-life consecration has been hitting home recently, as I have been reading through the book of Leviticus, and is something worth our taking time to regularly ponder.If there is one thing that the whole of Scripture makes abundantly clear, and especially so as we read through Leviticus, it is that the Lord our God is holy.  He Himself says so in plain language throughout that book.  Even so, Leviticus 11:44, “I am holy.”  And again, Leviticus 19:2, “I the LORD your God and holy.”  The Lord’s holiness has been described in numerous ways throughout the years.  Often, it is defined as His separateness from, His being set-apart or other than, anything and anyone else.  This definition is true, but doesn’t convey much information, other than to make it clear that, while His works reveal something about the sort of God He is, and people are made in His image, the Lord remains in a category by Himself.  There is no one like Him, nor any who can be compared with Him.  Perhaps more helpful is the understanding that God’s holiness refers to the absence of anything defiling, unclean, or sinful in Him.  He is, in His very being, light, and there is no darkness in Him at all (cf. 1 Jn 1:5).  The Lord doesn’t have or entertain sinful thoughts or desires.  The Lord doesn’t speak sinful words.  The Lord doesn’t do or approve of anything sinful, nor does He tempt people to sin.  “The Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are justice.  A God of faithfulness and without iniquity, just and upright is He” (Deut 32:4).  “God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one” (Jas 1:13b).  Indeed, He is of purer eyes than to look favorably or indifferently upon evil (cf. Hab 1:13).  In these and other places, the Word of God is clear that the God of the Word is a God void of every sort of wickedness.  But still, this might leave us thinking of God as a being only very different from us who is empty of much that we find in ourselves, without anything positive to say about the matter of holiness.  And so, it is further helpful to understand God’s holiness as the presence, in His very being, of all that is good, beautiful, and true.  He is not only void of all that is sinful and defiling, of all darkness, He is also filled with light, with all that is upright and desirable.  Not only does He lack all that mars and corrupts, He also possesses, indeed is, all that is perfect.  In this, He is altogether greater and more desirable than myriad angels, radiant and mighty as they are.  He is purer and more beautiful than the best thoughts that ever pass through the most sanctified mind.  He will never be at peace with sin or any of its fruit.  The Lord our God, and He alone, is, “Holy, holy, holy” (Isa 6:3; Rev 4:8).And, as such, the whole of Scripture, and certainly the book of Leviticus, makes it clear that His people are to be holy.  True, we will never be holy in the same exact sense that the Lord is holy.  We will never pass from being creatures made in God’s image into being the Creator, whose being, thoughts, and ways are forever above ours.  But, within our proper sphere of existence, as those made to reflect His character in the world, we are indeed called to be holy.  You see the connection in Leviticus 19:2, in which the Lord says to His people, “You shall be holy, for I the LORD your God am holy.”  He is holy.  We are His unique possession in the world, bearing His name upon us.  Therefore, we too are called to be holy.  Already, of course, we are given the title, “holy ones,” or, “saints.”  And now, having been given such a magnificent title, we’re to become what He has called us to be – we’re to be holy.  Like the Lord, we’re to be distinct, different from the world around us.  So, the apostle Paul cites the same command given God’s Old Covenant church, and remind us that it still applies to the New Covenant church today, in which the Lord declares, “go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you” (2 Cor 6:17; cf. Isa 52:11).  And, the apostle Peter takes up the language of Leviticus, citing Leviticus 19:2, and saying, “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’” (1 Pet 1:14-16).  We are not to be just like the world around us, thoughtlessly approving whatever the culture approves and denouncing whatever it denounces.  We are to be different – set apart by our devotion to the Lord.  As the Lord is absent anything defiling, unclean, or sinful, we too are to, “touch no unclean thing” (2 Cor 6:17).  We’re to put to death sinful desires.  We’re to refuse to speak sinful words.  We’re to resist the devil and even to flee sexual immorality.  We are, in short, to be people who abhor the thought of participating in, or giving our approval to, anything that runs contrary to the character and Word of our holy God.  And, even as we seek to empty ourselves and our lives of all that is sinful, we’re to seek to fix our hearts, our mouths, and our lives with what is good, beautiful, and true, and so displays the holiness of our God to those around us, as determined by His perfect Word.  As the Lord our God is holy, we too are to be holy.Let us therefore determine to be people who strive for that holiness without which no one will see the Lord (cf. Heb 12:14).  Make no mistake, in a world like this, and in a cultural moment like ours, this is a call to take up arms.  Not the arms of the flesh, but with those spiritual armaments given for our defense, and for the advancement of Christ’s kingdom (cf. Eph 6:10-20).  Let us not become indifferent or lazy about pursuing holiness.  Let us not drift along with the world as it moves effortlessly toward its own destruction.  Rather, let us hold our ground, and let us fight.  Let us not be afraid to look different if it means being faithful to the Lord, not slow to pray or study the Word, not hesitant to do good and proclaim the life-giving truth of our God as we faithfully wield the sword of the Spirit, which is His Word.  Let us be a people who earnestly seek to live with a clear conscience, free from any honest charge of real hypocrisy.  Let us be a people who diligently labor to fill our minds, hearts, and lives with thoughts, speech, and behavior that is pleasing to our God and truly good for others.  Let us be, in a word, holy.“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you is faithful; He will surely do it” (1 Thess 5:23-24). In Christ,Pastor EricP.S.Join us for the prayer meeting each Wednesday in the Fellowship Hall – dinner is served at 6:00pm, followed by a brief lesson and a time of prayer at 6:30.  Or, join us for prayer each Thursday at 10:30am in the adult Sunday School room.Please mark your calendars!  If you ever need to double-check dates, events are usually kept up to date on the church’s website calendar:· Daily devotions
o I continue to encourage you to daily read Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening as we seek to maintain a spirit of unity.  It is widely available – here is one link:

‘Vision Statement’  Covenant of Grace is a loving church family that equips people to know God and His Word through serious, joyful, Christ-centered worship and service, in reliance upon the Holy Spirit.

Matt 22:37-39
37 “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself

Love God.  Love people.


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Winston-Salem, NC  27103

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