Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Saturday, February 25, 2012

'Without Holiness, No One will see the Lord'

I am in the process of reading 'the Pursuit of Holiness' by Jerry Bridges...so far, so good. The need to strive for holy living is non-existent in the visible church, mainly because most are saved because they say they are and there is nothing else that needs to be considered. How horribly wrong is this mentality.
There was a reality cop show on and one of the folks on this show was a woman, arrested for being drunk and disorderly; guess what this woman said? 'I am a Christian'. Another man was dealing in fraudulent ways from a business he ran out of his home; again, guess what he claimed? 'I am a Christian'. Yes, Christians do sin, as the Bible clearly states. However, God deals with His own as needed, as Jerry Bridges states on page 29 of his book..."In fact, biblical evidence indicates that God may judge the sins of His saints more severely than those of the world. David was a man after God's own heart {Acts 13:22}, yet, after his sin with Uriah he was told 'now therefore the sword will never depart from your house' {2 Samuel 12:10}. Moses, for one act of unbelief, was excluded from the land of Canaan despite many years of faithful service. Jonah, for his disobedience, was cast into a horrible prison in the stomach of a giant fish for three days and nights, that he might learn not to run from the command of God".

So what is a good definition of holiness? Here is Paul Washer’s definition of holiness, ~ “Holiness is to be separated unto God, to be immersed in God, to be passionate about God, to be wild about God, to think about God, to be God besought, to be consumed by God.” How do we live a holy life? Again, I turn to Jerry Bridges from his book 'The Pursuit of Holiness', {page 15} "to live a holy life, then, is to live a life in conformity to the moral precepts of the Bible and in contrast to the sinful ways of the world. It is to live a life characterized by the putting off of your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires, and putting on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness".

The desire for holy living seems to be sorely lacking in our day; it isn't preached on much in the pulpits because we certainly do not want to offend anyone. Every aspect of our lives should reflect holiness; our thoughts, our speech, our actions and emotions, how we spend our time and money, the desires of our hearts. Holiness is not something those who are dead in sin can comprehend, holiness is wrought by God. The born again child of God should not be engaged in wickedness, deceit, immoral behavior, or sin of any kind; holiness is the opposite of all that wickedness is. There should be a continual strive for holiness in our lives, until we leave this world.
Holiness is a distinguishing mark of God's own, 'but ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into His marvelous light' {1 Peter 2:9}. Peter calls God's people 'peculiar', meaning 'acquire, buy, purchased possession, acquisition': we are a purchased possession belonging to God. A price has been paid, and it was costly; we have been purchased by Christ's death, burial and resurrection to be holy people set apart by God; different from the rest of mankind, belonging to a God whose main attribute is holiness, from which all other attributes flow.

We do have a responsibility to strive for holiness as God continues to sanctify His own; we cannot expect God to mold and shape us without us disciplining ourselves towards holiness. From J. C. Ryle, "it is wise to proclaim in so bald, naked and unqualified way as many do, that the holiness of converted people is by faith only, and not at all by personal exertion? Is it according to the proportion of God's Word? I doubt it. That faith in Christ is the root of all holiness, no well instructed Christian will ever think of denying. But surely the Scriptures teach us that in following holiness the true Christian needs personal exertion and work as well as faith"- from J. C. Ryle's 'Holiness'
Sin is continually crouching at our door and desires to have us, however, with power from the Almighty One and the wisdom of His word, we will overcome through Christ, through whom we can do all things. The more we understand God's holiness and His purity, that He is set apart, high above His creation...the more we comprehend the holiness of God the more we will detest sin and be fearful of offending our Holy God.

It is interesting to note the three reasons Jerry Bridges gives why holiness is not sought after by today's professing Christians...
1. "our attitude toward sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own victory over sin than we are about the fact that our sin grieves the heart of God. God wants us to walk in obedience, not victory.
2. Our second problem is that we have misunderstood living by faith to mean that no effort at holiness is required on our part.
3. Our third problem is that we do not take sin seriously. It is compromise on the little issues that lead to greater downfalls. Are we willing to call sin 'sin' not because it is big or little, but because God's law forbids it? We cannot categorize sin if we are to live a life of holiness. God will not let us get away with that kind of attitude". {from -pages 16-19, chapter one, 'The Pursuit of Holiness'}

If our hearts have been regenerated by God, there should indeed be a desire for holiness; if you lack this desire, examine yourself to see if you are in the faith. Read 1st John and compare your life/heart/motives/emotions to what is taught there. Most of what passes as 'Christianity' in America today is anything but; preaching is weak, watered down and ineffective; God's word is used sparingly in favor of funny stories or motivational speeches. There is a famine of truth in the land, but take heart, God will not take His hand off His chosen ones. Strive for holiness and to bring Him glory...nothing else matters.

17 comments:

Ma said...

Good thoughts here lyn. I know that there is a big gap between the salvation by faith only crowd and the holiness crowd sometimes.

The truth is somewhere in between I think, but not in-between, but God's way.

He who began a good work in us will finish it, it IS his doing that we even strive for holiness at all.

Some people don't strive for it, they don't want it, and I think that is a good indication that God is not working on them.

lyn said...

"Some people don't strive for it, they don't want it, and I think that is a good indication that God is not working on them." - - -exactly Ma!

Let's not forget “For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren”- there is a continual refining process the people of God go through, a shaping and molding by God as He works to transform us from what we are/were to what we should be.
Charles Spurgeon described this refining process best concerning "He will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver." {-Malachi 3:3} when he said "“The sitting posture shows that the refiner may seem indifferent, but He is not. He is carefully working with the silver, burning off and scraping away the dross that that the flames bring to the top. “I think I see in the sitting down of the refiner a settled patience, as if he seemed to say, ‘This is stern work, and I will sit down to it, for it will need care, and time, and constant watchfulness.’” (Spurgeon)

Nowadays, if you repeat a prayer, make a decision, or invite Jesus into your heart, nothing more is needed; go about your way and live any way you want; just keep on a calendar that 'date' when you did a work to become saved. There is no teaching on striving for holiness, Christ-likeness, or purity...that would be legalism!

may you have a blessed day Ma!

Jehovah Mekoddishkem said...

I read somewhere where someone said basically, the work of God with the Holy Spirit is like the wind, it doesn't stay stationary it moves and that's evidence of growth and that we are truly saved. If there's never any movement or evidence of God working in our lives or a slow change that we can see some difference from say, a year ago, then we'd better check and see if we are saved or not.

lyn said...

that is so true Linda, there must be a desire for Christ-likeness, that desire can only be instilled by God. We must discipline ourselves as we go, and yes, it is a life-long process.


lyn

FADIAS15 said...

Hi Lyn...You are bang on in this blog for really, the only way to see Him is to be holy. And you're again right that it's unfortunately not preached on, because they don't want to offend anyone for reasons we all know. But there may be another reason which is, 'since I'm not holy, I can't preach on holiness.' But, by extension, you can't preach at all for you preach from what is called the 'Holy Bible'. I probably am a great sinner for I offend God so much, yet I seek to speak on holiness for its time Christians become and remain holy and I know that when we strive for this attribute, the church will start living and breathing again. IT WILL HAPPEN.

lyn said...

seeking and striving for holiness is part of our Christian walk, and yet, here in America EVERYBODY is a Christian...just ask them! But, they live like devils, willfully sinning daily and not caring one bit.

As we grow in Christ we will also grow in Christ-likeness, our desire should be to be like Him, to strive for purity so as to please the One who has done everything for us; not because we 'owe' Him but because we are so very grateful. If the Spirit of God lives within you, you will strive for holiness. If not, you will remain dead in your sins, all the 'acting' in the world will not win you entrance into God's kingdom.

I do pray that it happens, and that Godly men get back to teaching the WHOLE COUNSEL of God in the pulpit. May God raise up men who will fear Him, tremble at His word, call sinners to repentance and saints to holiness.

lyn said...

Let me add this; I believe the reason we have so many superficial Christians is because we are coercing them into praying silly little prayers like 'invite Jesus into your heart' or 'make your decision' or 'choose Jesus'. This is teaching a salvation by works, which is NOT what the Bible teaches. We MUST get back to proclaiming the doctrines of grace if we're to see holy living, for it starts with true genuine conversion which is wrought by God. PLEASE DO NOT tell sinners to repeat prayers or make decisions. The power to transform a dead sinner into a born again believer is NOT in how we present the Gospel, it is in preaching Christ crucified and resurrected, in hammering home our hopelessness and sinfulness and God's grace. Always remember the tax collector, what did he say? Did he ask Jesus to 'come into his heart'? No, he cried out for mercy because he understand, by grace, his utter unworthiness. When we tell others to repeat prayers, we fail to explain to them their absolute unworthiness and helplessness.


FADIAS 15, I HIGHLY recommend you add these books to compliment your studies of God's word...

1. The Pursuit of Holiness by Jerry Bridges

2. Whatever Happened to the Doctrines of Grace - recovering the doctrines that shook the world by Dr. James Boice

May the Lord's blessings be upon you this day

Pshdsa said...

The deadly ancient Antinomian Gnostic ERROR has crept into mostly all of the churches. It is greasy grace. Satan has tricked many to believe they are saved, when they are not. You must be born again. The true grace of God trains us to live a godly life.
Titus 2:11-14
11 For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men,
12 teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age,
13 looking for the blessed hope and glorious appearing of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ,
14 who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from every lawless deed and purify for Himself His own special people, zealous for good works.

Phil 2:12,13
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.

Now we are tuly helpless without the Lord. Our stiving to be holy is not a work of the flesh but truly fruit of the Spirit. God helps us to be more and more yielded to Jesus our Lord. This is the true Grace of God. Throw the world out. feed on the Word of God daily. God will lead us into lives that please Him.

lyn said...

Pshdsa

Exactly; the truth 'ye must be born again' is not even taught in most churches. I remember right after God saved me, I was still attending the church I grew up in, it was Lutheran. One Sunday, I went to the pastor and asked why he doesn't preach on the new birth, he said, 'we don't teach that here'. I never went back.

Pshdsa said...

I run into the same reaction against the Truth of God's Word in most places. Truth is a sword and it divides. They don't like the divisive nature of truth. God's love is amazing, and is it too much that God wants us to be obedient children? They will say obeying God is legalism. Can you believe that? Let me share a story. Where I used to work before I retired, there was a christian man, at least from appearances. I told him that I learned from God that I could not overcome sin without a complete submission to Jesus Christ. I told him that I told God I was yielding to Jesus the best I could, and would He please make it real, and perfect it. I repented of getting mad at God when He applied the refining fire. He gave me grace to be meek toward Him. I understood Job's statement, that thoough He slay me, yet will I trust in Him. Job said that because He knew God, and how absolutely good God is, and how abolutely faithful He is. I shared all this with the Christian man, and he replied, I cannot do that. I was stunned by that answer. This man went on to abandon his wife and 8 kids including a brand new baby boy, and now chases the devil into gross immorality. He no longer pretends to be a Christian. Real Christiams have the Holy Spirit and God wins over our stupid rebellions. If we have the Holy Spirit. We must be born again. There are many tares among the wheat.

lyn said...

Yes, many tares indeed. The problem lies in weak preaching and an accursed gospel, the gospel that says you must invite Jesus into your heart, or make a decision for Him, or any other type of 'work' that is added. Salvation is wrought by God through His grace and mercy, we add nothing to the equation. Another problem is one we've already mentioned, the new birth. Most are clueless as to what this means, or they add a work as a means of being 'born again'.

Being born again is a supernatural work of the Holy Spirit, we are new creations in Christ. We now have the power of God to strengthen us in our daily spiritual battles against the flesh, the world and the devil. Unless a sinner is born again by God, all their verbal professions are meaningless.

Pshdsa said...

Sadly, that is true. I say sadly because many are not born again but assume they are. Dangerous assumption. I attended a church where they had a guest speaker. To my surprise it was the woman I had met outside the church. So I said to the Lord, This will be interesting. She did not speak very long before I was amazed. I had not heard anyone speak by the Holy Spirit in ages. The Holy Spirit was with her. Afterward I had opportunity to speak with her.I told her that persecution was coming to America. She said yes, and then she said a most astonishing thing: Do you see all these poeple here? None of them will make it. None of them will endure to the end. I told her I pray about this all the time. I ask the Lord to make me strong for that day that will come. However, I know deep in my heart that the Lord will be with us. When I was meditating on John 6:66, and saw many of His disciples not walking with Him anymore. I felt pain in my heart,because this will happen in the coming day. I realized that from deep within,I cannot turn back.

Pshdsa said...

Indeed being born again is supernatural. God shows us our sin He shows us the horribleness of it. We know we have no way to pay the huge debt. We know we deserve Hell. But God showed me the blood of Jesus. He forgave me. Great mercy and grace of God. When you are born again you are born into the family of God. You know Jesus and Jesus knows you. The thing that struck me after God forgave me all my sin, was I was getting off scott free. This wasn't right. But it was right. Now I had to follow Jesus on the narrow difficult path anywhere He wants to lead me. The gate is one thing, but the difficult path must be walked, where we learn to depend on God and His grace. Our faith must endure to the end.

Pshdsa said...

Isaiah 1:13d
I cannot endure iniquity and the sacred meeting.

lyn said...

God will give us the strength we need when the time comes. It is going to get very difficult for His people, those who verbally profess Christ and yet have never been born again will not make it til the end. The remnant WILL make it by His power and His power alone. Take heart, God will see us through. We must be watchful and praying much as well, we must pour over His word and seek His face continually. We must be about our Father's business....

Pshdsa said...

I once had to work the job of 2 individuals. Heavy labor. During a period of 8 weeks, I worked anywhere between 75 hours and 80 Hours, completing what took 2 people to complete. It was exremely hard and extremely difficult. I somehow endured on little sleep. The day the other worker came back to work, I became aware that a presence within me had been hugging me and holding me together. I never realized it until the day my partner came back, and I felt the presence let me go. God was sustaining me and I was unaware of it. As time went on I began to pray to God to somehow get me out of the job in which I was trapped. I was expert on the job and the local management did not want to lose me. God moved and freed me and the local management could not stop it because it came from national. I thank God so much for freeing me from such oppression.

lyn said...

The Lord gives us strength as/when needed, yes. We must be aware of our need and utter dependence upon Him for all things. You may find it interesting to read about John Warburton, a man who faced many challenges...and God saw him through all of them. Here is the link if you are interested - http://grace-ebooks.com/library/John%20Warburton/JW_The%20Mercies%20of%20a%20Covenant%20God.pdf