Posts Tagged ‘holiness’
Many who profess faith leave things to the last minute. What will I do when I am tempted? Will I do what I already know to be my duty? Will I leave it to how I feel at the last moment? Will I attend church? Will I go to prayer meeting? Will I read the scriptures? Will I seek to bear witness? Will I watch this kind of thing on television? Will I turn it off or will I indulge? In a very real sense, we say that we decided when we began to follow Jesus. We vowed to take Him as our Lord and Master. We said to all the future questions of obedience, “I already decided.” Now we need to live like it.
Read it all at Main Things.
“No one is more holy than anyone else.” That was the statement I heard in a recent sermon. At first, I thought I must have misheard it. But, I had not. The point being made to the congregation was clear: abandon your ‘self-righteousness’ and recognize that you are no holier than the person in the pew next to you.
For why this is nonsense, read the rest.
David Murray has some very helpful interaction with Tullian Tchividjian on the substance of his book, Jesus + Nothing = Everything. In three parts, he considers the confusion of justification with sanctification; the confusion from making our own experience the norm for others; and, the confusion of our standing with God and our experience and enjoyment of God.
I think David is making some important points that point us away from error and toward truth in our understanding of holiness and its pursuit.
Cruciform Press, 2010, 108pp., paperback/download, $5-10 (depending on format)
Beginning life as a series of blog posts, this book is a very brief and direct treatment of an issue that, like it or not, almost every man must face, with sexual imagery either aggressively invading our hearts or a mere moment away, should our hearts desire it. The closest we get here to a definition of pornography is “a representation of sexuality that promotes either isolating acts of masturbation or abhorrently selfish acts of sexual abuse.” With that broad starting point, the author delivers a short, sharp shock to the spiritual system. Challies succeeds where several authors on a similar topic fails: he manages to be transparent without titillating, being frank but not crude, blunt without becoming vulgar. He urges upon his readers the profound dangers and far-reaching damage of pornography, speaking plainly of sin and grace, with some hard-hitting questions at the end of each short chapter. The whole is well-balanced, as he addresses not only the putting to death of sexual sin, but also the cultivation of genuine holiness in this area of life. In short, he earnestly demands that the porn-sick man get on his knees and – in dependence upon God’s grace in Christ – recalibrate his mind, heart and soul with regard to pornography. Those who are fed up hiding from this issue in their own lives or the lives of others will find this an excellent resource, being less about the spark of sin and more about the tinder of the heart. It drives at the right target, speaks with compassionate yet clear language, and offers a genuine and grace-soaked solution.
A holy life is both the best platform for and the best proof of the gospel proclaimed by God’s people.
Excellent stuff from Kevin DeYoung:
I find it telling that you can find plenty of young Christians today who are really excited about justice and serving in their communities. You can find Christians fired up about evangelism. You can find lots of Generation XYZ believers passionate about precise theology. Yes and amen to all that. But where are the Christians known for their zeal for holiness? Where is the corresponding passion for honoring Christ with Christlike obedience? We need more Christian leaders on our campuses, in our cities, in our seminaries who will say with Paul, “Look carefully then how you walk”? (Eph. 5:15).
When is the last time we took a verse like Ephesians 5:4–“Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving”–when is the last time we took a verse like this and even began to try to apply this to our conversation, our joking, our movies, our you tube clips, our t.v. and commercial intake? The fact of the matter is if you read through the New Testament epistles you will find very few explicit commands that tell us to evangelize and very few explicit commands that tell us to take care of the poor in our communities, but there are dozens and dozens of verses in the New Testament that enjoin us, in one way or another, to be holy as God is holy (e.g., 1 Peter 1:13-16).
I do not wish to denigrate any of the other biblical emphases capturing the attention of younger evangelicals. But I believe God would have us be much more careful with our eyes, our ears, and our mouth. It’s not pietism, legalism, or fundamentalism to take holiness seriously. It’s the way of all those who have been called to a holy calling by a holy God.
“Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him! He is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil.” Job 1:8
We ought not to set up our rest in low degrees of grace; or content ourselves to be like others in grace. We should labour (if it be possible) to go beyond all others in grace. It did not satisfy Job that he had gotten to such a degree, to such a frame and temper of heart, to such a course of holiness, as his neighbors or brethren had attained unto; but he laboured to go beyond them all, “Not such a man upon the earth as Job.” It is an holy ambition to labour to exceed all other in grace and goodness. We have a great many in the world that desire to be so rich, as none should be like them; to be so gay in their apparel, as none should be like them; so beautiful, as none should be like them; but where are that desire and endeavour to have such a portion or stock of grace, that none should be like them, to be above others in holiness, as Job was? True grace never rests in any degrees or measures of grace, but labours to increase: he that hath any grace would have more; do not think it enough when you are like others, you ought to labour to be beyond others.
Practical Observations on Job, Joseph Caryl (1:103)
HT: Johnny Farese.