Friday, September 16, 2016

September 17, 2016

"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."   Hebrews 12:14

Holiness matters. Erwin Lutzer, Pastor of Moody Church in Chicago shared this sobering fact:

Addressing a national seminar of Southern Baptist leaders, George Gallup said, "We find there is very little difference in ethical behavior between churchgoers and those who are not active religiously...The levels of lying, cheating, and stealing are remarkable similar in both groups. Eight out of ten Americans consider themselves Christians, Gallup said, yet only about half of them could identify the person who gave the Sermon on the Mount, and fewer still could recall five of the Ten Commandments. Only two in ten said they would be willing to suffer for their faith."   

You don't have to have a strong understanding of holiness to know that isn't it. Obviously, there is a "holiness gap" among those who populate the churches of America.

So, what is holiness and what difference does it make?

In one word, holiness is "love". In two words, holiness is "perfect love". Holiness is "wholly" loving God and loving others in the same way you love yourself. Holiness is finding peace with God and earnestly seeking to be a peacemaker in your world. The best way to make peace is to connect people with Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Holiness promotes peace by responding to evil with goodness and by responding to hatred with love.

Holiness is difficult. It results from sanctification. Sanctification means "being set apart" and it can mean "made pure". There are two definitions because one denotes your responsibility - to set yourself apart unto God - and His part - to make you morally pure and spiritually holy.

To be made pure and holy is bound to make a difference! And it does! Consider some of the important difference:

1) You see God more clearly.

Holiness brings the fullness of the Holy Spirit! The Holy Spirit is the "Spirit of Truth" Who Jesus promised would "lead you into all truth"! Being made pure and filled by His Spirit enables you to see God with more clarity. Not only will you see Him more clearly but you will see His will with greater clarity. And, you will see the world around you more clearly. Holiness connects you to a new reality - spiritual reality - an eternal reality. That is the essence of faith - "the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen." God gives you spiritual eyes with the vision to see spiritual realities in the midst of a dark and fallen world. Coming into a knowledge of what is real radically changes how you live in this world and that can cause you to change the world in which you live.

Have you been filled with His Spirit?

2) You see God eternally.

Holy people get to go to Heaven where they will get to see God not just by faith - but face to face forever! Have you been made holy?

3) God is seen in you more clearly.

Jesus said, "If I be lifted up I will draw all men to myself". A loving Jesus demonstrated throught the life of a holy person makes God almost irresistable. Think about it, every one who claims to be a Christian either makes it easier to believe in God OR makes it more difficult to believe just by the witness of their life. Holy people make Christianity contagious.

What about your witness? Are people seeing Jesus in your attitudes and actions?

With holiness you shall see God! With holiness God will be seen in you!

Holiness is hard, but it is even harder trying to be a victorious Christian without it!