We live in a filthy world,
breaking apart at the seams. The early church had such a standard
of holiness, those not born again, “dared not join them” (Acts 5 : 13).
The call of holiness in today’s church has been suppressed by the blessing,
quick-fix gospel. Read Oswald Chambers, Watchman Nee, Norman Grubb,
A.W. Tozer, Andrew Murray, Jessie Penn-Lewis and you will begin to desire
to be holy. You will see that 1 Peter 1 : 15 -16 and Matthew 5 :
48 are not impossibilities, but glorious Him possibilities.
Explanation of Holiness
The holiness of God is the
essence of ethics, and permeates all His other attributes. This essential
prosperity of God demands that sin be dealt with. Our sin saturated
minds cannot grasp the pure crystal stream of God’s holiness : it is foreign
to human nature at even it’s best and most exalted. Confronted with
the Holy One man can only tremble, and be silent as Isaiah’s awesome, prostrating
vision. Holiness means ‘to be well’ and ‘to be whole’ in the Anglo-Saxon
language and we need to start here in attempting a definition. That
happy state is reserved for those who know God’s righteousness DEMANDED
the Cross and His love PROVIDED the Cross. Righteousness, God’s self-preserving
attribute was the sentinel or guard. Love, God’s self imparting attribute
was the guide. Holiness = Righteousness + Love + Glory. We
are to obtain glory said Paul to the Thessalonian church. God’s holiness
begins by impartation through the blood of the Lamb to the humble and honest
heart. The seed of sanctification begins at the new birth as we are
separated from the guilt of sin. The Cross of Calvary then must do
a work to deliver us from the power of indwelling sin. When Jesus
returns we are transported from the presence of sin. Holiness will
be the great theme of the millennium age! (See Zechariah 14 and Isaiah
35). So we need to desire holiness now more than life itself, to
be prepared for the ages to come.
is the character of Jesus as revealed in the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
We begin to partake of this divine nature after the new birth. He
is looking for the fruit of holiness and will return for a Bride without
spot or wrinkle.
1. Holiness is commanded.
(Leviticus 19 : 2)
Peter amplifies the O.T.
injunction by saying “in all manner of living” – be holy (1 Peter 1 : 15).
Paul links holiness with glory in 2 Corinthians 3 : 18 (RV version) :
Paul also warns the Corinthian
church of God’s judgement if holiness is not pursued. 1 Corinthians
3 : 16 – 17 needs to be memorised because the word hidden in our hearts
will sanctify our memory. We are the new covenant sanctuary of God
in our spirits. When David placed the Levites around the ark of the
covenant to worship for 36 years there was an open heaven. His tabernacle
had no division between holy place and holy of holies. God does not
want a wall between your soul and your spirit. The soul should be
a pure vehicle for God’s life to come through your spirit and influence
your world. We are God’s temple and any attempt to defile or destroy
it inevitably leads to the wrath of God unless we repent.
“But we all
with unveiled face, reflecting as in a mirror the glory of
the Lord, are TRANSFORMED into the same image from
GLORY to GLORY even as from the Lord the Spirit.”
2. Holiness commends Jesus
in the World
We are the salt of the earth
and light in the world. We must mirror Jesus Christ and power only
comes through a clean vessel. It’s our life that speaks to others,
not so much our words. People are moved by radiations more than exhortations.
I knew a holy Bible teacher who through a smile and a simple handshake
could impart a holy anointing that blessed your soul. John 17 : 15
says we are in the world, implicated in it’s trade, discussion, politics,
education, work and so on, but we are insulated from the spirit of the
age behind the world system. When we sin we ever feel our need in
this life of the daily cleansing of 1 John 1 : 7 – 9.
3. Holiness is communicated
through the Son of God
Luke 1 : 35 describes the
holiness of the Incarnation, the birth of Jesus Christ. His holiness
comes to us through redemption and Pentecost. Galatians 4 : 6 wonderfully
The degree of our salvation
is the degree we see Jesus. We progress through discipleship and
obedience from forgiven sinners to free sons!
because you are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts,
crying, ‘Abba, Father’.”
Experiencing sonship is evidence
of maturity. You can be prominent in your church, but a lightweight.
Are you significant because you want holiness more than anything else?
The degree of real success in leadership is not because we follow the right
strategy or have the right church structure, but HOLINESS! Is Jesus
having His way with us? Are you living as a freed son?
THE EXPERIENCE OF
ISAIAH 6 : 1 – 8
A real vision humbles you.
The counterfeit vision exalts you and leaves you with a smug feeling of
pride. Ezekiel and Daniel were debilitated by the honour of beholding
the glory of God. Isaiah received the awesome prostrating vision
which brought the impact of conviction, “woe is me, I am undone!”
Undone equals dumb in the Hebrew. He was frozen in the mouth.
When revival is impending, the saints speak a lot less and tend to whisper.
Once a word is spoken it can never be retrieved – our words are in the
ether. The concentration of sin was on Isaiah’s tongue. His
wrong speech was cleansed by the fire of the living coal. The holy
experience of glory elevated Isaiah from seventeen years as a local pastor
to becoming an international prophet. Isaiah 6 was his Acts 2 experience
– a sanctification by fire which brought him to hear divine intercourse.
God trusts the holy man or woman with His inheritance. Obadiah 17
reveals the divine order :- deliverance, holiness and inheritance.
In past generations, deliverance did not need to be emphasised because
society still had moral foundations. Since 1950, deliverance has
become an essential precursor to real holiness. The experience of
having demons cast out from our lives quickens the hunger for holiness.
Many believers think the new birth alone makes them holy and delivered,
but experience and a close look at God’s work tells another story.
The difference between justification, and sanctification can be seen in
this summary chart :
to my account)
||DONE IN US
|4.GOOD WORKS EXCLUDED
||GOOD WORKS ESSENTIAL
|5.OBJECTIVE – in Him
(position in Christ)
condition through Christ
|6.BY DECLARATION OF THE
||BY OPERATION OF THE SPIRIT
|7.FORGIVENESS – GUILT
OF SIN REMOVED
||FREEDOM – grip of sin
The experience of holiness
is IMPARTED so the powerful grip of sin is broken. This must not
be confused with sinless perfectionism, but a state of abiding, where we
need not sin, becomes our privilege. My life is only what the Holy
Spirit makes it.
Isaiah had to see the ascended
Lord surrounded by the burning, incandescent ones who cried, “Holy, Holy,
Holy.” Leaders of throne worship, the seraphim, were also guardians
of His holiness by fire. He saw a bright heaven in the year King
Uzziah died. There may be calamity on earth, but there is always
consolation in heaven when the eyes of our heart are flooded with light.
In the year, when my husband committed adultery; in the year we went bankrupt;
in the year the floods took away your house; in the year I lost my job
– heaven’s holy resources are still available for you! God orders
catastrophe that we may receive a deeper revelation of Himself, of ourself,
and a lost world! He will bring us to the place again and again where
we know that human life cannot live the Christian life, so that we may
ENTRANCE TO HOLINESS
Reading : ROMANS
6 : 1 – 8 : 17
This logical sequence contains
the keys to entering in. The holiness principle is found in Romans
6 : 14.
The link between sin and law
is found in 1 Corinthians 15 : 56, “the strength of sin is the law.”
The law showed our guilt before the new birth in Romans 3. The law
shows our helplessness and hopelessness after the new birth in Romans 7.
The great truths of Romans 6 and 7 must be “obeyed from the heart”.
The word “form of doctrine” in 6 : 17 means the imprint of doctrine.
The word for “form” is the same as the imprint of the nails on His hands!
If God is going to brand “HOLINESS” into our spirits, the Roman letter,
vital to our understanding must be meditated upon again and again.
sin shall not have dominion over you (Romans 6),
for you are
not under law (Romans 7) but under grace.” (Romans 8)
Let every distress, trial,
temptation, defeat and disappointment drive you to the place of allowing
the light from the Cross to show you how God sees it all. He will
use these things to break from us the self - delusion that thinks we can
live the Christian life by our own ability. The law in Romans 7 helps
us to come to the end of ourselves. Moses in Midian knew it, and
so did Jacob with Laban, which is perhaps the clearest picture of the breaking
of a believer. We are meant to feel our INABILITY, and the blessed
schizophrenia of Romans 7 : 14 – 18. The new man is trying
to do good, but messing up and missing out on the resurrection life of
the Spirit…..this is the carnal man. In Romans 6 we have the picture
of the natural man or Satan in us, as the spirit of disobedience doing
evil. Remember Jesus to the unregenerate disciples in Luke 11 : 13…..
In Romans 8 we see the spiritual
man, the new man succeeding in the power of the law of the Spirit of life.
“If you, then,
being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children….”
Just before that wonderful
release we reach the great despair of Romans 7 : 24 “O, wretched
man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
The temporary uprising of the dominion of sin was allowed by God to stop
from our self – reliant self that keeps acting in independence of God.
The law in Romans 7 accelerates the sinfulness of sin and it’s antagonism
to God within the new creation believer. Most of God's children do
not go through Romans 6 and 7 because some form of covetousness (7 : 7)
still reigns. “What’s in it for me?” questions Peter in Matthew
19 : 27. So it is today. To the believer dead to sin, and dead
to the law, the law can no longer say “You shall” or “You shall not”.
We have passed into a new sphere, in Christ Jesus, where we contain, as
a vessel, the precious treasure of the life that God lives. The condition
is to choose to be slaves of righteousness by departing from every known
sin. This becomes an easy yoke for those who have seen their funeral
nailed to the tree with their crucified Lord! (See Romans 6 : 6).
This co – crucifixion with Christ is the basis of victory over self and
demons. Preaching must revive this truth, so clearly seen in Galatians
2 : 20 (a).
“I (the old self) have been
crucified with Christ,
nevertheless I (the
new self) live, yet not I, (self - assertive self)
but Christ lives in
me (the liberated personality of the new creation.)”
We placard our horizon with
“Not I but Christ” and enter the holy life of the Spirit. Legalistic
holiness centres on TRY HARDER in :
GOING TO MEETINGS
The Cross in my life for
God stops all that nonsense and causes me to know the leading of the Lord
in all matters. The big secret of Jesus was that the Father LIVED
IN HIM. (See John 14 : 10). Now CHRIST LIVES IN ME. I
don’t have to come apart at the seams. Only Jesus by the power of
the Holy Spirit can do the Sermon on the Mount. As we die daily to
self, He in us can live righteously through our thoughts, emotions, actions
and even motives. This holiness is the Christian’s vital desire.
EXORTATION TO HOLINESS
2 CORINTHIANS 6 : 11 - 7 : 1
Holiness teaching is never
external law threatening you with “you shall” and “you shall not”, but
internally received truth that convicts and comforts. Truth must
hurt before it heals, and it hurts by being applied to the heart.
The Corinthian heart was restricted (v.12) by the kind of city they had
grown up in. We are conditioned by the preconceptions of our past,
culturally, environmentally. Corinth was a tourist and trade city
with much sexual licence. Aphrodite, the goddess of erotic sex, desired
her male and female prostitutes to make love in front of her massive naked
statue. This would excite her to have sex with other gods and confer
blessing upon the copulators. Paul, who lived in great strictness
even before his conversion, was called to Corinth! As an apostle!
Not a calling he would naturally have chosen. So he speaks often
to the church about holiness. Verses 14 to 16 emphasise the difference
between the redeemed community and the seething world of the heathen.
An idol is anything we draw
strength from apart from the Lord Jesus Christ. Corinth was full
of idols, and demonic power. That’s why Paul forbade meat to be sacrificed
to idols, because the average Corinthian gave meat to Aphrodite, Apollos
and Zeus in order to receive the demonic ‘blessings’! Paul was drawing
a line between :
TEMPLE OF GOD
CUP OF THE LORD
CUP OF DEMONS
||(1 Corinthians 10 : 21)
Young believers at Corinth
were under a great temptation to be lured back to the world value of promiscuity
and idolatry. The way of escape in 1 Corinthians 10 : 13 is the way
of the Cross. To die daily, to deny self, to reckon oneself to be
dead to sin so that the power of Cross - death could be a present, living
reality in them.
The Father welcomes saints
who desire the separation of holiness. Are you desperate for real
change? Is the Word of God governing your life, your attitudes and
motives? Are you washed in the blood of Jesus to the extent you are
ANOINTED to see your home town and the streets you live in AS JESUS SEES?
Do we have meaningful fellowship with other believers? Is prayer
an adventure? How do we value one human soul? Is that unsaved
soul more precious than owning all the world? (See Matthew 16 : 26).
WASH yourself with HOLY
BLOOD! Are you sick of yourself? Sick of the world’s values?
Tired and sick of a Christianity that has no heart for holiness?
We need FIRE for our lips,
the CROSS of CHRIST for our self - life and the BLOOD of the LAMB to cleanse
us from the defilement of the world. It’s the only way we keep our
eyes on Jesus. Do you remember your first time out in a car? You
must keep your eye on the road. If you look at people walking or
shop windows you will veer over to what you are looking at. If our
gaze is on the things of the earth we will become worldly, and deny the
precious birthright of being born again. So, come out from among
them and be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean.
In our culture that is TV - and then receive the promise :
Holiness is the highway to practical
sonship. Without holiness we shall not see the Lord. Plead
with God for holiness like the saints of old –
WILL RECEIVE YOU I WILL BE A FATHER TO YOU AND YOU SHALL BE MY SONS
“Lord, make me as holy as
a saved sinner can be by your grace.” Then our Christian lives will
spontaneously reflect the image (the inner branding) of the Lord Himself,
and people will be drawn to God as Jesus is lifted up through you and me,
from WITHIN YOU AND ME. (See Romans 8 : 9, Colossians 1 : 27).
NOW we can LIVE A LIFE WORTH CHRIST DYING FOR!
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