Holiness is a Command
by Cynthia Buhain-Baello
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When I read the Word of God I pray and ask the Holy Spirit to lead me to the answers to my personal questions. I have with me a concordance, a Greek/Hebrew dictionary, a Bible Study Guide, to the topics I am reading for study and meditation. I need these to help me get the correct word translation and the right context of the verse I am reading. In prayer, I hold on to what Jesus our LORD promised, the Holy Spirit Who will guide us into all truth as He said so in John 14:15-18.
"If you love Me, you will obey what I command. And I will ask the Father and He will give you another Counselor to be with you forever - the Spirit of Truth."
In sharing the Word of God, I do not use hypothetical situations or presumptions but rely on the Scriptures as stated. The danger in using hypothesis to illustrate the Word is this: the Word is Truth while hypothesis is not. It is a conjecture, a "what-if situation" that has not really happened. Every question or statement that does not have a valid basis in Scripture is a dangerous presumption.
Take Holiness. Some believers say it is impossible to "be holy" in this sinful degenerate world. Some do not even have an idea of what "holiness" really is. God commanded us to be holy. "Be holy for I am holy." (Leviticus 11:44-45)
If holiness is an impossible virtue to attain and maintain, why then would God command us to do it?
When we received Jesus Christ and accepted the Gift of Salvation, we have received the Holy Spirit Who indwells us. God makes us holy by the Spirit. (Titus 3:4-7 & 1 John 4:13)
"We know that we live in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit." (1 John 4:13)
The new birth results in a new creation - "Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has gone the new has come."
(2 Corinthians 5:17)
The new birth also starts with the work of God in us - the work of the Holy Spirit which is sanctification. "And being confident of this: that He Who began the good work in you will carry it to completion until the day of Christ Jesus."
Every believer who has the Holy Spirit working in him will always have a renewed will to obey and follow Christ. He will always be convicted of sin and though he fall, he will get up, repent, and like Peter, return to the LORD. "For it is God Who works in you to will and to do according to His good purpose." (Philippians 2:13)
A child of God cannot remain in sin because he has been born of God (1 John 3:9) and the Spirit Who lives in him will continue His work. "Faithful is He Who called us and He will complete it." (1 Thessalonians 5:24)
The start of holiness is actually willful Obedience. We choose to follow Christ, for "Whoever claims to live in Him must walk as Jesus did."(1 John 2:6) Christ Himself said "My sheep hear my voice and they follow Me." (John 10:14-16)
Obedience comes from a change of heart, a change of mind leading to a change of direction. How?
"Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be TRANSFORMED in the renewing of your minds. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is: His good pleasing, and perfect will." (Romans 12:2)
The verse before that says it even more completely: "Therefore, I urge you, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship." (Romans 12:1)
Obedience leads to holiness and it is the proof of genuine love for God. Holiness or purity of heart is the result of it.
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God."
A Christian writer, Andrew Murray wrote a book titled "Absolute Surrender" about what it means to obey God and reach holiness by His grace. Let us not lose hope that we can never be holy because God promised to do His work in us. Sin shall not be our master, God is.
"Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."
1 Peter 1:15
"But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do;"
1 Thessalonians 4:7
"For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life."
1 Thessalonians 4:4
"that each of you should learn to control your own body in a way that is holy and honorable,"
2 Peter 3:11
"Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives"
1 Peter 2:5
"you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
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