5. The Cost of Christ’s Sweet Holiness Psalm 45:8-10

Text: “All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made Thee glad."

Psalm 45:8.

Good morning, sweet, clean-smelling Christian!  You and I smell sweet in God’s nostrils for one reason only, we bear the marks of the Living Lord Jesus Christ within our hearts; a smell of His perfect Holiness, put to our account by grace through faith, is the only thing that smells good to a Lord God of wrath against sin.  Praise God for Christ’s Holy scent upon us!

“As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as He which hath called you is Holy, so be ye Holy in all manner of conversation (entire lifestyle); because it is written, Be ye Holy; for I am Holy.”  (1 Peter 1:14-16)

Holiness is the outer expression of inner righteousness:  If we have Christ’s own perfect righteousness imputed, put to our account, by faith in His one-time Sacrifice for all our sins – then we must seek at all times to TRY to manifest His Holiness in our daily lives continually.  Others cannot see our inner righteousness, but they can certainly see our outer Holiness if being faithfully practiced before their very eyes.

Even our imperfect attempt at living Holy lives, is clearly seen and understood by the world of the unsaved, as a sign of what the Living Lord God has done in the Christian’s heart.  As one once said to me, ‘You cannot be saved and not know it.  And you cannot be saved and not show it.’  You can therefore ‘show’ a world of unsaved souls that you and I have Christ’s inner righteousness, by the Holiness we seek to practice outwardly before them.

“Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.  A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.  Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.  Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.”  (Matthew 7:18-20)

 “...Man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7b)

The Alabaster Box: Think for a moment about the characteristics which went to make up a vessel such as the alabaster box featured in the Matthew 26:6-13 Bible passage; for, time spent in such Scriptural meditations proves profitable to every Christian’s faith.  (Psalm 119:105)

Alabaster is a substance which is made up of gypsum, calcium sulphate, from which plaster of Paris is created, often to cast a splint around broken bones.

It is mixed with water, moulded to a particular shape and, when dried hard, it can appear as a starling white, translucent, vessel of fragile vulnerability.  Alabaster, therefore, is a perfect TYPE of the Christian’s character and has so very much in common with our frail human nature.

We of the Christian faith are also made up of vulnerable constituents: we are Eternally secure, yet so easily broken; we appear startling white in outer behaviour and morals; yet our hearts are so often filled with carnal corruptions; we desire to be ever flowing with Christlikeness, yet so often are found dry and seemingly ready to crack.  Food for thought, what?

“But we have this treasure (Christ Jesus) in earthen vessels (alabaster boxes?), that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.”     (2 Corinthians 4:7)

The alabaster box featured in the suggested Scripture-reading was filled with precious ointment called spikenard, or pure nard, which was left in its liquid form.  The spikenard is the plant, a fragrant Indian herb; the nard is the perfumed ointment prepared from this plant.  Precious perfume indeed. 

“I am the Vine, ye are the branches; he that abideth in Me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit; for without Me (Christ Jesus) ye can do nothing.”  (John 15:1-11)

The Christian is maligned by the world due to his/her still possessing all the traits of a fallen human nature.  Yet, by God’s grace, we are filled with the Spirit of God and thus we can also manifest all the precious and Holy fruits of God the Holy Spirit. Hallelujah! Glory to the Lamb! (Galatians 5:22-23)

Mark’s account of the alabaster box reveals the fact that the box had first to be broken before the precious ointment inside could be used to serve the Master.  (Mark 14:3) 

Christian’s too must often be ‘broken’, abused, and maligned by the unsaved world, before the fruits of the Spirit pour forth and are manifested to the greater glory of the Lord Jesus.  (Hebrews 11:6; 31-40) (Psalm 30:5b)

The world sees through much of our translucent weaknesses and finds fault to malign.  Praise God, He looks right through all our outer weaknesses to the true motives of our Christian hearts and blesses us according to our motivation, rather than the limitations of what we actually achieve!  The motives God has given us are rewarded when we try our best to act upon them for Christ’s glory.  Now, that is good news for ‘alabaster box’ Christians such as we.

If Christ’s righteousness is genuinely within the regenerate Christian – God’s true Holiness will shine out and be witnessed by a world that lives in perpetual darkness and sin. 

“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in Heaven.”  (Matthew 5:16)

Verse 9.  “All Thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia out of the ivory palaces...  Christ was an Alabaster Box filled with Righteousness and Holiness.  When Sacrificed on Golgotha’s Cross for the redemption of sinners, His pure Righteousness was poured out upon a world that was, and still is, sick with gross sin.  When we, by faith, partake of Christ’s Salvation grace, we too begin to conform to His image, and reveal His Holiness unto other lost souls.  We smell sweet in order to draw sinners to Christ’s Cross, that they too might find faith to believe and receive the Eternal Salvation Christ alone can give.  (Acts 4:12)

Thought:  When shattered by life’s cruel blows, let Christ’s love and hope pour forth abundantly.  Who knows if some poor lost soul might, by God’s grace, find life anew.

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