"We see, in many a land, the proudest dynasties and tyrannies still crushing, with their mountain weight, every free motion of the Consciences and hearts of men. We see, on the other hand, the truest heroism for the right and the greatest devotion to the Truth in hearts that God has touched. We have a work to do, as great as our forefathers and, perhaps, far greater. The enemies of Truth are more numerous and subtle than ever and the needs of the Church are greater than at any preceding time. If we are not debtors to the present, then men were never debtors to their age and their time. Brethren, we are debtors to the hour in which we live. Oh, that we might stamp it with Truth and that God might help us to impress upon its wings some proof that it has not flown by neglected and unheeded." -- C.H. Spurgeon . . . "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." John 8:31, 32 . . . . .

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Sunday, May 16, 2021

ARE YOU HOLY or HOLEY?

In HEBREWS 12:14 it says,
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:

See the Facebook video here!

We want to see the LORD don’t we? So we must pursue holiness.
I believe that those who have trusted in Christ, are born again, who have Christ’s righteousness transferred to them have that position of holiness placed upon them; so as the Father looks down upon us, He sees the righteousness, the holiness of Christ upon us.

And it’s those who have these blessings upon them that will seek after practical holiness – that is, growing in daily experiences of transformation from carnality and sin to spiritual maturity and holiness. They become more on the outside what they are inside!

Throughout my life as a Christian, I’ve had the recurring question come up periodically: What does it mean to be holy - and what is holiness? 

The stock answer and a valid one to be sure is “purity from all sin and evil.” As I thought about that I came to the realization that:

Holiness is an absolute purity or completeness in all of the godly virtues as well as an absolute purity or completeness from all sin and evil. 

If one looks at Jesus, GOD incarnate – that is GOD made flesh (a human being) there is your supreme example of holiness in heart, in nature, in word, and in deed. He is absolutely the fullness of all that is holy – the completeness of love incarnate, truth incarnate, as well as grace, peace, joy, justice, mercy, compassion, knowledge, and wisdom incarnate and all else that is good, including goodness incarnate! You could say that holiness is ‘spiritual wholesomeness’, completeness, with nothing good lacking at all.

There are no holes in the purity, the holiness of all these godly virtues of Jesus; He is the holy LAMB of GOD without blemish or spot (1 PET 1:19); He is looking to His church for a bride of the same quality)! 

EPHESIANS 5:27
That He might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.

And this isn’t just talking about Jesus the Son of GOD, this is also talking about Jesus the Son of man.
We can all understand that Jesus is all of these good and beautiful things because He is GOD made flesh, but He is also a living, breathing human being just like us. The difference of course is that we were born with a sin nature and He wasn’t. 

This sin nature that we inherited from Adam at the fall has created in us this spiritual vacuum, where all of the goodness that GOD put into Adam was sucked out – leaving in us giant spiritual holes, empty and barren.
Which leads me to another question that is related to holiness, and that is:
What is evil? The opposite of holiness? In a way. . . but in another way, not. Let me share a story with you (and by the way, we have a TTUF article that deals with this subject of evil entitled, EVIL: THIS STRANGE PREDICAMENT):

A University atheist professor, addressing his class, declared that GOD was a fiction. He pointed to all the evil in the world as proof. “If GOD can stop evil but doesn’t, He is not loving. If GOD can’t stop evil then He is not all powerful”.
Then a Christian student stood up in class and said, "Sir, I've got a question for you. Is there such thing as heat?"
"Yes," the professor replies. "Of course there's heat."
"Is there such a thing as cold?"
"Obviously, there's cold too."
"No, sir, there isn't. You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, white heat, a little heat, or no heat but technically we don't have anything called 'cold'. We can hit 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, having no energy; but we can't go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold, otherwise we would be able to go colder than 458 - You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it. Professor: is there such a thing as darkness?"
"That's a dumb question, son. What is night if it isn't darkness?"
"So you say there is such a thing as darkness?"  
"Yes."
"You're wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something, it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, blinding light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing, and it's called darkness. That's the meaning we use to define the word. In reality, darkness isn't. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker and give me a jar of it. Can you give me a jar of darker darkness, professor?"
Despite himself, the professor smiled and asked, "Would you mind telling us what your point is, young man?"
"My point is your philosophical premise is flawed to start with and so your conclusion must be in error. You’re working on the premise of duality. That for example, there is life therefore then there's death; there is good and therefore there is evil. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, merely the absence of it."
Immorality is merely the absence of morality. Injustice is the absence of justice. Is there such a thing as evil? Isn't evil just the absence of good?" The Christian continues. "If there is evil in the world, professor, and we all agree there is, then where evil is, God, isn’t. He is accomplishing a work through the agency of this ‘spiritual vacuum’ called evil. What is He accomplishing? He wants to see what each one of us will choose of our own free will: either good or [the absence of good, that is] evil." 
DEUTERONOMY 30:19 
I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live:
So when we talk about the human heart being wicked or evil (JER 17:9), what we are really saying is that the condition of the heart is an absolute emptiness of everything good.
Paul the apostle said,
ROMANS 7:18a
For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh) nothing good dwells.
What’s left is what we see in this world every day – a serious vacuum, an almost total lack of GOD and His life, love, and light, understanding and harmony. Instead in their absence, there is death, hatred and darkness, ignorance, and disharmony – and worse: rebellion, destruction, and death alongside the whole of fallen humanity challenging GOD for supremacy over the world, where man replaces Him as ‘god’ – and that is the very spirit of anti-Christ.

The absolute and total lack of GOD, the Author of Life is what the second death, or the lake of fire, commonly referred to as ‘hell’ will be all about. The condition in this world isn’t there yet, because even though non-believers deny GOD’s existence, they at the least are still recipients of physical, intellectual, emotional life. There is coming a day when they will no longer receive the life they now have from GOD! They will not only be dead, but ‘mega-dead’ as it were.”
Now, in 1 Thessalonians the apostle Paul writes in the 3rd and 4th chapters the following verses:

1 THESSALONIANS 3:9-13
9 For what thanks can we render to God for you, for all the joy with which we rejoice for your sake before our God, 10 night and day praying exceedingly that we may see your face and perfect [complete] what is lacking in your faith? 11 Now may our God and Father Himself, and our Lord Jesus Christ, direct our way to you. 12 And may the Lord make you increase and abound in love to one another and to all, just as we do to you, 13 so that He may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.

Paul wants these saints complete or “perfect” that which is still lacking in the faith of the saints at Thessalonica; to fill in those spiritual holes by the Spirit of GOD. “Perfect” – katartizo: “to complete thoroughly, to repair, to fit, frame, mend, restore”. The apostle wants to see the saints there mended, repaired, thoroughly completed, and so not lacking in holiness; all of the virtues of Christ’s nature.
EPHESIANS 4:11-13
And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect [complete] man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ
That which was “lacking” in their faith: husterema: “deficit, poverty”. It’s the fullness of the riches in Christ Jesus that meets our lack and mends, repairs, restores to overflowing so that any deficit in us is entirely removed because we have the blessing which “increase[s] and abound[s]” (as it says in 1 THESS 3:12) – pleonazo: “to super-abound”.

1 THESSALONIANS 4:1-12
Finally then, brethren, we urge and exhort in the Lord Jesus that you should abound more and more, just as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God; 2 for you know what commandments we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you should abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you should know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in passion of lust, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one should take advantage of and defraud his brother in this matter, because the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also forewarned you and testified.

7 For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness. 8 Therefore he who rejects this does not reject man, but God, who has also given us His Holy Spirit. 9 But concerning brotherly love you have no need that I should write to you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another; 10 and indeed you do so toward all the brethren who are in all Macedonia. But we urge you, brethren, that you increase more and more; 11 that you also aspire to lead a quiet life, to mind your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you, 12 that you may walk properly toward those who are outside, and that you may lack nothing
. (the idea of completeness is also found in COL 2:10; 4:12)

The reason why Jesus the man knew unfailing spiritual victory is because He is completely holy, pure of spiritual defect, no holes of deep, dark sin.
Satan came and tested Jesus on several occasions, and the LORD Himself stated that “the prince of this world…has nothing on me” (JOHN 14:30). The devil couldn’t find a single flaw anywhere in this perfect, holy Man, Who always depended on the power of the Holy Spirit by Whom He was anointed, in fact, the anointed One – the Messiah.

The reason why we so often know failure and spiritual defeat is because we are to one degree or another h-o-l-e-y – that is, we have spiritual holes, vacancies, vulnerabilities in our lives where we have not allowed the Spirit to dominate. Imagine a warrior wearing armor that’s full of holes on the battlefield – he’s vulnerable to attack!

Paul the apostle stated regarding what we are to “reckon” or consider:
ROMANS 6:11-14
11 Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. 12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof. 13 Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.
When Joshua led Israel into the promised land, to conquer the various tribes of the Canaanites, the LORD gave them all the land that He promised to Abraham: from the river Nile in Egypt all the way to the river Euphrates (that splits Iraq in half), but they never conquered all that territory that GOD intended for them. They stopped at the river Jordan, possessing little more than the thin, pencil shape of what we see in Israel today. 
And even in the territory that they conquered, there were tribes within their own borders that they didn’t conquer, and they were a constant threat and a thorn in their side.

Likewise GOD intends for us to have absolute victory in obtaining all that He promises us in Christ. But just as with Israel, we have pockets of Canaanites in our lives that are a threat and a thorn in our sides. Both Israel and we Christians suffer because we have holes where the sovereignty of GOD is not present, and in His absence, we find sin reigns in those areas.

We are saved by faith in the gospel, by the grace of our LORD Jesus Christ: this salvation imparts to all who believe and trust in Christ’s sacrifice: justification, sanctification, and glorification. Because of this, we who are born again have been justified once we trust in Christ and indwelt by the Holy Spirit. GOD sees us, who were once ungodly, as justified in His sight:
ROMANS 4:5
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness,
You are justified in Christ, because you have trusted in the Cross of Christ where He shed His blood for you, paid the price for your sins when you yourself earned the death penalty for breaking GOD’s Holy Law. At that point when you placed faith in GOD, He saw you in a new position: Christ is in you, His righteousness rests upon you and you are a child of GOD: a commended saint, rather than a condemned sinner.

This brings us to sanctification: You have the Holy Spirit in you, you are born again, but your mind, your thought patterns, your habits and even your beliefs all need to be renewed. GOD has to start ‘filling up the holes’ as it were, where there was an absence of holiness in your life before. He wants to fill those holes with a new mind, with new thought patterns, and new habits, and new beliefs that all grow out of your born again heart where the Holy Spirit has taken up residency. 
His aim is to fill you with the same quality of righteousness as that righteousness that rests upon you as one whose faith is in Christ. And this righteousness that He works inwardly in you, begins to reveal itself outwardly in your actions. 
PHILLIPIANS 2:12-13
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye 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 which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure (HEB 13:20 also talks about this).
Jesus our LORD and Savior is the prototype, the template, the ideal, the ultimate model of holiness, or as the Bible says, “the firstborn” and it is He that the Father is using in our hearts and lives to conform us to His likeness:
ROMANS 8:29-30
 29 For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the [likeness] of his Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. 30 Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified
It’s as we yield to the LORD and allow Him to do this work of sanctification in us, that we start getting spiritually solid, and look less and less like a sponge that’s full of holes. So as we allow this work in our lives, the more holes the Spirit fills with His Holy influences, we become more h-o-l-y and less h-o-l-e-y. 

Like a ‘spiritual computer software program’ that is overwriting the virus of sin in us. We begin to resemble the nature of Jesus, we grow in spiritual maturity, we are on the road to perfecting our lives in godliness with the sure hope that one Day, when we see Him, we will be made totally perfect, for “we shall be like Him” (1 JOHN 3:2).

Now it’s important that we avoid trying to get holy by our own efforts, by making up these lists of Do’s and Don’ts – these sort of things usually resort to a list of rules that if you follow, you’re good with GOD, but if you don’t, you’re out!

A spiritual son in the faith of mine posted this on Facebook:
When people don't understand holiness that's when they start making up self-righteous rules to appear closer to GOD.”

Sanctification is a work of GOD, just as justification is a work of GOD. What did you do to earn justification – what work did you accomplish? Was it the work that the LORD Jesus Himself authenticated that was necessary for salvation?
JOHN 6:28-29
28 Then they said to Him, What shall we do, that we may work the works of God? 29 Jesus answered and said to them, This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He sent.
When you came to Christ you expressed faith in Him to save you, then you took action, and received His offer of salvation, committing your life and heart to Him, making Him the LORD of your life, right? You yielded to Him and let Him do His thing.

Sanctification is the same thing: you express faith in Him to sanctify you – to make you a bit more holier today than you were yesterday and trust Him to make you holier tomorrow than you are today. You read what it says in the Word about how we are to be holy, and you yield to Him, trusting His empowerment to enable you to live in holiness. 

So the focus isn’t on doing the do’s on some list and avoiding the don’ts. The focus is on following Jesus and obeying His Word by the power of the Holy Spirit – just because you love Him, because He loved you first and proved it on the Cross.

For the last few years I’ve been praying that the LORD will increase a hunger for holiness in the church. Holiness isn’t a drag, holiness is a delight! Holiness is golden – because holiness is simply being like Jesus. There is no one else I’d rather be like, than Jesus!

And it’s going to take the kind of saints who reflect the nature of Jesus, who have had their hunger for holiness satisfied, to endure the hard times that we have just ahead of us (if the rapture doesn’t take place first!).

If we are spiritually healthy Christians, then we will greatly desire to become more and more like Jesus, we will desire to grow in holiness. 
I always get a red flag when I hear a professing Christian asking the question, “Can I do ___ and still be saved?”

Gayle Erwin of Servant’s Quarters ministry (servant.org) related this hypothetical situation:
He’d be leaving home for a couple weeks on some speaking engagements across the country and his wife asked him,
Honey, while you’re gone is it OK if I go out and be with some of the men in the neighborhood and still be called your wife?

What they’re really asking is, How far away can I get from GOD and do this thing that I want to do, but still be saved? That isn’t the question a genuine believer wants to ask! They ask the question, How can I find a way to get closer to Jesus than ever before?

We have to understand that this is a journey we are on, a quest to seek a life of holiness found only in the Person of Jesus Christ, and this journey will end when we are finally with Him (1 JOHN 3:2) and then this work of holiness that the Holy Spirit is doing in us, on that day, will be complete. We will be wholly holy and not at all h-o-l-e-y!

We’re not there yet; Paul admitted that too (PHIL 3:12); he didn’t attain perfection or completeness while still in this world either. But we should be growing and living our lives in Christ, not with sinless perfection – that’s impossible this side of eternity due to our sin nature), but with the intent and process of perfecting, or becoming more complete in holiness:
2 CORINTHIANS 7:1 
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
There are some professing Christians who claim that they are saved, and yet they are unmarried to the one they’re living with; or being intimate with someone other than their spouse; others feel free to use recreational drugs or alcohol and get intoxicated, under the influence – all for fun. Some are unethical in their business, not at all concerned because ‘nobody knows (except for the One Who counts most)’. But they claim that they’re good with GOD, and after all we’re saved by grace, so it’s all good.

Yet we are to live “in Christ”, not in the world. We’re to walk in holiness, not in sin.
Living in Christ is like living in your home – it’s where you hang, the place that you are really living. And while we all still stumble on occasion, that’s not where we live. It’s a temporary place like a motel room. We don’t live there; we go back home to Christ.

Yet these professing Christians seem to feel comfortable living in this motel room of sin and only visiting their home in Christ occasionally!
It is because we are under grace, not under the law, that we are held to an even higher standard as disciples of Christ! That grace equips us to live holy for Christ in thanks to what He’s done for us at Calvary!
ROMANS 6:14 
For sin shall not have dominion over you: for ye are not under the law, but under grace.  
That grace that GOD provides for our salvation is also given to us with the expectation that by its power, we will become sanctified, growing in holiness, providing for us in those times of need when we need to resist sin (HEB 4:16), and instead glorify GOD in obedience to His will.
When we pray, “Thy kingdom come…” it’s not only for the kingdom of GOD to come to this fallen, broken world and reign and restore it to the glory and beauty that GOD intends – it’s also that the kingdom will come and reign in our hearts and restore and complete in us the holiness that will glorify GOD!

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