Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God. (2 Cor. 7:1)
Paul has previously just listed some promises of God that he says ought have major implications to our lives. They promises are to spur us towards holiness. These promises cause us to remove all types of defilements from our lives and they increase our fear of God. What are these promises?
There are at least 3 promises:
Promise #1: God lives with His church
In verse 16, Paul quotes Leviticus 26, “I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be there God.”
God lives with His people. He dwells with us and walks with us. He is our God and He calls us His people. He acknowledges us, desires us, and own us.
Promise #2: God is our Father and we are His children
In verse 18, God says He will be a Father to us and we shall be His sons and daughters. God is not just some distant God desiring to be worshipped by a distant people. But He becomes our Father and we become His sons and daughters. God loves us. He makes us a part of His eternal family.
Promise #3: The church is the temple of the living God.
In the first half of verse 16, Paul says we are the temple of the living God. The church is God’s temple. The church is the holy dwelling place of God. The church is where God specifically reveals Himself to the world.
So how do these promises spur us towards holiness?
These promises reveal to us the the transformation we have experienced because of God’s love. God sent His Son to die on a cross so we would be saved, brought into relationship with Himself and live with Him. And because God is holy, those whom He indwells are holy. We have been made holy by God. Because of God working in our lives we have undergone a major identity transformation.
Before God saved us, we were sinful rebellious, idol worshippers. But now that we have been saved, we have been made into new creations (2 Cor. 5:17), are being transformed into the image of Christ (2 Cor. 3:18), made ambassadors for God (2 Cor. 5:20), and given the righteousness of God (2 Cor. 5:21). How can we live in sin? That is not who we are anymore? Rather, because we are indwelled by the Holy God we are free to tear away sin that clings to us and run towards holiness.
These promises spur us towards holiness because they reveal God’s powerful grace that has transformed unto His living temple.