I Peter 1:14-16
As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
As I observe my own behavior and the behavior of those around me, I realize that very often the quest for holiness is defined as being good or bad. We are trained as children to do good things because they are right and because we won’t receive a spanking. In school, being bad is punished with detention or added homework. As adults, the good people are the ones that don’t “drink, smoke, or chew, or hang around with boys that do…” as the saying goes. We mistake these societal constraints as the practices that will bring us to holiness. We accept this as a godly life because the world around us sees it as godliness.
In contrast to this, we are commanded to live as obedient children, holy in all of our behavior, so that we will be holy as God is. I find this a very different picture of holiness, one in which we must know what our God’s holiness looks like before we can pursue holiness in our own lives; a holiness found through study of Scripture and searching prayer to seek out what pleases our God.
I live in North Carolina and I’ve been seeing a lot of “Bible Belt” religion lately. The kind of religion where you go to church on Sunday, you sing the hymns as loudly as you can, and then you go to work on Monday and gossip about the person two desks down. I have to think that God is disgusted by this. I am disgusted by this!
If God has come to live in our lives (as we are promised in the Scripture), He should be filling us with His holiness and, in the process, pushing out our unholiness. Holiness is a natural product of our salvation. Upon our salvation we are justified (washed clean of all of our sin and redeemed for heaven). The process of this salvation, however, must turn into sanctification (the working out of our faith in pursuit of holiness) if we are truly changed by the sacrifice of our Lord.
My pastor has been preaching a series on the purposes of the cross. The point he keeps making is that we were purchased by Christ’s blood to live free from the bondage of sin. The great sacrifice of our Lord should change our perspective and the humility that comes from knowing the Savior that died on that cross must lead us to obedience and holiness. We must always ask ourselves, “Did He die for this?” Did He die so that I could pursue my own desires above obedience? Did He die so that I could sit in a pew on Sunday and appear holy to all of my friends and never pursue the work of holiness?
Today, I challenge you to ask yourself, “What is the place of holiness in my life?” Is the good that you do in your day motivated by public opinion or by obedience to your Savior? Our Lord paid the highest price. Not only did He suffer physical death, but also bore the devastation of God turning His face from Him (His spiritual death). Our salvation is not for public applause or self-inflation… it is for the back-breaking work of transforming us from sinful, earthly beings to holy, spiritual beings.
Pursuing Holiness – Beloved Women – January 23, 2020
By: Stephanie Vroeg, crosswalk.org
Pursuing Holiness – Beloved Women – January 23, 2020
READ:“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 Corinthians 7:1 ESV)
TODAY’S ENCOURAGEMENT: When I think about the over 3,000 promises that God has given us in His Word; I am in awe of His goodness toward us. He has lavished His great and precious promises on us and directs our hearts to Him and away from the things that defile us. God calls us to holiness each day of our lives but we are never alone in our walk. God’s Spirit is at work in each of us, and gives us the strength and courage to be cleansed and purified from whatever is defiling our heart, mind, soul, and spirit.
This world is constantly bombarding us with things that distract us from holy living. May we pause throughout our day and look to our Father in Heaven to filter what we take in and take part of. Sometimes in the busyness of life we forget to look up; but when we do He is right there to lead, guide, and direct us back to a place of holiness.
PRAY: Dear Jesus, may I set my eyes upon You and pause throughout the day to look to You for guidance and direction. May I pursue holiness in my life. Thank You that I don’t have to do this alone. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.
REFLECT: Where in your life do you need to pause and look to Jesus for guidance and direction?
“It is not for your sake, O house of Israel, that I am about to act, but for My holy name, which you have profaned among the nations where you went. I will vindicate the holiness of My great name … which you have profaned in their midst … I will take you from the nations, gather you from all the lands and bring you into your own land.” Ezekiel 36:22-24 NASB
Throughout His relationship with His people, God demonstrated that He was holy.
When He appeared to Moses in the wilderness, He appeared “in a blazing fire” and told Him that “the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”
After the Children of Israel left Egypt, God told them to “consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy.” And, because He was holy, He required that they act in holy ways. For they were His people. They were to stay away from anything unclean.
By the time of Ezekiel, nothing had changed. They had rebelled and gone their own way. But God still was holy. He told them that He would save them, not because they deserved or earned it, but to “prove the holiness of my great name.” He loved them in spite of their sins.
He promised to demonstrate His holiness by gathering them “from all the lands” and bringing them “into your own land.” We have seen the fulfillment of this Promise when, in 1948, Israel became a nation, for the first time in almost 1,900 years.
Today, when you look at the nation of Israel, remember that God is holy. That He keeps His Word. His purposes and plans will be fulfilled. His Promises always are true.
His Word is true for you. And, one day, every nation and every person will know that He alone is the Lord. Worship Him. Serve Him. And seek to live a holy life.
The concept of sanctification relates to holiness. It deals with progression in holiness, or, as the word implies, the sanctifying of human life.
We may consider this doctrine under three heads: the necessity of sanctification, the method of sanctification, and, finally, the extent of sanctification.
I. The Necessity of Sanctification
The necessity of sanctification is declared in words of the Old Testament: “I am the Lord your God…be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44). God is a holy God; hence He will have His people be a holy people. In speaking to Israel He says, “You shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” (Exodus 19:6).
The imperative need for sanctification therefore roots in the nature of God. When God is understood in His holiness, there can be no question about His requirement upon man. For if God made man to have fellowship with Himself, man must be holy even as His Maker.
Over and over again the holiness of God is sharply etched in the Scriptures. One only need call to mind Moses at the burning bush, the Israelites at Sinai not allowed to place a foot on the holy mountain, the Holy of Holies of tabernacle and temple which no man except the high priests (and he only once a year) could enter without dying. Thus does God make terribly vivid His holiness, that men might come to understand the urgency of being holy.
Occasionally one hears God described in familiar and indulgent wayse.g., a nice kind of guy. Aside from the sacrilege involved, such talk leaves no room or need for sanctification. One can then properly be or do anythingand its fine with God. The need for sanctification can root only in a true understanding of the nature of God as holy.
If the necessity of sanctification roots in the holiness of God, it grows in the realization of the unholiness of man. The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are an ever increasing portrayal of mans deep-dyed lack of holiness. It is not only a matter of mans external actions wherein takes Gods name in vain, commits adultery, kills, steals, lies, and so on; it is also an even more urgent matter of mans internal thoughts and feelings wherein he despises God, lusts, hates, envies, judges, condemns. Man is anything but holy; impurity and uncleanness mark his life all through.
Because of Gods holiness and mans unholiness there is separation between God and man. Man was made by God to live a righteous life both now and always, but if there is no holiness in this life, there is only deep misery and pain and continuing separation from God. For to be unholy is to be shut off from God and the riches found in Himand this is torment.
The necessity of sanctification then is grounded in the holiness of God, the unholiness of man, and the resulting separation of God and man in this world and that to come. “Be holy, for I am holy” is a divine commandment, forever inescapable.
Purification for Sins
Scripture Reading — Hebrews 1:1-4
After he had provided purification for sins . . . — Hebrews 1:3
In the opening verses of Hebrews, we learn a lot about Jesus. He is the “heir of all things,” “through whom also [God] made the universe.” Jesus “is the radiance of God’s glory and the exact representation of his being, sustaining all things by his powerful word.” And now we read that he has provided “purification for sins.”
This points to one of the main teachings in the book of Hebrews. Jesus “provided purification for sins.” Notice also that Jesus has already done this for us. It is something in the past.
Purification means being made pure or clean again. When humanity fell into sin, it tainted everything about us. We are unable to do anything to make ourselves pure or clean again. We need someone far greater than we are in order to be purified of our sin.
Having been washed and made pure in Christ, however, we are clean. We do not need to be purified ever again as long as we believe that Jesus has done this already for us. We will learn more about this as the message of Hebrews unfolds. Having been washed and made pure, we are called to live as washed and purified people. We are called to put our sins away and to live holy and pure lives.