Tag Archives: Holiness

Christ Saves His People

Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.

2 Tim. 2:19

Holiness of life is not an option for the believer. Belief in Christ means a changed heart that leads to a changed life. Christ must be Lord, sin must be rejected, and holiness desired and pursued. We may stumble and fall on occasion, but our heart’s desire is Christlikeness. Christ saves his people, he completely transforms us at the foot of the Cross.

Christ will be master of the heart, and sin must be mortified. If your life is unholy, your heart is unchanged; you are an unsaved person. If the Savior has not sanctified you, renewed you, given you a hatred of sin and a love of holiness, the grace which does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit.

Christ saves His people, not in their sins but from them. Without holiness “no man shall see the Lord” (Heb. 12:14). “Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim. 2:19). If not saved from sin, how can we hope to be counted among His people? Lord, save me even now from all evil, and enable me to honor my Savior.

Charles H. Spurgeon, Daily Help  [electronic ed.] (Escondito, CA: Ephesians Four Group), July 5.

The Parent’s Nature

Sharing the Father’s Nature

By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.

1 Jn. 2:5-6

A heart that has been changed by the Holy Spirit is a heart that reflects the Father’s character. A born-again experience transforms our motives, our desires, and our goals. From heart of selfishness to love, the Holy Spirit works the life of Christ in us. We cannot claim to be a Christian without our lives reflecting in some manner the character, attitude, and purposes of Christ.

If you know as a fact that God is righteous, John says, then you will perceive as a logical consequence, “that everyone who does what is right has been born of him” (1 Jn. 2:29). The child exhibits the parent’s character because he shares the parent’s nature. A person’s righteousness is thus the evidence of his new birth, not the cause or condition of it.

John Stott, The Letters of John: Tyndale New Testament Commentaries, rev. edn. (Leicester: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 122.

 

The Reign of God’s Grace

Grace is Empowerment to Live the Christian Life

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

2 Cor. 9:8

God’s grace is Jesus being the desire, ability, and power in us to respond to every life situation according to the will of God. Jesus is our desire for he works in us a hunger for holiness. Jesus is our ability for he enables us to make godly decisions and choices. Jesus is our power for he strengthens us to overcome the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil. Grace is the person, Jesus, living his life in and through us empowering every one of us to live a righteous and holy life (2 Cor. 9:8, 2 Cor. 12:1-10, Titus 2:11-14).

We’re brought into God’s kingdom by grace; we’re sanctified by grace; we receive both temporal and spiritual blessing by grace; we’re motivated to obedience by grace; we’re called to serve and enabled to serve by grace; we receive strength to endure trials by grace; and we’re glorified by grace. The entire Christian life is lived under the reign of God’s grace.

Jerry Bridges, Holiness Day-by Day (Colorado Springs, CO, NavPress, 2008), 52.

Feast of All Saints

What Is a Saint?

To the church of God which is at Corinth, to those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours:

1 Cor 1:2 NKJV

According to the Church Calendar, November 1 is All Saints Day. All Saints Day commemorates all who have died in Christ and walked holy and faithfully with him. Special attention is given to their having been living examples of Christlikeness with special praise to God for their availability to the Spirit’s work, gifts, and power.

A saint is not someone who is perfect, but a sinner who looks to Christ for life-transforming grace in their chronic weaknesses and on-going struggles. Saints are not those who perform adequately in the spiritual life, but are those who most available to the Holy Spirit’s gifts and power. Saints are those who are needy and looking constantly to Christ for help.

To be holy does not mean being superior to others: the saint can be very weak, with many mistakes in his life. Holiness is this profound contact with God, becoming a friend of God: it is letting the Other work, the Only One who can really make the world both good and happy.

Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger

Total Abstinence

Christ Keeps Us From Sinning

Now to him who is able to keep you from stumbling and to present you blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy,to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever. Amen.

Jude 24-25

Day-by-day holiness is Jesus’ active obedience becoming our present obedience by the power of the Cross through the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit. This is the Life of God in us: we trust the indwelling Christ who changes our hearts, thus producing right character in us leading to right conduct through us. Jesus Christ has brought us into union with a holy God. His holiness becomes our holiness by faith. His victory is our victory. Jesus’ victory over the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil is our victory over the world, the flesh, sin, death, and the devil. The resurrected Christ lives in us by the Holy Spirit: He who raised Jesus from the dead gives us life and that life is the freedom not to sin (Rom. 8:11).

Day-to-day holiness can be great acts of sacrifice and suffering, but normally consists of a thousand little choices of yielding self in the minute, daily, ordinary stuff of life. This holiness by faith is a resting confidence in “a trusted Christ” who renovates our hearts, purifies our spirit, uplifts our soul, and strengthens our inner man.  Jesus Christ in us adjusts our character choices, He strengthens us to do the right thing.

Total abstinence is the watchword of the Gospel about all sinning on the Christian’s part . . . . And now let us remember that for this total abstinence there is stored up in Him divine sufficiency. Yes, and we are in Him. The feeblest believer in this tent is in Jesus Christ, and Jesus Christ in the eternal covenant is in him. What we want is to turn the fact into practical realization; it is to turn what we have into what we use; it is to turn what we know into what we are. Look then, look off, look in, unto the Lord!

It is not manufactured within; it is derived from above; and it is derived in that most wonderful way–the embosoming of Jesus Christ in the very hearts of His own, by faith and by the Spirit . . . .

I will not think of the infinities of my need, except to lead me to the divine simplicity of the infinity of His supply. We are in Him; we derive it from Him. . . . I know what it is to lay the whole of it [i.e., besetting sin] upon my Lord’s head, and the whole of it beneath my Lord’s feet, and without anticipations of the future, to know that for the next step He is able to keep me from stumbling as well as hereafter, as He will, to present me faultless with exceeding joy (Jude 24-25).

Handley C. G. Moule, “The Total Abstinence of the Gospel,” Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed., Herbert Stevenson (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1959), 55.

Pettiness and the Cross

“I Am So Offended!”

Whoever forgives an offense seeks love, but whoever keeps bringing up the issue separates the closest of friends.

Proverbs 17:9

Pettiness takes a slight, hurt, or misunderstanding, and magnifies the gravity of that real or supposed offense to unrealistic proportions. This self-absorption brings with it pain and frustration for everyone.

Pettiness takes something of small importance and turns it into a grievance of monstrous significance. Pettiness creates a hardness of heart,  a smallness of thinking, and a distorted view of reality. Pettiness is marked by meanness of spirit and a lack of generosity, especially where offense has been taken and a grudge held.

Forgiveness releases the bitterness of spirit and the bondage of soul caused by pettiness. The Cross reveals our pettiness and gives us an eternal perspective and convinces us of the smallness of our hurts and pain. “Forgiving one another, if anyone has a complaint against another; even as Christ forgave you, so you also must do” (Col. 3:13 NJKV).

Pettiness–of the heart, of relationships, of cares–does not leave room in the heart for God, it is truly demonic. The fallen world is a petty world, a world in which high vision is not perceived, a high note is not heard. In a petty world, even religion becomes petty. The perversion of Christianity does not come from heresies, but from the fall. A fall downward, and pettiness is down there.

Alexander Schmemann, The Journals of Father Alexander Schmemann, 1973-1983 (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary, 2000), 41.

Look Into His Face

Christ in the Morning

The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.

Rom. 13:11-14 (NLT)

In the early morning, as soon as you awake, remember that you are in the very presence of God, who has ben watching beside you through the long dark hours; look up to His face, and thank Him.

Consecrate to him those first few moments before you leave your bed. Look towards the coming day, through the golden haze of light that streams from the angel of His presence.

You cannot forecast very largely what your difficulties are likely to be, the quarters from you may  be attacked, the burdens that may need carrying. Take care not to view any of these apart from God. Be sure that He will be between you and them, as the ship is between the traveler and the ocean, be it fair or stormy.

As you dress yourself for the day, remember that God supplies you with vesture clean and white. with meekness and gentleness of Christ, with garments of salvation, the robes of righteousness, and the jewels of Christian virtue.

Do not look at these things apart from Him; but remember that they are attributes and graces of His own nature with which to array yourself. And above all put on the armor of light; remembering that God is light.

You are to put on Christ, who is God manifest in the flesh, and you are to descend from your room into the arena of daily battle as one who is endued with the beauty of His character. This concentration of thought upon God , during the act of dressing, will prepare the soul for those acts of adoration, thanksgiving, and intercession, which arise to God as the fragrant incense of the Temple.

F.B. Meyer quoted in His Victorious Indwelling: Daily Devotions for a Deeper Christian Life, ed., Nick Harrison (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1998), 10.

A Holy Nature

The Gift of a New Nature

Christ died, not that we might be able to form a holy nature in ourselves, but that we might receive one ready prepared and formed in Christ for us, by union and fellowship with him.

Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 1999), 36

HT: Of First Importance.