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HOLINESS

Holiness has been described as “a nature that delights in purity, and which repels evil.” Adam and Eve were ‘innocent’ rather than holy, for though they might have delighted in purity, they did not repel the evil of Satan. God is always holy. In heaven there is no evil to separate from, and God was holy, and consistent, and perfect in everything before there was any evil. The “spirit” of God is described as “the Holy Spirit”, though He is down here where sin is. The Lord Jesus when in this sinful world was portrayed as holy, harmless, and undefiled. God is called ‘the Holy One of Israel’ (Isa 30:11) and the Lord Jesus was stated to be ‘the Holy One of God’ (Mark 1:24) and “the Holy One” (Acts 3:14.)

It was said to the Israelites, when they were redeemed out of Egypt and separated unto God, “thou art a holy people unto the Lord thy God: the Lord thy God hath chosen thee to be a special people unto Himself, above all the people that are on the face of the earth” (Deut 7:6). They are viewed as the chosen of God, set apart for Him. This should have led to practical holiness, for God said, “Be ye holy, for I am the Lord your God” (Lev. 20:7). The Christian also is sanctified and justified, and Christ who of God is made to us ….. sanctification (1Cor 1:30), referring to the separating call of God, and the means and measure of his sanctification. As newly created in Christ, the Christian partakes of the divine nature, so that holiness is followed. He is chastened also by the Father of spirits (Heb 12:9-10) in order that he might be the partaker of Gods holiness.

Someone has said, “the Christian is called holy because he is set apart for God absolutely, according to the rights won by Christ in His death, and made good when he is born again, and thus set apart in a real way, and more perfectly, and with more intelligence, when he is sealed by the Holy Ghost, as cleansed by the blood of Christ”.

Upon this are based the practical exhortation, “as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation” (1 Pet 1:15).

Holiness demanded

Follow (pursue) peace with all, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). There have been desperate attempts made to get rid of this injunction which the Holy Spirit here  enforces. Some wrongly have  said that this is the imputed holiness of Christ, but I don’t know how any man can apply that interpretation to the verse, “follow peace with all men, and holiness.” The holiness that is meant is evidently one that can be followed like peace; this is practical peace, not the peace made for us, but “the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by them that make peace” (Jam 3:18). We are to follow holiness, practical holiness too, the opposite of impurity, for as it is written, “God hath not called us to uncleanness, but unto holiness” (1 Thess 4:7). This is not referring to the holiness that was imputed  to us at the moment we believed.  The righteousness of Christ  is bestowed upon the soul at the moment when it lays hold of Christ Jesus. This is another kind of holiness. Here it is a practical, vital holiness, which is the purport of this admonition.

Holiness is a thing of growth. It may be in the soul as a grain of mustard seed, and yet not developed; it may be in the heart as a wish and a desire, rather than anything that has been fully realized - a groaning, a panting, a longing, or striving. As the Spirit of God waters it, it will grow till the mustard seed shall become a tree. Holiness in a regenerate heart is but an infant; it is not matured-perfect in all its parts, but now is in its development.                                                   DB

"Although we become Christians instantaneously by faith in Christ, knowing God and developing faith is a gradual process. There are no shortcuts to maturity. It takes time to be holy."    Erwin W. Lutzer (1941- )