Tag Archives: holiness
As my friend Frank and I are working our way through I Peter, I couldn’t help but notice the very practical instructions that Peter gives in this first chapter. Here is the text —
Have you found that sometimes we just simply need to obey some commands? Our culture seems to demand explanations for everything. But the believer in Jesus learns — maybe very slowly — that our God doesn’t always explain the WHYS to His children.
In chapter 8 of The Screwtape Letters, C.S. Lewis has Screwtape give the following advice to Wormwood, his understudy demon: “Do not be deceived, Wormwood. Our cause is never more in danger, than when a human, no longer desiring, but intending, to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe from which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.”
Here are five very clear commands which are for all believers at all times in all cultures facing any circumstances in life:
1. Set Your Hope on What’s Most Important! (v. 13)
2. Don’t Give in to Your Pagan Desires! (v. 14)
3. Be Holy in All You Do! (vv. 15-16)
4. Live Out Your Life as Godly Foreigners Here (vv. 17-21)
5. Love One Another Deeply! (vv. 22-25)
J.I. Packer writes, “By the Spirit’s enabling, Christians resolve to do particular things that are right, and actually do them, and thus form habits of doing right things, and out of these habits comes a character that is right.”
He later adds, “Holiness teaching that skips over disciplined persistence in the well-doing that forms holy habits is thus weak; habit forming is the Spirit’s ordinary way of leading us on in holiness.” J.I. Packer, Keep in Step with the Spirit (Old Tappan: Fleming H. Revell, 1984), p. 108-9.
“In American religion, as in ancient Gnosticism, there is almost no sense of God’s difference from us—in other words, his majesty, sovereignty, self-existence, and holiness. God is my buddy, my inmost experience, or the power source for my living my best life now.”
― Michael S. Horton
We’ve lost the idea of God’s transcendence, haven’t we? Your comments?
Universalists (those who say that all will be saved whether they believe in Jesus or not) love to emphasize God’s . . . love! They say that His love is His defining attribute (or characteristic). Nels F.S. Ferré said this about God’s love: “Some have never really seen how completely contradictory are heaven and hell as eternal realities. Their eyes have never been opened to this truth. If eternal hell is real, love is eternally frustrated and heaven is a place of mourning and concern for the lost. Such joy and such grief cannot go together. There can be no psychiatric split personality for the real lovers of God and surely not for God himself. That is the reason that heaven can be heaven only when it has emptied hell, as surely as love is love and God is God. God cannot be faithless to Himself no matter how faithless we are; and His is the power, the kingdom and the glory.”
“Christ is love,” declares Ferré, “and Love never fails. To say that Love fails is to insult God.” No one shall go to a place called hell forever, declares Ferré. “The wonder of Christology is the waiting for the final victory by scorned Love and the transfigured glory of accepted Love where none shall stand outside it.” (for a complete discussion of universalism, see my book The Other Side of the Good News: Confronting Contemporary Challenges to Jesus’ Teaching on Hell).
But the only attribute of God which is repeated three times in Scripture is His . . . HOLINESS! God is holy, allergic to sin! The late Dr. R.C. Sproul produced a series of lectures on the Holiness of God (which may be found here). Here’s a short video on our common view of God’s holiness by a very young R.C. Sproul:
Aren’t you grateful for the MERCY of a HOLY GOD?
This new series of messages at Crossroads Fellowship Church (available on their website: crossroadschurchinaugusta.com) is looking at ten areas where we Christians get bogged down.
Let’s tell the truth — all of us get bogged down by SIN! We might call it by other names, but our choices, habits, and thoughts are often quite different than what God wants for our lives.
Part of the problem is we aren’t sure what qualifies as a SIN anymore! When our culture is our dictionary, defining sin becomes a moving target. However, God’s declarations of what is sin and what isn’t must be the believer’s standard. I love the following cartoon which illustrates the need to call things by name:
We need God’s Word to “clear up a few things around here,” don’t we? Our tendency is either to redefine sin or to grade some sins as worse than others. Of course, murdering someone is worse that thinking about doing them in, and actually committing adultery is worse than lusting after another person in one’s heart. BUT, Jesus was getting at the heart of the matter in Matthew 5. SINS are not just outward actions, but expressions of the inner man, one’s heart.
The main text we want to look at in regard to SIN is I John 1:5-10 which reads:
5 This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light; in him there is no darkness at all. 6 If we claim to have fellowship with him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not live out the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
8 If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.
Just one point today from this text: God is not the source of our SIN. He is light and there is no darkness in Him at all. In a world that would rather compromise the character of God than confess its transgressions, we must insist that the true God is holy, holy, holy. And we aren’t. (to be continued)
1 The Lord reigns,
let the nations tremble;
he sits enthroned between the cherubim,
let the earth shake.
2 Great is the Lord in Zion;
he is exalted over all the nations.
3 Let them praise your great and awesome name—
he is holy.
4 The King is mighty, he loves justice—
you have established equity;
in Jacob you have done
what is just and right.
5 Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his footstool;
he is holy.
6 Moses and Aaron were among his priests,
Samuel was among those who called on his name;
they called on the Lord
and he answered them.
7 He spoke to them from the pillar of cloud;
they kept his statutes and the decrees he gave them.
8 Lord our God,
you answered them;
you were to Israel a forgiving God,
though you punished their misdeeds.
9 Exalt the Lord our God
and worship at his holy mountain,
for the Lord our God is holy.
1 The Lord reigns, he is robed in majesty;
the Lord is robed in majesty and armed with strength;
indeed, the world is established, firm and secure.
2 Your throne was established long ago;
you are from all eternity.
3 The seas have lifted up, Lord,
the seas have lifted up their voice;
the seas have lifted up their pounding waves.
4 Mightier than the thunder of the great waters,
mightier than the breakers of the sea—
the Lord on high is mighty.
5 Your statutes, Lord, stand firm;
holiness adorns your house
for endless days.