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November 6, 2015

Text: “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who had called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” I Peter 1:14-15

You will notice that the title of this piece contains the word “holiness”. Holiness is not an option for the Christian! There are many who dislike the following words: piety, holiness, righteousness, godliness, purity!  In his book God: As He Longs For You To See Him  (pg. 105) Chip Ingram says that this concept is “…the opposite of profane, common, or ordinary. To be holy is to be different, distinct, or unique.”  These words all insist upon a behavior that glorifies God and differentiates between the one who is disobedient to God and another who is obedient to God.

Why do people have such an abhorrence to the practice of living a truly holy life? In the mainuh, it is because they do not want to be “different”! They consider that being different is a stigma with which they do not want to be  labeled! They want to be “one of the crowd”. They desire acceptance. They don’t want to be perceived as “holy Joes”, “blue noses”, or “Bible bangers”. This idea is totally out of step with the teaching of Jesus and his apostles. Listen to Jesus. “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden…In the same way, let your light shine before others,  so that they may your good workas and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Matthew 5:14, 16  Now listen to the apostle Paul as he quotes the Old Testament. Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters toI’m me, says the Lord Almighty.” Colossians 3:17-18  Worldliness is still the tail that wags the dog!, 0

So how does one acquire holiness? First, God gives you the Holy Spirit at your baptism.  It is the function of and an dothe Holy Spirit to promote holiness in your reborn spirit. Another way to look at the Holy Spirit is to realize that he is also called “the spirit of holiness” (Romans 1:4);  “…his duty is to sanctify you. He is not only Holy in himself, but likewise the Sanctifier of all things which are in any way holy and so called.” (Easton’s Bible Dictionary) The word “sanctify” means “to set apart to a sacred purpose or to religious use.”  (Webster’s Dictionary) Through his word (the Bible, he inspired it), he teaches us right from wrong and encourages us to live by God’s commands.  But in order to accomplish that he needs our help! Holiness in a mutual effort of the Sanctifier and the sanctified (Christians).

The New Testament abundantly stresses the obligation Christians bear to exercise themselves in holiness.  “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling…” Philippians 2:12  The New Testament writers use several figures of speech to encourage our advancement toward holy lives. One figure is found in Colossians 3:5  “Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.” In the next few verses Paul goes on by saying, “…put on the new self which is being renewed in knowledge after the image of its creator.” In verses 12-14 he gives a list of things that we must nourish and exercise to godliness.  Echoing the words of Jesus in John  3:3 about being born again, Peter wrote: ” …he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…” I Peter 1:3 These verses are only a sample of the encouragement we have to be holy.

Let the words of an old hymn  be our prayer.

More purity give me, more strength to o’ercome,
More freedom from earth-stains, more longings for home.
More fit for the kingdom, more useful I’d be,
More blessèd and holy, more, Savior, like Thee.

P. P. Bliss, 1873











One Comment
  1. Larry permalink

    The world turns things upsidedown and inside out. The old devil will deceive any that he can. As you write, he makes folks think of holiness as a bad thing.

    Very good thoughts.


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