Whatever Happened to Holiness?
In our culture today, holiness is a word that we hear very little and see in action even less. Sadly many people, including some Christians, don't take God's command to be holy seriously enough and non-Christians could care less about this vital character quality. As Christian women, we should strive daily to display holiness in our speech, attitude and conduct.
As 1 Timothy 4:12 says, Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
In Noah's day, when God saw how great man's wickedness on the earth had become, He was grieved in His heart that He had made man (Genesis 6:5-6). How much more is God grieved by the evil in our world today?
What is holiness?
Quote, "Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture." In other words, hating what God hates, loving what God loves and measuring everything by the standard of His Word.
A woman who desires to be holy will hate every false way and have a great fear of displeasing God
Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.
My flesh trembleth for fear of thee; and I am afraid of thy judgments.
She will seek after God with her whole heart and strive to be more conformed to Christ's image
With my whole heart have I sought thee: O let me not wander from thy commandments.
She will bear with and forgive others, even as God also has forgiven her
And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ's sake hath forgiven you.
She will aim to be unselfish, humble, faithful and full of love and compassion for sinners, like Christ.
She will deny herself in order to minister more effectively to others, just as Dorcas did (Acts 9:36-42).
Sound impossible? Only by God's grace and the work of the Holy Spirit can we ever hope to become holy and even with our best efforts we will never be perfectly holy in this life.
Why is holiness important?
Holiness is essential because God commands it.
1 Peter 1:15-16 says, But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy."
Hebrews 12:14 says, Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Scripture also says,
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. (1 Thessalonians 4:7).
How much clearer does God need to be?
Another reason to be holy is that holiness shows the world whose we are.
I Peter 2:9 says, But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
"The only safe evidence that we are one with Christ, and Christ in us, is a holy life." We are called to be holy women that give the world proof that we love Christ.
A Christian who exhibits holiness will stand out since holiness is almost non-existent in our culture. Christian women have the opportunity to shine for Christ by choosing to be obedient to Scripture's commands to be holy.
*That means examining our hearts for sins that can keep us from holiness, like carelessness and dishonesty.
*Most of us can resist the big temptations because we fear the consequences, but do we give in to the smaller ones like TO MUCH TIME ON COMPUTER, IN FRONT OF TV, SHOPPING ETC.
What Produces Holiness?
--Holiness begins with the fear of the Lord.
2 Corinthians 7:1 states,
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. Holiness is perfected or completed by obedience, which is produced by the fear of God.
"I have thought about it a great deal, and the more I think, the more certain I am that obedience is the gateway through which knowledge, yes, and love, too, enter the mind of the child. "
"My heart is singing for joy this morning! A miracle has happened! The light of understanding has shone upon my little pupil's mind, and behold, all things are changed!"
Anne Sullivan 1866-1936
Let's look at four conditions that must be present in our lives in order for us to have the quality of holiness:
--There must be a hungering and thirsting after God, His righteousness and His Word (Psalm 42:1-2); As the heart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God:
--We can never experience holiness without a repentant spirit (1 John 1:9); If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
--The third condition for holiness is an abhorrence of all evil (Romans 12:9A); Let love be without dissimulation. Abhor that which is evil;
--We must consciously, deliberately and purposefully cling to that which is good (Romans 12:9b cleave to that which is good
It takes time to be holy and there are no short cuts. Unlike oatmeal, there's no such thing as "instant holiness." As we seek to develop a faithful and consistent prayer life and feed on God's Word, the Holy Spirit will begin to produce Christ's holiness in us.
In 1882, William Longstaff, a wealthy Englishman, heard a sermon from 1 Peter 1:16, "Be holy, for I am holy." This prompted him to write the hymn Take Time to Be Holy. The first stanza says:
"Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord.
Abide in Him always, and feed on His word.
Make friends with God's children; help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek."
Robert McCheyne was a saintly man of God, who, in his comparatively short life, won many souls to the Lord. After he died, a letter addressed to him was found on his desk. It was from a person he had led to Christ and said, "It was nothing you said that first made me wish to be a Christian. It was the beauty of holiness which I saw in your face."
May we seek to be holy women in all that we say and do. Then Jesus will be glorified and magnified in our lives and the world will see the beauty of holiness, without which no man (or woman) will see the Lord.