Pursuit of Holiness. Lesson 3 (Chapters 4 and 5)
- Holiness is not simply a matter of actions. Holiness (definitive sanctification) is the start. It is imputed by Christ (Heb.10:10-14; 13:12; I Cor.6:11)
Thoughts (Matt.5:22,28; 6:1,5;7:21-23; Jas.2:4; Ps.139:23-24; II Cor.10:5).
Motives (I Cor.13; Col.3:23) which necessarily must be love for God and his glory.
Belief (I Tim.6:3; II Thess.2:13).
Conversely unholiness or godlessness is the motive of selfishness, self-indulgence, desire to impress and all self-righteousness and false religion.
The word has power to expose our motives (Heb.4:12).
The circle of sanctification.
We are sanctified by truth and sanctification makes us desire more truth.
2. Christ’s holiness is vitally important for us because:
a. It is imputed to us graciously (see verses above). Freed from sin’s guilt.
b. It is imparted to us by the work of the Spirit (Tit.2:14). Freed from sin’s power. We are more and more conformed to his image and follow his perfect example.
c. It exposes our un-holiness (Is.6:1-3).
d. Finally we shall be exactly like him (I John 3:2). Freed from sin’s presence.
3.Christ’s cross is central in our pursuit of holiness in that it alone is the source of all our sanctification viz.
a. Christ’s sacrifice delivers us from our guilt.
b. Christ’s death and resurrection deliver us from sin’s power and the wages of sin namely death.
c. Christ’s resurrection (and ours) deliver us from sin’s presence.
Gratitude for the cross is the key Christian motive for a life of holiness.
4. Christ’s holiness entails many things:
a. Perfect consecration-in the world but not of the world (John 17:19; Ps.1)
b. Antithetical living−hating iniquity (Heb.1:9).
c. Pleasing God continually (perfectly keeping the law) leading to our justification (John 8:29, Rom.4:25)
d. Travail and obedient suffering (Heb.2:19; 5:8).
e. Never sinning but being willing to BECOME SIN! (II Cor.5:21).
f. Compassion for his elect (Rom.9:15).
g. His own satisfaction (John 4:34).
Christ’s holiness differs from ours in that his was original or inherent whereas ours is imputed and imparted. His is also perfect while ours is perfect in principle but not in reality in this life.
5. John Brown’s quote on holiness, “thinking as God thinks and willing as God wills” is very accurate.
6. Romans 6:11-12 teaches us two important truths:
a. Sin’s power over us is broken.
b. We are responsible daily to kill sin.
Christ died to sin in his death (Rom.6:10) being freed from its temptations and realm (as we will be). Christ died for sin (II Cor.5:20-21). Christ killed sin in principle on the cross and as a result kills it in us. Surely our God is a consuming and refining fire! And the final holy fire will renew all creation!
7. Bridges says rightly that “good and decent people” who are not believers are living for self, not for God. They daily build up debt of sin, even respectable sins because their motives which God knows, are all corrupt (John 3:18, Gen.6:4). Key verse I Sam.16:7-God looks on the heart.
8. Bridges illustration of the civil war that has been won but in which guerrilla warfare continues is an accurate metaphor for the Christian’s battles. Chris Hutching’s illustration of the imprisoned old man rattling his prison bars to be loosed is also useful as is the picture of the slave who had ball and chain on his ankle broken off.
9. If doubting your salvation the only place of solace and strength to crush this sin is the cross and the doctrine of justification by faith and the gift of ETERNAL life. Hence well worth learning by heart verses like I John 5:11-12; II Cor.5:20; Rom.5:1 or Hab.2:4.
10. Our unregenerate hearts are deceitful, deceiving us into sin (Satan uses them). All evil proceeds from them and there is nothing good in them. But we have a new heart (or mind) even a heart of flesh (Ezek.36:26; Luke 6:45) and the mind of Christ (I Cor.2:16). Hence our mind, will and thoughts are the barometer of our holiness.
11. We have two natures! The renewed heart or mind which lives in a body of sinful flesh. Hence we are to keep our hearts with all diligence (Prov.4:23)-keep our motives, aims and desires pure (surely God alone can purify these!) so that the thoughts and words that issue from us are likewise pure and holy.