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HOLINESS: A SERIOUS SUBJECT

March 6, 2014

Text:  “Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘”You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”   I Peter 1:13-16

Moderns do not know enough about holiness. Whereas the concept of holiness was, in the past, sought and practiced by Christians, the world at large now considers virtue and devoutness as passé and laughable. Even modern Christians dismiss the concept of holiness as obsolete and dabble with sinful behaviors. But the German reformer Martin Luther said that he had so much to do every day that he could not get it done without engaging in prayer for three or four hours beforehand every morning!  I suspect we have few if any today who practice this discipline at such length. This demands the practice of prayer and other devotional activities. The world seems so busy that everyone excuses themselves citing how busy they are.

What is holiness?  The Old Testament gives copious examples of holiness.  In Deuteronomy 6:6 we see holiness as part of God’s Law and Covenant with Israel.”For you are a holy people to the Lord your God; the Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for His own possession  out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth.”  Devotion is one of the  foundation concepts of  holiness. So, God takes the Israelites and delivers them from Egyptian bondage. Then he leads them to Mt. Sinai and enters into a covenant with them in which they agree to become his exclusive people.  (“…God has chosen you for his exclusive possession…”  They can serve no other gods (Deuteronomy 5:8-9) This is like a marriage. The man and woman are joined together inseperably. (Matthew 19:6) If one of the marriage partners commits adultery the contract may be abrogated. An ancient potentate would set aside a special place where no other man could have relations with any of his wives. This was his harem. This word means” devoted to”.

Thus, Christians who are  purchased from sin become  wed to Christ,  chaste and holy.  Ephesians 5:26-27  Those obedient to the gospel are God’s chosen people.  “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation,  a people for God’s own possession…” God has called you to be a citizenry with a definite lifestyle: a nation  of a blameless lifestyle. Our duty is to demonstrate a distinctive conduct: HOLINESS. “Because it is written, ‘”You shall be holy, for I am holy.'”  I Peter 1:16

However, though the newly baptized Christian is sanctified from his former sins, he still will yield to temptations now and again.  Peter offered the perfect figure of this situation. “‘What the true proverb says has happened to them: The dog returns to its own vomit, and the sow, after washing  herself, returns to wallow in the mire.”‘ II Peter 2:22  In other words, a  newly baptized Christian is sanctified from sin, (I Corinthians 6:11).  But when he faces sin again and is sucked into the devil’s mire, he must ask God for forgiveness and struggle to remain pure again.

Thus Christians must engage in an every day war to preserve and cultivate holiness. The growth inducing substance for this is the word of God.  I Peter 2:2; Psalms. 119:11  Feed on God’s word and holiness will flourish; ignore God’s word and holiness will wither. 

Seek models of holiness to imitate. Our text at the top of the page affirms that God’s character will be so palpable as to furnish a guide for us. Jesus admits that if we examine the Son of man, we will undoubtedly perceive the Father closely also. John 14:9-10

Also, we will need other Christian examples to imitate.  Paul calls on us to imitate him. I Corinthians 11:1   Mentors are good models and are found within the confines of the men of the church.

“Do not  be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of the mind, that by testing your you may discern what is the will of God, what is good, and acceptable, and perfect.” Romans 12:2

REM

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One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    Randy, you come up with some very needful subjects. I think this is one of the most needful in our world, the church, and our individual lives today, Thanks for the reminders and the directives you remind us of.–Larry

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