Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Becoming Holy

One of my favorites authors is John MacArthur. There are a great number of Christians from our era who can attest to his significant influence. He is a prolific author and a wonderful Bible teacher. I have a devotional book called "Strength for Today" that has been written by Dr. MacArthur. I wanted to share the reading for today with you.
God requires holiness and in Christ provides us the means to attain it.

As we have learned, God is holy, and absolute holiness is the standard for anyone who wishes to be in His presence. "God did not spare angels when they sinned, but case them into hell and committed them to pits of darkness, reserved for judgment" (2 Peter 2:4). In the same way, men who reject God are sent "into the eternal fire which as been prepared for the devil and his angels" (Matthew 25:41).

How then can anyone become holy? There's only one way: through faith in Jesus Christ. It is through Christ's sacrifice for us that God can credit holiness to our account (2 Corinthians 5:21). First Corinthians 6:11 says, "But you were washed, you were sanctified [made holy], but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God." We are now called saints, and the Greek word for this in Scripture actually means "holy ones."

So, by God's grace we are positionally holy. By contrast, however, we are too often unholy in practice. But the Bible says, "Be holy yourselves also in all your behavior" (1 Peter 1:15) and "Let every one who names the name of the Lord abstain from wickedness" (2 Timothy 2:19). We need to be separate from the way the world lives. We need to let others know there is a difference in how Christians live.

When we live holy lives, we will have peace. "There is no peace...for the wicked" (Isaiah 57:21), but God "disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness" (Hebrews 12:10). And that discipline "yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness" (v. 11). If you lack peace, you may well have let sin come between you and God. If so, follow David's example in Psalm 51:9-10 and pray for a clean heart. You should also spend time with those who lead holy lives (Proverbs 13:20; cf. 1 Corinthians 15:33).

I think that, at times, we minimize the ultimate point of our salvation: namely, holiness. We are "saved" from sin in order that we might forever be with God our Loving Father. But, God cannot stand the sight of sin. God sent Jesus into the world to put an end to sin. Yet, we--men and women who claim to love God and worship Him--are too quickly contented to permit sin in our lives.

Do you have the same value of holiness as God? Or, do you shrug off the notion of obedience and holiness as only for really fanatical Christians? What are your thoughts on this important subject?

1 comment:

  1. I keep a list of 8 principles to live by in my office...they were written by Dr. James MacDonald. They remind me to stop playing games with God and be serious about following His Word.

    1. I will do all things as unto the Lord
    2. I will live in light of the judgement seat of Christ
    3. I will consider my weaker brother in all I do.
    4. I will do nothing unless I'm sure it's the right thing to do
    5. I will do all things to the glory of God
    6. I will avoid what may appear wrong even if I know it's not
    7. I will abstain from things which could enslave me
    8. I will seek always to do what I believe Jesus would do.

    So simple to see on paper, another thing to live them out. By His grace alone can we even step up to the plate and by His grace alone are we able to claim victory.