Summary: A guide to holiness, with a focus on the Holy Spirit.
Five weeks ago we began a series on Holiness. We looked at ideas and methods we can use to help us work towards that life of Holiness. If you remember, we first found the definition of Holiness, which means, “To be like God”. It didn’t mean to be God, or to be A God, but to be LIKE God. And we explained that God doesn’t do anything wrong. He doesn’t lie, cheat, steal, murder, have envy, unrighteous anger, or be deceitful. And what He does do… is love. He loves His children, every single one. So, that’s it. 1st Peter 1:16 told us, “for it is written, Be holy as I am Holy.” That was and still is an instruction for us. It turns out, once we believe that we have a Savior, once we know who Jesus Christ is and what HE has done for us, the next logical step is to work towards holiness. If we don’t, what are we? If we say we have a Savior but don’t believe in His words or His instruction, do we truly have faith? It is a question that affects each one of us, even eternally.
The next week we looked into the most important tool in our walk towards holiness, and that was walking in the Word. Which actually means spending time reading God’s Word. Because when it really comes down to it, how can we know what is and isn’t holy? As we pointed out, we could always get lucky and just happen onto a scripture verse that talks about holiness. You know the ones, the ones about not lying, cheating, slandering, having any kind of immorality in our lives. Or, we can do even better. We can know. What I mean is, when we study something enough, we end up knowing it. We don’t need to go look it up every time, we already know what God is telling us. Sometimes we even get good enough to memorize it. Which by the way is actually the goal. We found that scripture verse we hear in Sunday School, Psalm 119:11, “I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.” or as Paul tells us in Colossians 3:16, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom”. There is a reason those verses are taught to us over and over. Those words can leave an impression on our hearts and minds and some day when we really need the help, we might remember where the strongest help comes from. Our Father in Heaven.
And after we found out exactly what holiness was, and then where we can read about holiness, and how to get there, what to do, or not to do. We spoke about the importance of that book, God’s Word. Remember the quotes we heard? Abraham Lincoln stating in a response to an African American group giving him a Bible as a gift in 1864, “In regard to this Great Book, I have but to say, it is the best gift God has given to man. All the good the Savior gave to the world was communicated through this book." And our first president George Washington when he said, “It is impossible to rightly govern the world without God and the Bible.” And even the great Napoleon had an amazing respect for God’s Word when he told others, “The Bible is no mere book, but it's a living creature with a power that conquers all who oppose it.” It is the power of great leaders, it is the strength men and women need and use that gets us through the tough times. It is the map, we use to get to Heaven.
As we continued on we found some important guidelines in His Word. In chapter 3 of Colossians we found the heading before verse 1 that actually says “Rules for Holy Living”. It says, “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature, sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander and filthy language from your lips.” And the next chapter continues with the “Rules for Christian Households”. You see we never had to look far to find instructions or advice on how to live a holy life. The directions are still right here! They are easy to find, if we open the book and take a look.