Summary: A sermon addressing what Holiness is and how to live out our holy label Christ has so gracefully given us. Practical steps to living a holy life and concepts about the benefits of holiness.
“Holiness is like a diamond. It has many facets”
– Dr. Roger Green at Holiness Ablaze, 2010
Holiness. Holy is defined by Dictionary.com as, “1. Belonging to, derived from, or associated with a divine power; sacred. 2. Living according to a strict or highly moral religious or spiritual system; saintly: a holy person, and, 3. Specified or set apart for a religious purpose: a holy place. That’s an easy answer to the following question. What is holiness?
I need to live a Holy life. It’s no just a desire it’s a calling placed on my life. And it only makes sense to me that I should dig seep into something I am doing to know more about it. With the help of the Founder of the ‘Army’, William Booth, we can cover some misconceptions about Holiness and a holy life. Some of which hinder us Christians from living out our Holiness.
1. Holiness is not having a heart that can’t be tempted. Jesus was tempted in the desert.
2. Holiness is not having a heart that can’t sin. Paul struggled with sin in Romans 7.
3. Holiness is not boring or a hindrance to a fascinating life. In actuality, living out your holiness tears the roof off your life that sin holds over you.
It is very important, as William Booth emphasized, that we recognize what holiness isn’t. It is so we are not blinded or even tricked into something other than holiness if its’ holiness we strive for. These are the types of things you want to present to your friends, in bible studies and other places so that they can begin a holiness journey, being clear about their holiness. They can then be ready to find out what holiness is and stay focused on that.
It can be comparative to surgery. You have to address the cancer before focusing on rehabilitation will be effective. As Catherine Booth stated, “Before you talk about holiness you have to talk about sin.”
Two- What Holiness Is
Catherine Booth seems like a firecracker when it comes to theology as you read on about her history in biographical books. She was definitely influential to The Salvation Army’s doctrine as well as the Salvationists whom she came in contact with. In another lecture of Dr Roger Green’s, we were presented with Catherine Booth’s impact on the The Salvation Army’s holiness teaching.
Catherine sometimes seemed to have summed up sin to be few things which include an evil heart of unbelief, impetuous will, and a momentary loss of common sense. Now that I have discussed some of what holiness isn’t I can talk about what holiness is.
Holiness is giving due to a different love.
In a brief lecture there was described, personally by Dr. Green, a painting that someone worked as an illustration of hell. The painting consisted of a large table in a dark, but lit room. Around the table were skeletal creatures with long spoons. In the center of the table there was delicious, nutritious fruit in a bowl. The man described the painting as these creatures stuck there for eternity trying to feed themselves, pathetically, with the spoons. But all the while, the spoons were too long for them to reach their mouths. They would be stuck in this manner forever, trying to feed themselves day in and day out, not getting any food or any healthier. The principle was that those skeletons in the painting could not see that if they had all reached over and fed the one across from them at the table, all of them would be fed and healthy for eternity. But they only thought about them selves. This wonderful contrast illustrates that Holiness is and requires love for others. It’s asked of us by our God and is important to Catherine as she engages to keeping Christian communion, as it should be for all of us.
Catherine Booth had often expressed her opinions on what holiness was and she described it as being “full of love that destroys the self and fills the soul with heavenly generosity”. What kind of love is this? The only true love, the love that flows from God. I have made the mistake of thinking love is from that of an attraction to something else; that thing that bonds me to another. Maybe “love at first sight?” That love is a benefit to me. I gain something therefore its love. Indeed true love is binding, but that “love”, as we describe it, doesn’t transform you. God’s love transforms; it destroys the sense of need to have that something else and gives you new ways of thinking about others. A heaven inspired generosity that is embraced and expected by Jesus as described in Mark 12: 30-32,
“30Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with your entire mind and with all your strength.' 31The second is this: 'Love your neighbor as yourself. 'There is no commandment greater than these."(NIV). Holiness is experiencing the fullness or the potential of this selfless love that is God. Love is giving.