Although, through regeneration, we are ravishingly beautiful in the eyes of God, there is a greater beauty for us yet to attain. We are in the process of becoming increasingly more beautiful as we progress in our life. I am discovering that there are depths of spiritual beauty yet to be unveiled to and upon the Bride of Christ, both here in this life, and throughout all eternity. As the Bride of Christ becomes more prominent in her end-time role, she will not only function in a great level of authority and dominion, she will be an incredible creature of awesome beauty; a beauty that will astonish the world.
As Christian women, we are familiar with the Apostle Peters discourse concerning cultivating inner beauty (in contrast to outward adorning). Peter states, The same goes for you wives. Be good wives to your husbands, responsive to their needs. There are husbands who, indifferent as they are to any words about God, will be captivated by your life of holy beauty. What matters is not your outer appearance the styling of your hair, the jewelry you wear, the cut of your clothes but your inner disposition. Cultivate inner beauty, the gentle, gracious kind that God delights in. The holy women of old were beautiful before God that way . (1 Peter 3:1-5 M SG))
As I was reading this passage of scripture, the two words "holy beauty" seemed to leap off the page and lodge in my heart. Peter uses these words to challenge women who live with an unbelieving husband to captivate him by living a life of holy beauty. This says to me that there is great beauty found in true heart holiness. The objective of this passage of scripture is for Christian women to recognize the value of not putting emphasis on outward adorning, but rather giving preeminence to the inward adorning of the heart. Many women get caught up in the spirit of this world and the entrapment of seeking anything and everything that will enhance their outward person. In order to perceive the beauty of inward adorning, we must abandon the worlds definition of beauty. We must believe the beauty God has bestowed in the hidden man of the heart is far richer and greater than any external beautification. Although our inward beauty will affect our outward appearance, true beauty is of the heart.
Our hearts (inner man) are of utmost importance to God. Everything in life is a matter of our heart. Our whole life depends on the condition of our heart. Always stay cognizant of the fact that God does not see as man sees. He is not looking at our external, outward person, but at the hidden person of our heart. Who we are in our inward parts is who we really are. It is because of this truth that Peter is addressing the issue of inward beauty and exhorting women who are married to unbelievers to captivate their husbands with true holy beauty and not through external measures. Consider this: If an unbelieving husband can be captivated by the holy beauty of his wife, how much more ought the unsaved of this world become captivated by their observation of the holy beauty of the Bride of Christ?
I conclude that it behooves the Bride of Christ to come out from the world and its ways, and separate herself unto her God and become a radiant Bride of holy beauty! In Psalms 93:5 we find these words: Your testimonies are very sure; holiness [apparent in separation from sin, with simple trust and hearty obedience] is becoming to Your house, O Lord, for ever. The King James Bible simply says, Holiness becometh thine house. This word becometh is translated from a Hebrew word meaning beautiful. We are Gods house, and holiness in His house is beautiful.
Holiness is a central theme of the Bible. We are admonished in Hebrews 12:14 to pursue holiness. Our pursuit will require attentive, persistent, and sustained effort. In other words, holiness will require us to pay a price. However, the cost to become a woman of holy beauty is nothing in comparison to the joy of becoming a suitable Bride for our Beloved. If the church really understood the beauty and power of holiness, she would be pursing holiness with her whole being. For those of us who truly desire to please God, our only choice concerning holiness is to pursue it.
Peter has this to say in his first book, Chapter 1, verses 15, 16. But as the One Who called you is holy, you yourselves be holy in all your conduct and manner of living. For it is written, You shall be holy, for I am holy. Here we find, not a suggestion concerning holiness, but rather a command. God yearns for His people to be like Himself. Because the One Who called us to Himself is holy, we are to be holy, even as He is holy. Note: We are to be holy; to be holy is to be like God. It is to have His nature, His disposition, His character. Holiness is internal, not external; it is a state of being. Our doing (conduct and manner of living) flows out of our state of being. How it must ravish Gods heart as we live lives of holy beauty before Him, reflecting back to Him His very own nature that has developed within our being!
Holiness is foundational for those who aspire to go deeper into the beauty realm of God. The concept of holiness is manifold. Words associated with holiness are: sanctification, separation, consecration, dedication, blamelessness, purity, wholeness, God-likeness. Satan fears holiness in the saints (holy ones) of God. Why? Because holiness encompasses a life lived wholly surrendered unto God; a life that is possessed by Him. It is His possession of us that makes us holy, even as He is holy.
Whereas, through regeneration, we are instantly made as righteous as we will ever be, holiness is progressive. On the one hand, the day we are born again, we are holy and blameless in the sight of God, yet as we journey through life, we undergo a process that is continually bringing us up to new levels of holiness. This process is called sanctification; a process that requires both the workings of God and our participation. Understand, although Jesus has been made unto us sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30), the sanctification He wrought for us through redemption must be worked in us.
Sanctification encompasses the process of being set apart and separated. This separation process is crucial to our life in God, for it encompasses our daily walk. There are two key components to separation: that which we are separated from, (sin, the world, carnality, selfishness, weights) and that which we are separated unto (God, holiness, purity, gloriousness). The aim of sanctification is our entire separation unto God.
The process of separation begins the moment we are born again. Instantaneously, we are separated from spiritual death unto spiritual life; separated from the Kingdom of darkness unto the Kingdom of light. However, this is only the beginning of the separation process, for throughout our lifetime, we are continually experiencing the Spirit of God putting His finger on things in our life; things that are to have no part in us, things that we need to let go of and become separated from. Things like: unforgiveness, bitterness, selfishness, strife, envy, jealousy, pride, anger, falsehood, judging others, wrong motives, bad attitudes, complaining, impatience, complacency, carnality, over-indulgence, lack of restraint, worldliness, and the list goes on and on.
It is these heart conditions that are holding us back from absolute surrender to God (entire sanctification). We must come to the place of fully yielding ourselves to God; laying our lives on the altar of sacrifice, thus allowing Him to cleanse us of that which mars and defiles our spiritual lives. Daily, we can pray: Search me [thoroughly], O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there is any wicked or hurtful way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting (Psalms 139:23, 24).
Many Believers pride themselves in their separation from what they consider major sins, like lying, stealing, and taking Gods name in vain, etc. What we need to realize is that, for the most part, it is not major sins that are besetting the Church; it is what many would consider minor sins. (Sin is sin in the eyes of God!) Song of Solomon 2:15 reveals to us that it is the little foxes that spoil the vine. When we get truly serious about entire sanctification, which is literally coming to a place of surrendering ourselves wholly to God, we will, through Gods enabling grace, separate ourselves from all that sullies and contaminates our hearts and lives.
In both the Old and New Testaments, God makes it very clear that He is the One Who sanctifies and makes holy. Gods standard of holiness is so high there is no way we can attain to His standard through fleshly efforts or by our own will power. We need supernatural help! God has provided all the help we need through the ministry of the Holy Spirit. If we allow the Holy Spirit to work within our hearts and lives, He will work mightily and bring forth a glorious Bride, one without spot or wrinkle.
Having said this, we need to realize that we too have a significant role to play in our sanctification. We are exhorted in Gods Holy Word to: present our bodies a living sacrifice unto God (Romans 12:1), Come out and be separate from the world (2 Corinthians 6:17), Mortify the deeds of the body (Romans 8:13) Depart (abandon, leave, withdraw self) from iniquity (2 Timothy 2:19). Timothy further says in verses 20, 21, But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also [utensils] of wood and earthenware, and some for honorable and noble [use] and some for menial and ignoble [use]. So whoever cleanses himself [from what is ignoble and unclean] who separates himself from contact with contaminating and corrupting influences will [then himself] be a vessel set apart and useful for honorable and noble purposes, consecrated and profitable to the Master, fit and ready for any good work." These instructions heeded to allow the Spirit of God the freedom to work in our inward parts, producing a holy, sanctified vessel. Becoming a holy, sanctified vessel is Gods way of preparing us for gloriousness, which is the ultimate beauty for which we have been created.