God made it clear, the land is filled with evil. Drive out all of the evil from the land. “Yet the people of Israel did not drive out the Geshurites or the Maacathites, but Geshur and Maacath dwell in the midst of Israel to this day” (Joshua 13:13). They drove out a lot, but not all. Not everybody. Sometimes some cities didn’t appear worth the battle and they allowed them to remain. They allowed these people to live among them.
God’s people, like the nation of Israel, are called to be holy, yet sins linger. Gossip, gluttony, lust, greed, hypocrisy, pride. They seem petty, not worth the battle it would require to remove them, so we allow them to linger. Scripture warns us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose” (Philippians 2:12-13), but we fear the war when we should fear the peace.
Eighty-five years young, Caleb remains ready for battle. Those of old age speak more often of past victories, but Caleb is ready to fight yet again. His confidence was not in himself, but in his God. The years had not dimmed his trust in the Almighty, nor his resolve to drive out evil, no matter how formidable. “So now give me this hill country of which the Lord spoke on that day, for you heard on that day how the Anakim were there, with great fortified cities. It may be that the Lord will be with me, and I shall drive them out just as the Lord said” (Joshua 14:12).
This is what it means to “work out your salvation.” The apostle Paul writes a list of to-do’s. “Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, and give no opportunity to the devil. Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need. Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice” (Ephesians 4:26-31). Do not give it a home, do not make it a guest, no visiting rights. All sin is looking for is a foothold. Holiness is war.
Holy God, You called me to be perfect just like You. Which I cannot do… on my own. May my repentance be true. I choose to turn away from my sin, and God, I need Your Spirit to give me guidance and strength not to turn back. Thank You that even when I fall and fail, I can return and confess, and the once-for-all death of Your Son, Jesus Christ, covers all my sins.
I am so glad You are perfect and that Your standard is holiness. What other kind of eternity would be good? Thank You, Father, for doing the work that makes my holiness possible. It is only in the Name of Your Son, Jesus Christ.