Perfecting Holiness

Perfecting Holiness

People who are elderly believers often wonder, “Why is the Lord leaving me here? I want to go home.” Why indeed, when we are qualified for heaven at the moment of conversion (Col. 1:12). Why has he left us here, some living to old age?

“Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord” (2 Cor. 7:1 NKJ).

Although as Christians we are qualified judicially for heaven at the moment of conversion, our character needs much improvement. There are bad habits that need to be destroyed. The old man, the old nature, needs killing, daily. The flesh is very stubborn, refusing to die. It will take time for the fruit of Spirit (Gal. 5) to ripen in our lives. It may take years for one to learn to control his temper. For the selfish person who has lived for self gratification it will take time for one to become like the Lord Jesus, unselfish and loving God and others. Some of us are slow learners, but the Lord is patient and the Spirit continues to work.

So what is the blessing of coming to old age? First of all, God has more time to work on us! Some of us are tough material, resistant to change. But the Lord is patient and persistent. Hopefully our character has mellowed and improved with age. And character is what we are at heart when the external husk of hypocrisy is stripped away. This we will carry into eternity. So be grateful for the years you have to become more like the Lord Jesus.

Secondly, a godly person in old age is an encouragement to young believers. One can come to old age without a serious blot on his character. Praise God! You too can finish the battle of life victorious also. Young people need such positive examples to emulate.

Thirdly, it is a powerful testimony to the world of the saving power of God in a life. The world views religion cynically. “They are all a bunch of hypocrites!”

The testimony of a godly, old man or woman is powerful. Abraham in old age buried his wife Sarah. He owned no property and needed to buy a burial site.

When Abraham attempted to buy a plot of ground from the owners, he said, “I am a foreigner and a visitor among you. Give me property for a burial place among you, that I may bury my dead out of my sight.” And the sons of Heth answered Abraham saying to him, ‘Hear us, my lord. You are mighty prince among us. Bury your dead in the choicest of our burial places…..’ ” (Gen. 23:4-6). It is a touching scene, Abraham, a white haired old man, weeping and seeking to buy a burial plot for Sarah, his faithful wife of many years. These men were heathen, not worshiping the God of Abraham. But they recognized his strength of character, his integrity. Abraham had been a man of faith and he finished well, a good example for believers today.

So be patient and let God work in your life, “perfecting holiness.” The Lord will take you home when chooses. And His will is always best.

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Donald Norbie

Donald Norbie was born in 1923 in Minnesota. He was saved in 1938. He continued his college education after World War II and serving in the U. S. Navy. After completing his graduate work, Donald and his wife, Marie, were commended to the Lord’s work by their assembly in Wheaton, Illinois in 1949. He taught at Emmaus Bible School for three years. After this, he and his family moved to Oklahoma to evangelize and teach the Bible. In 1970, they moved to Colorado and have lived there ever since. Mr. Norbie continues to be active in evangelism, teaching, and writing.