I am enjoying this study series on The Pursuit of Holiness, are you? You might find today’s study a bit of a hard word to hear regarding holiness. However, our Christian walk demands that we find out what it is, that 1 simple truth about holiness and obey it. Do you think this is a challenge for Christians today? Will it challenge you?
The good news is that it is entirely possible for believers to be holy as He is holy. Holiness is more than a feeling, it is BEING. It is walking in the truth of God and following His commands. It is also realizing that holiness is not a choice as it is much more than that.
We have been studying
Then we looked at 7 Steps for You to “Be Holy as He is Holy” in Part 2 and came to the place where we need to acknowledge the holiness of God. This is more than just saying, ‘yeah, He’s holy.’ It is deeply knowing within us the holiness of God and that there is a barrier between us that we need to deal with.
That leads us to this study. We are going to take a closer look at why holiness is not a choice and the challenge it presents to us. This is the truth about holiness!
The Deadly Barrier Between Us and God
Before we can find out the truth about holiness, we need to discuss the barrier that separates believers from God. Actually, all of mankind is separated by this one thing although
A thought-provoking question to ask ourselves is,
how seriously do we take our sin?
Do we think we have sins that are more tolerable than others?
Or does the size of sin matter?
How about the
Here’s another question to think over, we live under grace, correct? Does that give us license to willfully sin? We know that when we go to the Father for forgiveness that He will forgive us, but does that give us the right to choose to sin?
Does grace allow for continual sin in our lives?
To answer those questions, let’s ask God how He sees sin.
The Truth about Sin
Before we turn the pages of the Word, let me say that sin is the opposite of holiness. It stains us, defiles us and puts a barrier between us and God.
Paul wrote in Romans 6:1-2 that we shouldn’t continue in sin. This chapter is speaking of the forgiveness of sins at our spiritual birth. It also speaks of not allowing sin to have rule over us (Rom 6:13-16). This is a great chapter and worthy of reading over again to remind ourselves what we have been set free from and how we ought to conduct ourselves on a daily basis.
God does not make allowance for sin as we saw in the Bible account of Uzzah the Kohathite priest. Check these passages 1 Chronicles 13:3-4, 7-11; Numbers 4:4, 15, 17-20 as they explain in detail what happened when Uzzah touched the Ark of the Covenant as it began to slip on the oxcart. His sin cost him his life.
Is God cruel? Absolutely not!
He is holy, just, merciful and righteous!
He has a standard of judgment and righteousness that He adheres to. No allowances are made for anyone. Why not? If He made allowances, then could we trust Him to be fair and just when He corrects us? That’s another question to ponder. What are your thoughts?
Sin and Holiness Do Not Mix
Here’s one example from the Old Testament that illustrates how righteousness and unrighteousness do not mix.
2 Chronicles 20:35-37, two verses that are simple, profound and direct when you read the context of this passage.
Jehoshaphat, King of Judah, was a righteous king who served God and sought Him for direction. Earlier in this chapter, Jehoshaphat and his people won a battle against their enemies and it took three days to gather up the spoils of war. God blessed them tremendously.
But here’s where he went wrong. He made an arrangement for a partnership between himself and the King of Israel, Ahaziah, who was a wicked king. This partnership was to build ships to sail to Tarshish. Sounds like a good deal but the problem is you cannot go into a business arrangement with an unbeliever. God did not bless this union. In fact, He destroyed the ships.
Scripture is quite plain when it speaks of this in 2 Corinthians 6:17, to
Righteousness and unrighteousness do not belong together. Therefore, sin and holiness are not a match, either.
The Truth about Holiness
I want to back up a bit, as I want to talk about the choice we have regarding holiness.
Bombshell. There is no choice. Holiness is not a choice.
In my research, I have seen it stated that believers have the choice to be holy or not. I beg to differ on this statement and here’s why.
We do not get to choose whether we should live a holy life or not. It is not optional.
We know that 1 Peter 1:15-16 is not a yes/no statement. God demands that we be holy as He is.
Do you see it this way too? When reading
Believers are to strive for holiness as Paul taught in 1 Thessalonians 4:7. We have been made holy by Christ and we are called to be holy in our everyday lives as Paul taught the church at Corinth in 1 Corinthians 1:2
God desires to have fellowship with us. He desires that we walk in truth, following His ways, 1 John 1:5-7. Our fellowship with Him will bring us the fullness of joy, as you read in 1 John 1:3-4.
Dealing with the Sin Factor
So, since God demands that we be holy, making this a requirement for believers, then what do we do about sin? How do we handle the truth about holiness?
How serious are we concerning our sin? Do we grieve over what breaks the heart of God? Holy Spirit grieves over our sin, do we? You can read more in 5 Things that Grieve the Holy Spirit.
Now, I’m not saying that you’re a bad person if you sin willfully because Paul has given us the answers in Romans 6:1-23. Hey, I have the sin issue to deal with, too. We all do!
However, we are to put aside our desire for sin and let the Spirit of God have rule over us, not sin, Rom 6:12-13. Will this be easy? No, it won’t be.
We need to get a grip on the things that want to control us. We have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us and He will help us to win the victory over our daily sins. But, we must be willing to ask Him for help.
This could mean much time in prayer to win the victory. Or it could mean becoming acutely aware of the pitfalls we stumble in. It may mean … so many things and yet there will be times when we succumb to the power of sin.
But get up again. Repent, continue on. Don’t give up in the pursuit of holiness and its truth!
Okay, so what do we know?
We know that God demands us to be holy as He is holy and that
- our holiness is not a choice but a demand.
- we are to walk in truth and light as He is in the light.
- sin wants to reign in our bodies.
- we are to deny ourselves the pleasure of sin.
- we have the Holy Spirit within us.
- the Holy Spirit has given us the power to live holy.
Are You Ready for the Challenge?
I started this study saying that believers may be challenged by this truth of holiness. Not everyone likes to hear that we don’t have a choice about it. It’s not fun to know that we HAVE to do something but yet, to be obedient, we need to accept this demand and be holy as He is holy.
Moving forward, let’s sum up how we become holy by:
- being renewed in our mind and not conformed to the lust of the world
- letting our conduct and speech reflect holiness
- imitating Jesus through spending time in God’s presence
- obeying God’s Word, reading it, studying it, and applying it one step at a time.
That’s a Wrap
Well, that has been an interesting study. When I first read that holiness is not a choice but a demand, it didn’t take long to see that truth when reading the Word in context. God has clearly stated throughout His Word His position on holiness.
And now it is our position to pursue more of God and to be holy as He is holy
I would love to hear from you. What do you think about the truth of holiness? Do you see holiness as a choice to some degree or is it a demand?
Cindy Barnes has been called by God in the early 80s to be a teacher of His Word. She is a serious student of the Word, focusing on the Inductive Bible Study Method since 2007. Her passion is to teach women how to study the Bible using this method. In addition, she desires for women to develop an intense yearning to draw closer to God through reading and writing out the Bible.
Cindy teaches hundreds of women in her private online Bible Study Group who express their joy of growing deeper in their spiritual walk.
You can stay in touch with Cindy on Facebook through Women’s Tabletop Friendship.