Monday, January 26, 2009
The Need for Personal Holiness
I peter 1:14-16. "As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance. But as he which has called you is hold, so be holy in all manner of conversation. Because it is written, be holy for I am holy." As the Apostle is writing the Holy Spirit draws his attention to Leviticus 11:44 and he writes on holiness. Yet there is a difference. Guided by the Holy Spirit he changed the imperative command "You shall be holy" into a loving appealing exhortation "Be holy." God is holy and He has made holiness the moral condition necessary to the health of his universe. Whatever is holy is healthy; evil is a moral sickness that must end ultimately in death. Note eight aspects of holiness. First, the dislike of holiness. A man once said "I do not believe in all this teaching abut holiness and Christ conformity. I am quite content to know that I am saved and on my way to Heaven." Dr. Stuart Holden answered the man in the following way "My friend that is hardly the proper criteria of judgment. You are satisfied to know that you are saved and going to Heaven. But is God satisfied? Is that what Christ died for?" The man was silent. Bishop Moule declared "The fully pardoned must long to be fully holy." I Thess. 4:3 "For this is the will of God, even your sanctification." Second. The need of holiness. Owen said "I do not understand how a man can be a true believer unto whom sin is not the greatest burden, sorrow, and trouble." The very fact that we are sinners shows a need for holiness. A Spirit filled believer will desire to be holy because God is holy. This is proof that we love the Lord Jesus Christ. The fruit of the Spirit is character, conduct and converts. Third, The definition of holiness. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God. The holy person will endeavor to shun every known sin and to keep every Biblical commandment. A holy man will strive to be like the Lord Jesus Christ. It is complete conformity in all things great and small to the Holy will of God. Holiness us being one mind with God in all the judgments of the mind, in the feelings of the heart, and in all the outworking of life. Holiness is agreeing with God's estimate of things. Holiness is to have a conscience clean through the blood, and life guided by the Spirit through the Word. It is to have the power of Christ resting upon you, and to experience joy through the freedom He gives. Forth, the condition of holiness. Bishop Ryle said "We must be holy, because this is the only sound evidence that we have saving faith in our Lord Jesus Christ. The condition of holiness is found in obedience to all known commands and desires of our Lord and obedience to God always leads to the blood of Christ (see I John 1:7). Fifth, the pattern of holiness. "As He" God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ are the true pattern of Holiness. We are in the process of becoming. The Christian seeking holiness will become more and more like Jesus. Sixth, The imperative of holiness. There are many things in life which we can choose to do. God's wisdom leads us to devote ourselves to God in holiness. Without holiness on earth we shall never be prepared to enjoy heaven. Heaven is a holy place. Seventh, the field of holiness. We must be holy in conversation and conduct. Those who do not have a Christianity that sanctifies the small things in life do not have a Christianity that will sanctify the crises of life. Eight, the possibility of holiness. The very fact that God urges us to holiness is sufficient to settle the possibility of holiness. Holiness is wrapped up in Christ. Holiness is a gift and a process. It as a gift from God, in Christ, it is also a process to be worked out in daily life. God is holy with an absolute holiness that knows no degrees, this He cannot impart to His creatures. But there is a relative and contingent holiness which He shares with angels and seraphim in heaven and with redeemed men on earth as their preparation for heaven. This holiness God can and does impart to His children. Above all we must believe that God sees us perfect in His Son while He disciplines and chastens and purges us that we may be partakers of His holiness. Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.