WHAT IS CHRISTIAN HOLINESS?
W HAT IS C HRISTIAN H OLINESS?
Holiness is God's gift and provision to all His children through Jesus Christ. Holiness fits us for fellowship with God, the Holy One, and makes us witnesses to Jesus Christ in the world.
God is Holy. That is to say God is known and understood by His holiness. God's love was revealed to the world through His son Jesus Christ in order that men should come to the Light, to the true Light . The Apostle John says "God is light, and in Him is no darkness at all." John continues by telling us that "if we walk in the light as He is, in the light we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin." [I John 1:5-7].
John tells us that the message Jesus brought is that "God is Light." This is the foundation, not only of his epistles, but also of his gospel - see John 1:4-9 .
Holiness (or sanctification), therefore, is the experience [i.e. spiritual state and moral condition] of all who walk in the Light.
In his Epistles John shows us that God's holiness and His love are inseparable. We cannot claim to "walk in the light" if we do not love our brother. Neither can we love God if we love the world.
HOLINESS NOT OPTIONAL
Holiness is not an option for the Christian believer; it is not something we can take or leave , for God says, "Be ye holy for I Am Holy." [Leviticus 20:7 and I Peter 1:15-16]. Because God is Holy we MUST be holy to have fellowship with Him and to be His representatives in the world. It is for this purpose God gives the Holy Spirit to all who obey Him (Acts 5:32).
"In him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light, which enlightens every man that cometh into the world. " John 1:4-9.
VESSELS UNTO HONOUR
The writer to the Hebrew believers informs us that without holiness "no man shall see the Lord." [Hebrews 12:14]. Holiness is God's will for every believer in Jesus Christ.
"For ye know what commandments we gave you by the Lord Jesus. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification (holiness), that ye should abstain from fornication: That every one of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification (holiness) and honour." I Thessalonians 4:2-4.
In writing to Timothy, Paul says -
"Let every one that names the name of Christ depart from iniquity. But in a great house there are not only vessels of gold and of silver, but also of wood and of earth; and some to honour, and some to dishonour. If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart." II Timothy 2:19-22.
Those who truly desire to honour the Lord will depart from iniquity and purge themselves that they may be vessels unto honour in God's great house. These are they who have "washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb" [Revelation 7:14] and "walk in the light, as He is in the light" because "the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses" us "from all sin." [I John 1:7]
The reason why believers in Jesus Christ can attain unto Holiness is because God's desire is that they should be holy (see above*) . However, believers cannot attain holiness through self-perfection, only through death with Jesus Christ (via Calvary) is sanctification obtained. For "Christ Jesus... is made unto us... sanctification... That, according as it is written, He that glories, let him glory in the Lord. [I Corinthians 1:26-31]
"BE YE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY"
Today the Church of Jesus Christ faces one of the greatest onslaughts of damnable heresies ever to be concocted. There is no doubt that we live in times when apostasy is on every side and when those who "obey the truth" are ridiculed and persecuted - but such are Scriptural promises! The Apostle Paul told Timothy that,
"all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. But evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving, and being deceived." II Timothy 3:12-13.
"The Way of Holiness" is at odds with the world and its god. Isaiah, by the inspiration of the Spirit of God said,
"And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it; but it shall be for those: the wayfaring men, though fools, shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor any ravenous beast shall go up thereon, it shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk there: And the ransomed of the LORD shall return, and come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Isaiah 35:8-10.
This "highway" called the "Way of Holiness" is the one and only way that God has provided for people to return to Him. There is no other way provided and unless we come God's way we cannot and will not know Redemption. The "Way of Holiness" is only for the "redeemed of the Lord," One, they escape the world, it's evils and it's god (Satan), and two, they return to the heavenly abode (Zion - see Heb. 12:22)
"Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passes away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abides for ever." I John 2:15-17
And Jesus warned His disciples -
"If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hates you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also. But all these things will they do unto you for my name's sake, because they know not him that sent me." John 15:18-21.
"There shall be false teachers among you, who secretly shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of." II Peter 2:1-2.
The precious blood of the Lord Jesus Christ - which is only known to those who walk in the Light - provides victory over the world, the flesh and the devil. We are made overcomers through Jesus Christ and the provision God has given us through Him. This alone is Christian Holiness.
Jesus, Thy cross is sweet to me,
This blessèd place of rest;
Abiding here brings liberty
From all that once distressed;
All my condition, so helpless and stubborn,
All the despair that ensued;
Jesus, my Lord, I die in Thee,
In Thee I rise renewed.
Lord, my disease was unto death
And could not be improved,
So Thou hast given Thy death to me
With all its sting removed.
Oh, what release, so long longed for!
My soul mounts up on wings!
Here, where all earthly hopes do cease,
The new creation springs.
Sentence of death I bore within,
And bear continually;
Glorious hope! No ground for sin
Shall remain in me.
Dust returns again to dust
And can appear no more;
Love returns again to love
Ever to endure.
Jesus, Thy cross is given to me,
A gift unspeakably great;
Nothing but this could remedy
My accursed state.
Now from the curse Thou hast provided
This way of escape alone;
This is the way that all may go,
This is too hard for none.
Copyright @ Emmaus Trust
Used by permission
The Way of Holiness. Jonathan Edwards