The Grain or The Chaff

John the Baptizer referred to the Holy Spirit's baptism as fire that would gather in the grain and burn up the chaff. (Lk 3:16-17) It will do two things: distinguish those serving the Lord and remove those who are not.

I heard holiness also described this way. It is a two-edged sword that cuts both ways. "The power that causes you to be holy is the power that destroys sin." (SWBC prophecy, 1984) We must see both sides.

Now hear the words of Isaiah.

In chapter 58, verse 8, the Lord says, "Your healing will spring up quickly; and your vindication will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will guard your back." (ISV)

Here is a promise of protection. But read further, it requires something of us.

"If you banish every form of oppression, the scornful accusations, and vicious slander, and if you offer yourselves in compassion for the hungry and relieve those in misery ..." (v9-10 TPT)

IF you stop talking about each other. IF you show compassion.

ONLY THEN will we see the rest of the chapter:

"Then your light will rise in darkness, and your night will be like noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually, and satisfy your soul in parched places, and they will strengthen your bones; and you’ll be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters never fail. And your people will rebuild the ancient ruins; You’ll raise up the age-old foundations, and people will call you ‘Repairer of Broken Walls,’ ‘Restorer of Streets to Live In.’" (v10-12 ISV)

For the repair to come - of this nation, of the church - it requires something of us. We must commit to holiness, to DO GOOD AND HEAL (Act 10:38) and that commitment will bring restoration. But the cleansing will come first, and it will come quickly.

"Now you must fear the LORD and serve him in faithfulness and truth. Throw away the gods that your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates River and in Egypt. Instead, serve the LORD. If you think it's the wrong thing for you to serve the LORD, then choose for yourselves today whom you will serve ..." (Jos 24:14-15 ISV)

There is no "not choosing." These are Jesus' words.

"No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon." (Mt 6:24)

And WHO you serve determines the outcome. It isn't enough to say you go to church, to say you are Christ's. We must also act like it. (Rm 8:17, 29)
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Suzanne D. Williams, Author