I am using the book The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges as a teaching series for my adult Sunday School class. This study is incredible! What is holiness and can a Christian truly demonstrate holiness in their life?
God despises sin and the Bible tells us that sin separates us from God. The scripture says, "So be holy in all you do" (1 Peter 1:15). So what part of that do we not understand? God commands each of us to be holy in ALL, which means EVERYTHING that we do. WOW! That scripture immediately calls each of us to a higher level in our walk with Christ.
God is holy. He sets the standards for morality. Unlike the Roman gods, He is not warlike, adulterous, or spiteful. Unlike the gods of the pagan cults popular in the first century, He is not bloodthirsty or promiscuous. He is a God of mercy and justice who cares personally for each of His followers. Our holy God expects us to imitate Him by having high moral standards for ourselves. Like Him, we should be both merciful and just, like Him, we should sacrifice ourselves for others.
Every Christian is to pursue holiness. Every Christian is called to live a holy life. Every Christian is to strive to stay away from sin. Holiness is not an option. As Christians there is no exception to this call. This call is not only to pastors, Sunday School teachers or board members. This call is to every Christian no matter what your age, gender, educational or economic level. Every Christian is called to be holy. Because God is holy, He can never excuse or overlook any sin we commit, however small it may be.
Sometimes we try to justify to God some action which our own conscience calls into question. But if we truly grasp the significance of God's perfect holiness, we will readily see we can never justify before Him even the slightest deviation from His perfect will. God does not accept the excuse, "Well, that's just the way I am," or even the more hopeful statement, "Well, I'm still growing in that area of my life." God's holiness does not make allowance for minor flaws or shortcomings in our personal character. "Make every effort..... to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
After people commit their lives to Christ, they still feel a pull back to their old ways. Peter tells us to be like our heavenly Father - holy in everything we do. Holiness means being totally devoted or dedicated to God, set aside for his special use, and set apart from sin and its influence. We're to be set apart and different, not blending in with the crowd, yet not being different just for the sake of being different. What makes us different are God's qualities in our lives. Our focus and priorities must be His. All this is in direct contrast to our old ways. We cannot become holy on our own, but God gives us His Holy Spirit to help us obey and to give us power to overcome sin. Don't use the excuse that you can't help slipping into sin. Call on God's power to free you from sin's grip.
Blessings to you today as you pursue holiness in all areas of your life. God is truly calling each of us to a higher level in our walk with Him.