What does this word mean to you? It can conjure up so many different things to different people. I have mentioned in a previous blog that I love Church History as it is a picture of God restoring truth to His church. In the 18th century the Holy Spirit very strongly restored the truth of holiness and holy living.
There were basically two schools or interpretations that developed.
- The Eradicationalists who believed that our old nature was “plucked” out when one received “the blessing of Holiness”, this was considered a second work of grace in the life of the believer.
- The daily progressive walk of the believer as he learns to live in continuous surrender to the Lord, and lays hold of the grace of God daily to live a holy life.
Both these schools are clearly based on different interpretations of the Word of God. I was born again in a church that preached eradication, and I thank God for the strong emphasis on holy living I received. I have come to see that the second school is much closer to the truth found in the Word of God.
Holiness is not a New Testament concept, way back in the Old Testament God commanded His people, “Be ye holy even as I am holy”, it was not a command they found easy to fulfil.
Thankfully through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and the glorious inheritance we have as New Covenant believers we can live holy lives. By the grace of God I can live above sin. Sadly, I am not there yet, but I seek to fully live in my inheritance as a son of God.
I love the definition of holiness by A.W. Pink,
HOLINESS CONSISTS OF THE INTERNAL CHANGE OR RENOVATION OF OUR SOULS WHEREBY OUR MINDS, AFFECTIONS AND WILLS ARE BROUGHT INTO HARMONY WITH GOD.
As I was growing up the sad thing was that so much of holiness was a set of legalistic do’s and don’ts. Expressed in what you wore, what places you didn’t go too, what you could not say and do etc etc. I was even told I must not go into a shop on Sunday, because I was making people work on the Lord’s day.
Many things although legalistic, were good not to be involved in, thankfully I do not believe I was hurt by the legalism in my day. Frank Damazio says and I quote:
Everything is permissible for me, but everything is not beneficial (see 1Cor:6:12)
Everything is permissible for me, but I will not be mastered by anything. I will not allow anything to bring me under its power (see 1Cor:6:12)
If something is permissible but hurts other people, I will refrain (see 1Cor.8:13)
In everything I do, I will purpose to bring glory to God 1Cor.10:31
I will keep my thoughts lined up with the Word of God. My thoughts are as important as my actions (see 1 Sam. 16:7,Ps.139:3-4,Prov.23:7, Phil.4:8).
I will transform my habits into godly disciplines for living (see Rom.6:19,12:1-2,2 Tim.3:16).
I would encourage you to go over each of Frank’s statements, and think about them, check out the scriptures, and if you agree, make them the standards by which you live your life with the Lord’s help.
We agree that holiness is the believer’s separation from the cares, lusts, and carnal culture of the world around us in response to God’s call to be a holy people who are set apart for God. This holy calling is a sovereign act of God, whereas the perfecting of holiness is an ongoing everyday, gradual, continual responsibility of every believer and every church.
We do not lock ourselves away in a monastery, to escape the world, for we are to be light and salt to our generation. We must be “In the world, but not of the world” Paul tells us.
Let the world see the light of God shining in you, they will want to escape the darkness they are in. Be so salty that they will become so thirsty to have what you have.
Holiness and living a holy life is being normal in a very abnormal world. You do not need to and must not compromise to reach the lost. Let Jesus so live his life out through you, that people will be drawn to the Jesus in you.
Holiness is not a message that is preached much these days, so sadly we are living in a generation where many believers are living so below what the Lord requires of them. Maybe they have never been told, maybe they are setting the standard in their own lives by the Christians around them. We must get back to the Word of God. I think the evil one has also got his grubby hands on many believers and churches and deceiving them with the lie from the pit of hell “everybody is doing it, so it must be ok”. Well, everybody is not doing it and it is not ok.
I have just been reminded as I type of the type of Church Jesus is coming back for. Paul tells us in Eph:5:27 Jesus wants to present to Himself a church, WITHOUT SPOT, OR BLEMISH OR WRINKLE, OR ANY SUCH THING, BUT THAT SHE SHOULD BE HOLY AND WITHOUT BLEMISH.
I think some people think that just before Jesus breaks through the clouds to take His Church home, God the father will flick His fingers and all the spots and blemishes and wrinkles will disappear, well I have got bad news for you.
We must work out our salvation with fear and trembling.
We must draw near to God, and then He will draw near to us.
We must PRESS towards the mark of the prize of our high calling.
We must seek first the Kingdom of God.
I want to encourage and challenge you in this blog, “seek holiness without which no man will see God”. We can’t do it in our own strength, but by the grace of God we can do all things through Christ which strengthens us.
Please write and tell me your response to this blog.