Holiness is something we are to do because of what we already are - Holy.

January 10, 2020
Hey Church Family:
What do you find yourself striving for? Do you strive to be living a life of greater holiness or greater sinfulness?  Do you ever ask the question to yourself, "what am I doing that is not holy?”  What am I doing or how am I acting that is not pleasing to God - what is not holy in my life?  Hebrews 12:14 tells us to strive for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.  Wait a minute, I thought that we were already declared “ Holy” by a Holy God through the work of Jesus Christ?  Let us take a moment to figure this call to strive for holiness.

With Christ's single offering He has perfected for all time those He came to save.  His declaration of us as “Holy" is an irreversible event that occurred when Jesus went to the cross to pay a debt for our sins that we could not pay.  This means that our standing before God as holy can neither be lost nor improved upon. Our greater obedience and sometimes failure to obey cannot change the fact that we are God's children. This history changing event transferred us from the domain of sin to the domain of God’s holiness, from the kingdom of Satan to the kingdom of God.

Ok, but not so fast.  That is not the entire story.  As children of God, He has declared us "Holy” and at the same time He is working in us and through us to make us more and more like Christ, transformed into His image, every day in every way.  We are commanded to be “striving for holiness” (Hebrews 12:14).  You being declared “Holy" WILL produce a life of daily striving for holiness in the power of the Holy Spirit.  That is one of the Holy Spirit’s ministries to you.

The holiness that we are to be striving for does not consist merely of believing and feeling but also of doing.  Our mouths, tempers, passions, desire, habits, conduct as parents, children, workers, bosses, husbands and wives, our dress, time allocation, reaction to riches and poverty are to be rooted in the holiness of God.  Holiness is a doing and acting in the opposite way that sinfulness is a doing and acting.  What do you find yourself pursuing most?

Let's look at just 15 differences in outcomes of when we pursue holiness and those of when we pursue sinfulness.  
1. Pursuing holiness enjoys the favor of God.  Pursuing sin invites the discipline of God.
2. Pursuing holiness is time never wasted.  Pursuing sin is time forever wasted.
3. Pursuing holiness always pleases God.  Pursuing sin never pleases God.
4. Pursuing holiness brings joy to my heart.  Pursuing sin brings heaviness to my heart.
5. Brothers and sisters in Christ enjoy me pursuing holiness.  Brothers and sisters in Christ are heavily burdened with me pursuing sin.
6. Pursuing holiness makes me what Christ has intended me to be.  Pursuing sin always makes me less than what I should be.
7. Pursuing holiness encourages others to be holy.  Pursuing sin encourages others to sin.
8. Pursuing holiness strengthens my reputation and my testimony.  Pursuing sin robs me of my reputation and my testimiony.
9. God loves hearing my prayers when I pursue holiness.  God does not respect my prayers when I pursue sin.
10. Pursuing holiness makes it easy to follow the Holy Spirit.  Pursuing sin makes it impossible to follow the holy Spirit at the same time.
11. Pursuing holiness along with serving others makes the things of God beautiful.  Pursuing sin along with serving makes the things of God repulsive.
12. Suffering for pursuing holiness has great reward.  Suffering for pursuing sin has no reward.
13. Pursuing holiness is encouraged and enjoyed by all the inhabitants of heaven.  Pursuing sin is encouraged and enjoyed by all of the inhabitants of hell.
14. Pursuing holiness welcomes and enjoys God’s authority over me.  Pursuing sin grants my sin and Satan an authority over me.
15. Pursuing sin makes much of the cross of Jesus Christ as He died for the purpose of taking away my sin.  Pursuing sin makes little of the cross of Jesus Christ that He endured for taking away my sin.  

As Martyn Lloyd-Jones once said: "Holiness is not something we are called upon to do in order that we may become something; Holiness is something we are to do because of what we already are."

Hebrews 12:14  … (strive) for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

I look forward to worshipping with you this Sunday as we finish our series, How the Gospel Changes Us. - Much love, Steve

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