Summary: Disicpleship to Jesus & a Holy Life are inseperable!
Discipleship & Holiness (#1)
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Let us begin this next series of What We Believe & Why We Believe It by establishing from the outset this one truth that we all must accept: It is God’s will that Christians are to be holy! Before the foundations of this world was laid, God purposed that Christians were to be holy and without blame (Eph. 1:Before the foundations of this world was laid, God purposed that Christians were to be holy and without blame (Eph. 1:4) - "…He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…" God continues His call unto holiness - Paul the Apostle tells us that God saved us in order to make us holy (2 Tim. 1:9) - "…who (God) has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began…"
Peter writes (1 Peter 1:15 & 16) - "…as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ’Be holy, for I am holy.’"
No Bible believing Christian doubts the importance of holiness! Yet, the question remains: "What exactly is holiness?" Although answers to this question abound, many of the answers leave people mystified and confused. Perhaps the easiest way to understand holiness is to examine the life of the holiest human to ever live: Jesus Christ!
When examining John 1:1, we read that Jesus is called "the Word." The importance of this is clear; God chooses to communicate to us His will for our lives by using just one conveyance: Words! Therefore, Jesus became the living Example, the living Word from God for us to emulate!
John further tells us in John 1:14: "…the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." Jesus came into this world as God-man (incarnation) for the express purpose of revealing to mankind what the Father is like! (John 1:18) - "No one has seen God at any time. The only begotten Son, who is in the bosom of the Father, He (Jesus) has declared Him." And, since God is holy, Jesus displays through His life what holiness is like. Therefore, we may say that holiness, as it is expressed by redeemed mankind, is Christ-likeness!
To be holy is to be Christ-like; to be holy in thought, word and deed is to be Christ-like in thought, word and deed. To have a holy heart is to have a heart like Jesus. To be holy in our attitudes, ambitions and activities, is to be Christ-like in our attitudes, ambitions and activities. In short, to be Christ-like necessitates having the mind of Christ! (Phil. 2:5-8) - "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross."
Jesus left us an example that we should follow in His steps. He was and is totally obedient to the Father. He humbled Himself, renouncing all selfish ambitions or considerations, and did the will of the Father even though it cost Him His life. (1 Peter 2:21 & 22) - "For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps: ’Who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth…’" (quote from Isa. 53:9)
But remember: Holiness begins in a person’s life the moment he/she is born again. His/her sinful past is forgiven and he/she is made a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17) - "…if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new." This is Christ-likeness begun!
Christ-likeness continues to develop as the new Christian grows in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ. When the believer becomes aware of the presence of inherited depravity (carnality) in his/her life, and learns that his/her heart can be completely cleansed of inbred sin and filled with divine love through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit, he/she walks in the light and receives this work by faith; this is called being "sanctified wholly." (1 Thess. 5:23) - "…may the God of peace Himself sanctify you completely; and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be preserved blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ."