2001-11-12 - Are You Holy?
Hebrews 12:14 Pursue peace with all men and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
My topic is a fairly simple question, "Are you holy?" I ask it because of the above verse. It would almost be irresponsible of me not to ask this of you because it is so important. I'm not really looking for answers but rather asking you to ask the question of yourself. It is an important question because without holiness you cannot see the Lord. The question excludes no one because the verse excludes no one. So again, "Are you holy?"
To be sure, Christians are holy because the are already sanctified by the blood of Christ, 1 Corinthians 1:2. However, what I think Hebrews 12:14 may have in view is holiness of life which exemplifies the truth of a life that has been regenerated in Christ. Christ makes us holy, but we have a responsibility to then live that way. It is as Ephesians 5:10 tells us. We ought to be, "trying to learn what is pleasing to the Lord."
We need to be able to say with David in Psalm 119:128, "I esteem right all Your precepts concerning everything. I hate every false way." As a result of the forgiveness you have in Christ, is your natural inclination and frame of mind set towards God? Holiness means we strive to be like Christ. He emptied Himself of Himself and made Himself out to be like a bond-servant, Philippians 2:7. Glamour, pomp, and self-concern were the very things that did not concern Him. He would do anything, but sin, in order to minister to others. He sought out the poor more than audiences with rulers and kings. "The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked." 1 John 2:6 See also 1 Peter 2:21.
Being holy doesn't mean we don't struggle with sin. Quite the contrary, I think. It is the greatest shame of one who is holy that any sin remains. The more we grow in holiness the more we know, feel, and are conscious of indwelling sin. Our flesh is ever fighting against the spirit. Holiness is like light. If it exists you will see it. "And He died for all that they who live should no longer live for themselves, but for Him who died and rose again on their behalf." 2 Corinthians 5:15
Over the history of Christianity many have recognized the apparent tension that exists between the law of God and the dutiful nature of obedience, and the Gospel of grace and it's free and freeing nature. Archbishop Leighton when remarking on 1 Peter 1:16, "You shall be holy, for I am holy," observed that in this verse, "Law and Gospel agree." In holiness the tensions of our faith, practice, and doctrine are all swallowed up. Would you like a life that is free of tension? Would you like peace of mind? Would you like peace of conscience? Then you must struggle with my question. Are you holy?
Soli Deo Gloria,