Summary: In this series, we will explore six traditions of Christian faith. The first is one that the Church of God strongly connects to: the holy life. We explore strengths/weaknesses and how to integrate it.
Through James we can learn what holiness is.
Holiness: Re-formation of the Heart.
This is why we are the Church of God Reformation Movement. We seek that change that comes when God’s Spirit comes to dwell in our heart. But this is crucial!
(A transformed heart will produce right action).
It doesn’t take long to see how important right action is to James. “Show it by his good life, by deeds done in humility. It is the virtuous life. But right action by itself is not enough. The right action or holy life must come because the source is purified. That source is our hearts. A pure heart leads to pure action. Selfish ambition leads to evil and sin.
Jesus went into the desert to fast and pray. It was there that the devil tempted Him but He was without sin. His pure heart was shown because He refused to act sinfully.
This leads us to a few clarifying statements about holiness.
Clarifying Statements About Holiness
• Holiness is not just rules and regulations.
Although there are rules to holy living such as the Ten Commandments, simply obeying a bunch of rules misses the whole point. God does have rules to obey. But they are not meant to be restrictions as much as life-giving directives.
• Holiness is not separation from the world but set apart.
Too often we separate ourselves from the world. Yes, we act differently. We live differently. But how will God ever be glorified when we never interact with the lost.
• Holiness utilizes spiritual disciplines as a means not as the end.
It is easy to judge others and ourselves simply on the criteria of how little or much we studied our Bibles and prayed and worshiped.
• Holiness is not works righteousness.
You don’t earn God’s favor. You can’t work yourself into being holy.
• Holiness is sanctifying grace.
• Holiness is not perfection.
Being holy does not mean that I will never sin. If you believe that, then you believe a heresy. This doesn’t mean that I will sin all the time, every day either.
• Holiness is a bend toward righteousness not sin.
My heart will be oriented toward God’s directives. I will gravitate toward righteous living not sinful living. This means that I can be tempted just as much as Jesus was tempted in the desert. But it doesn’t mean that I am powerless over temptation.
• Holiness is an experience in grace.
It is moment when under conviction, I ask for cleansing from the Holy Spirit. It is asking God to fill me and experiencing the grace of God is personal and profound way.
• Holiness is growing in grace.
It is a moment by moment growing in God’s grace. It is growing more in love with Jesus day by day. It is being transformed from one degree of glory to another.
There is so much confusion about what holiness is. It has caused a lot of people pain. Does this help? If you have further questions, I would love to sit down and talk with you about them. Just give me a call.
During a trial, in a small Missouri town, the local prosecuting attorney called his first witness to the stand. The witness was a proper well-dressed elderly lady, the Grandmother type, well spoken, and poised. She was sworn in, asked if she would tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, on the Bible, so help her God.