Holiness 2

Holiness must have a root of its own, a divine nature, to produce it. The new creature cannot rise from the old. As well may figs spring from thistles, or light from darkness, as a spiritual mind from the carnal, or as love to God from enmity towards Him, or as faith from unbelief. Mere morality rises from self, and terminates there; but holiness, springing from a divine nature, tends toward God, centers in God, and ceases not till it comes to God. It contains all morality; but what is called morality may be without holiness, and never will rise up to it. Think not to find in yourself the materials of Gospel-holiness, nor to raise it from the dust of natural endowments. Go to a holy God for holiness.      John Berridge, Gospel Gems

Hebrews 12:10 For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness.

I Peter 1:14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.”

2 Peter 1:4 For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.

There is no doubt that the Scriptures teach that men are to be holy. The question, however, has to do with what holiness is and how one obtains a measure of that holiness. If a person is wrong on justification, it is a fatal mistake and one ends up trusting in self. If one is wrong on the nature of holiness, it can also be fatal since this mistake flows from how one views the Gospel. A person that is justified by Christ alone and His grace alone should not even consider it a possibility that s/he could obtain a holiness acceptable to God by the flesh. It is plainly and simply unthinkable.

We also know that I Corinthians 1:30 -31 tells us that it is “by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD.”” If Christ is our sanctification (holiness), then surely we should look at sanctification and holiness as coming from Christ rather than our own abilities and nature. It is easier for our proud hearts to know that God can give us wisdom, but to think that Christ is the total of our sanctification as well as redemption and righteousness, this is a blow to our pride. There is no boasting in ourselves at all in this case, but instead our only boast is in the Lord.

Sanctification or holiness should be the love of the heart and the desire of those who love the Lord, but if we are to love God with all of our being that love and holiness must come from Him. The command to be holy is not just to be a little better than the average person, but we are to be holy as He is holy. The standard of holiness, then, is God Himself. If the standard of our holiness is to be holy as He is holy, then it should be immediately evident that human flesh cannot do this. Not only is God the standard, but the very essence of our holiness is to be like His holiness. This is to say, then, that it must come from Him. It is the Divine life in the soul and not just things we do in order to appear good.

When holiness is looked at in this way, we can see that holiness is a blessing that God shares with His people. It is not just any holiness that He shares, but it is His holiness that He shares with His people. This is profound beyond words and yet we must force ourselves to think and to gaze upon this brightness. We don’t have any way to work up holiness on our own, but what we do is to share in His divine life or divine holiness. We must get our minds and hearts off of the thought that holiness is unpleasant or something that hurts, but instead holiness is the great joy and delight of all who love God and they want to be holy as He is holy.

Of course we should want to be like God in holiness, but again that should make it obvious that holiness must come from Him and not our human flesh. In order to be truly holy, that is, to grow in being like God, we must die more and more to our own fleshly efforts. We must die more and more to our own pride and self. We must seek the Lord for grace to be holy. The flesh and self will do nothing but oppose true holiness, so we must seek Him to work in us to die to self and grant His grace of holiness to the humble.

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