Sunday, March 27, 2011

The Holiness of God

God has called every Christian to a holy life.

According to Ephesians 1:4, we are told that He saved us for this purpose.

Ephesians 1:4 says that God “chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him.”

This describes both a purpose and a result of God’s choosing those who are to be saved.

And since this is His purpose, this is how we are to live.

God’s call for holiness is based on His own character.

The Bible describes God’s character as “Holy.”

As we consider the holiness of God, we need to first understand that “Holiness is arguably the most significant of all of God’s attributes” (John MacArthur, Our Awesome God, 38).

It is “the very excellency of the divine nature” (A.W. Pink, Gleanings in the Godhead, 39).

“It is the sparkling jewel of the regal crown on His head” (John MacArthur, God, Satan, and Angels, 57).

It is “the harmony of all the virtues...the crown of His honor and the honor of His crown” (Spurgeon on the Psalms, 414).

This is “His choicest jewel” (Ibid.).

When the angels worship in heaven, they do not say, “Eternal, eternal, eternal,” or “Faithful, faithful, faithful,” or “Wise, wise, wise,” or “Mighty, mighty, mighty.” They say, “Holy, Holy, Holy.”

In Revelation 4:8, we are told that the “four living creatures, each having six wings, were full of eyes around and within. And they do not rest day or night, saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come!’”

God is “the Holy One of Israel” (Isa.47:4).

He is “Holy God” (1 Sam.6:20), “Holy Father” (Jn.17:11).

1 Chronicles 16:10 says to “Glory in His holy name.”

Before we look at the definition of holiness, we need to understand “that any attempt to define [the] ‘holiness’ of God is, as A.W. Tozer states, “fraught with potential flaw and error” (The Attributes of God).

The reason is because no one can adequately explain it.

All we can do is compare it to ourselves and that causes major “flaw and error.”

We are unholy and He is holy but what does that mean?

Before the fall, Eccelesiates 7:29 says, “that God made men upright.”

But his being “upright” is not comparable to God being upright or holy because Solomon went on to say that man “sought out many devices.”

In other words, when man was created in the image of God, he was not given the same uprightness that God possesses. He was created with the potential for sin.

In describing God, James says in James 1:13 that God “cannot be tempted by evil.”

That literally means He is “untemptable.”

Psalm 5:4 says, “For You are not a God who takes pleasure in wickedness, Nor shall evil dwell with You.”

So we must understand first that fundamental difference between man and God.

Next we need to understand the difficulty that is involved in defining the holiness of God.

R.C. Sproul says, “The difficulties involved in defining holiness are vast. There is so much to holiness and it is so foreign to us that the task seems almost impossible. There is a very real sense in which the word holy is a foreign word. But even when we run up against foreign words there is always the hope that a foreign language dictionary can rescue us by providing a clear translation. The problem we face, however, is that the word holy is foreign to all languages. No dictionary is adequate to the task.

Our problem with definition is made more difficult by the fact that in the Bible the word holy is used in more than one way. There is a sense in which the Bible uses holy in a way that is very closely related to God's goodness. It has been customary to define holy as 'purity, free from every stain, wholly perfect and immaculate in every detail.'

Purity is the first word most of us think of when we hear the word holy. To be sure, the Bible does use the word this way. But the idea of purity or of moral perfection is at best the secondary meaning of the term in the Bible” (The holiness of God).

What then is the meaning of the term?

Holiness Defined

The root meaning of the Hebrew noun ‘holiness’ (qodes) and the adjective ‘holy’ (qados) comes from a word that means ‘to cut’ or ‘to separate,’ and thus to be distinct from and set apart.

That the term did not originally refer to ethical purity is seen from its use in describing prostitutes who were ‘set apart’ or ‘devoted’ to pagan deities such as Baal and Asherah (see Gen. 38:21; Hosea 4:14).

Donald Bloesch points out that ‘in Israel’s history holiness could be applied to nonpersonal things, places and even pagan gods (cf. Dan. 4:8,9; 5:11). The ground around the burning bush is holy (Ex. 3:5) as are the temple (Is. 64:11; Jon. 2:4; Hab. 2:20), days (Ex. 20:8; Deut. 5:12; Is. 58:13), utensils (1 Chron. 9:29), garments (Ex. 29:21; Lev. 16:4), food (1 Sam. 21:4; Neh. 7:65), oil (Ex. 30:25,31; Num. 35:25; Ps. 89:20) and offerings (2 Chron. 35:13; Ezek. 42:13)’ (God the Almighty, 138).

“The point is that God is separate from everyone and everything else. He alone is Creator. He is altogether and wholly other, both in his character and his deeds. He is transcendently different from and greater than all his creatures in every conceivable respect. To put it in common terms, ‘God is in a class all by himself’” (Dr. Sam Storms,

Holiness is not primarily a reference to moral or ethical purity. It is a reference to transcendence.

R.C. Sproul again says, “We are so accustomed to equating holiness with purity or ethical perfection that we look for the idea when the word holy appears. When things are made holy, when they are consecrated, they are set apart unto purity. They are to be used in a pure way. They are to reflect purity as well as simply apartness. Purity is not excluded from the idea of the holy; it is contained within it. But the point we must remember is that the idea of the holy is never exhausted by the idea of purity. It includes purity but is much more than that. It is purity and transcendence. It is a transcendent purity.

When we use the word holy to describe God, we face another problem. We often describe God by compiling a list of qualities or characteristics that we call attributes. We say that God is a spirit, that He knows everything, that He is loving, just, merciful, gracious, and so on. The tendency is to add the idea of the holy to this long list of attributes as one attribute among many. But when the word holy is applied to God, it does not signify one single attribute. On the contrary, God is called holy in a general sense. The word is used as a synonym for his deity. That is, the word holy calls attention to all that God is. It reminds us that His love is holy love, his justice is holy justice, his mercy is holy mercy, his knowledge is holy knowledge, his spirit is holy spirit” (The Holiness of God).

Holiness Declared

In His Name

1 Chronicles 16:10 says God’s name is “holy.”
The psalmist said in Ps.22:21 that he trusted “in His holy name.

In both of those verses, the term for Lord is Yahweh.

We said in our last study that this sacred name was known as the tetragrammaton (‘four letters’) and it was “not a description of God, but simply a declaration of His self-existence and His eternal changelessness” (J.I, Packer, Knowing God).

But it is interesting to note how it is associated also with the holiness of God.

In the giving of the ten commandments God uses this term in Exodus 20:2, 5, 7, 10, 11, 12

Notice also how the psalmist uses it in association with holiness

Ps.99 , (“the LORD” vv.1, 2, 5, 6, 8, 9)
Ps.103:1 (“the LORD” v.1)
Ps.104:1-2 (“the LORD” v.1)
Ps.105:3 (“the LORD” vv.1, 3)
Ps.106:47 (LORD” v.47)
Ps.111:9 (“the LORD” vv.1, 2, 4, 10)

John Walvoord said, “So holy was this name regarded that Jews reading the Old Testament would substitute some other name for deity rather than express vocally what the text actually said when it used the word Jehovah” (Jesus Christ Our Lord, 37).

“This is the unspeakable name, the ineffable name, the holy name that is guarded from profanity in the life of Israel” (R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God, 33).
Notice in Isaiah 6:3 what the seraphim are crying to one another:

“Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of His glory!”

The sacred name that God gives of Himself not only reveals His self-existence but also His set-apartness; His otherness.

A.W. Tozer said, “Holy is the way God is” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 105).

A.W. Pink adds, “Holiness is the very excellency of the divine nature” (Gleanings in the Godhead, 39).

No wonder that “Moses and the children of Israel the LORD (Yahweh): “Who is like You, O LORD, among the gods? Who is like You, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?” (Ex.15:11)

The answer to that question is given in 1 Samuel 2:2 when it says, “There is none holy like the LORD, for there is none besides You, nor is there any rock like our God.”

In His Presence

The very presence of God exhibits His holiness and set-apartness.

Ex.19:1-25 (before the giving of the 10 commandments)

“God then commanded Moses to prepare the people for His appearing or speaking to them: (1) by their sanctification, through the washing of the body and clothes (see Gen. 35:2), and abstinence from conjugal intercourse (v. 15) on account of the defilement connected therewith (Lev. 15:18); and (2) by setting bounds round the people, that they might not ascend or touch the mountain” (Keil, C. F., & Delitzsch, F, Commentary on the Old Testament).

Ex.20:18-26 (after the giving of the 10 comm.)
Heb.12:29 says, “For our God is a consuming fire.”

Isa.57:15 - “For thus says the High and Lofty One Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place.’”

Revelation 4

In His People

God’s holiness is seen in His people; they reflect His character in their lives

Jesus said to His disciples in John 15:3, “You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you.”

1 John 1:9 (they are the ones confessing their sin not hiding or denying it like those seen in vv.6, 8, 10).

Paul said in Phil.3:9 that the righteousness that he now had was not his “own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith.”

Apart from this righteousness no one can enter God’s presence

The writer of Hebrews said “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb.12:14).

As a child of God we are to live holy lives

A.W. Tozer says God “does not conform to a standard. He is that standard” (The Knowledge of the Holy, 105).

1 Pet.1:13-16 - “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”

Lev.11:44-47 - “For I am the Lord your God. You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy. Neither shall you defile yourselves with any creeping thing that creeps on the earth. 45 For I am the Lord who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy. 46 ‘This is the law of the animals and the birds and every living creature that moves in the waters, and of every creature that creeps on the earth, 47 to distinguish between the unclean and the clean, and between the animal that may be eaten and the animal that may not be eaten.’”

1 Thessalonians 4:7 says, “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

Ephesians 5:1-8

“The cause of our unholiness is a low view of God.”

This is “entertained almost universally among Christians [and] is the cause of a hundred lesser evils everywhere among us” (A.W. Tozer, Gems from Tozer, 7).
John MacArthur says, “There is much supposed worship going on today that does not genuinely regard God as holy, and thus it falls woefully short. A lot of nice songs are being sung, nice feelings are being felt, nice thoughts are being thought, and nice emotions are being expressed, without a genuine acknowledgment of the holiness of God. That kind of worship bears no relationship to the worship we see in the Bible. It may be more psychological than theological, more fleshly than spiritual” (The Ultimate Priority, 79).

God’s people are to manifest in a practical way God’s holiness by not presenting their “members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but [presenting themselves] to God as being alive from the dead, and [their] members as instruments of righteousness to God” (Rom.6:13).

They are to understand that “now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, [they] have [their] fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life” (v.22).

A.W. Pink says, “Because God is holy, the utmost reverence becomes our approach to Him. ‘God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all about Him’ (Ps. 89:7). Then ‘Exalt ye the Lord our God, and worship at His footstool; He is holy’ (Ps. 99:5). Yes, ‘at His footstool,’ in the lowest posture of humility, prostrate before Him. When Moses would approach unto the burning bush, God said, ‘put off thy shoes from off thy feet’ (Ex. 3:5). He is to be served ‘with fear’ (Ps. 2:11). Of Israel His demand was, ‘I will be sanctified in them that come nigh Me, and before all the people I will be glorified’ (Lev. 10:3). The more our hearts are awed by His ineffable holiness, the more acceptable will be our approaches unto Him.

Because God is holy we should desire to be conformed to Him. His command is, ‘Be ye holy, for I am holy’ (1 Pet. 1:16). We are not bidden to be omnipotent or omniscient as God is, but we are to be holy, and that "in all manner of deportment’ (1 Pet. 1:15)” (The Attributes of God).

Stephen Charnock said, “This is the prime way of honoring God. We do not so glorify God by elevated admirations, or eloquent expressions, or pompous services of Him, as when we aspire to a conversing with Him with unstained spirits, and live to Him in living like Him.”

Holiness Demonstrated

Notice how God responds in the presence of sin.
At the Fall (Gen.3)

At Kadesh (Num.20:1-13; 27:12-14)

At Nacon’s Threshing Floor (2 Sam.6:1-7)

According to Numbers 7:9 the ark was to be carried on poles supported on the shoulders of the Kohathites.

At the Sanctuary of the Lord (Lev.10:1-11)


As we close, notice how the holiness of God is manifested at the cross.

A.W. Pink says, “Wondrously, and yet most solemnly does the atonement display God’s infinite holiness and abhorrence of sin. How hateful must sin be to God for Him to punish it to its utmost desserts when it was imputed to His Son!” (Gleanings in the Godhead, 39).

When Jesus was bearing sin on the cross, He cried out “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani” that is, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken Me?” (Mat.27:46).

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him” (2 Cor.5:21).

A.W. Tozer says, “The whole purpose of God in redemption is to make us holy and to restore us to the image of God” (The Quotable Tozer II, 105).

So we need to realize that “the more we learn of God and His ways and of man and His nature we are bound to reach the conclusion that we are all just about as holy as we want to be. We are all just about as full of the Spirit as we want to be. Thus when we tell ourselves that we want to be more holy but we are really as holy as we care to be, it is a small wonder that the dark night of the soul takes so long” (Ibid., 105-6).

What then is the “true Christian ideal?”

Is it to be happy or to be holy?

“Be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet.1:16; Lev.11:44; 19:2).


Do you think of purity when you hear the word “holy”?
Before this message, have you considered that there are other meanings to the word “holy” like transcendence?

Can you site any examples in your life where God responded to your sin out of His holiness? (e.g. Moses striking the rock -- cannot enter the promised land)

How does what you heard today affect how you worship God?

Jerry Bridges said, “Because God is holy, He hates sin.” Do you agree with that statement?

How does that statement affect your attitude towards sin?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Pursue Holiness

In Hebrews 12:14, the writer of Hebrews gives this sobering exhortation: “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.”

Sanctification or “holiness,” as the ESV and AV uses is a pursuit of every believer.

At salvation, he is made holy through the sacrificial work of Christ on the cross, but through his new life he is to pursue that for which he has become.

The writer says he is to “pursue” not only peace (this refers to peace with all men) but also “the sanctification” or “holiness.”

Pursuing sanctification or holiness suggests two thoughts:
First, that diligence and effort are required; and second, that it is a lifelong task.

Think for a moment of this involving “diligence and effort.”

Some think that being holy or pursuing sanctification doesn’t involve them--it’s all God’s responsibility.

It is true no one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part.

God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking; He does not do that for us.
Jerry Bridges is correct when he says, “We Christians greatly enjoy talking about the provision of God, how Christ defeated sin on the cross and gave us His Holy Spirit to empower us to victory over sin. But we do not as readily talk about our own responsibility to walk in holiness.”

Yet Scripture is filled with such exhortations.

For example, Matthew 5:8 says, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”

2 Corinthians 7:1 says, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

1 Thessalonians 4:3 is even more specific than the previous two when it says, “For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality.”

Being pure in heart, cleansing ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, and abstaining from sexual immorality is our responsibility.

God has given us the power over sin through the indwelling Holy Spirit and our responsibility is to “walk in the Spirit” (Gal.5:16), to be “filled with the Spirit” (Eph.5:18).

Pursuing holiness, as John MacArthur states is, “submitting to the Lord’s commands, doing His will, based on what is so clearly revealed in Scripture.”

In other words, it is “obedience.”

Why don’t Christians talk about their responsibility to walk in holiness?

There are two primary reasons:

One, they are simply reluctant to face up to their responsibility, and two, they do not understand the proper distinction between God’s provision and their own responsibility for holiness.

As Hebrews 12:14 states this is a pursuit.

It involves effort on our part that will go on until we see Jesus.

So then we need to learn how to “cultivate” holiness in our lives.

In a practical word, it involves killing sin in our lives.

It’s more than just saying “No” to sin, it’s being schooled in righteousness.

Titus 2:11-12 says, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age.”

What does Paul refer to as the teacher of denying ungodliness and worldly desires?

What teaches us to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age?

It’s the incarnation of the grace of God.

Who is the manifestation of God’s grace? Jesus Christ.

He clearly taught by His words and example of what it meant to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly.

Hebrews 4:15 says, “For we do not have a high priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all things as we are, yet without sin.”

1 Peter 2:21-23 says, “For you have been called for this purpose, since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps, who committed no sin, nor was any deceit found in His mouth; and while being reviled, He did not revile in return; while suffering, He uttered no threats, but kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously.”

In Hebrews 12:14, the writer of Hebrews uses the word “sanctification” or “holiness” (hagiasmos) [to express] an action...[and it is used] as always proceeding from a holy person, and thus in the case of self-sanctification (as here) always presupposing the holiness that is obtained by Christ’s reconciliation in justification.

[In other words], the word denotes a process by which we become separated unto God in our entire life and conduct. 

Think of a farmer.

A farmer plows his field, sows the seed, and fertilizes and cultivates—all the while knowing that in the final analysis he is utterly dependent on forces outside of himself.

He knows he cannot cause the seed to germinate, nor can he produce the rain and sunshine for growing and harvesting the crop. For a successful harvest, he is dependent on these things from God.

Yet the farmer knows that unless he diligently pursues his responsibilities to plow, plant, fertilize, and cultivate, he cannot expect a harvest at the end of the season.

You are the farmer.

Yes you depend on God to provide the harvest but you plow the field, sow the seed, fertilize and cultivate.

That’s what I want us to talk about in the next few weeks---how to pursue holiness in our lives.

I don’t want to use big words but to speak as practically as possible.

So when we have our discussion time at the end of the service, I want you to think practically as well.

Don’t hide behind fancy words.

Talk specifically about holiness in your life as a pursuit.

Before we go any further, let’s take our remaining time to define the word “holy” and the problems we face.

In seeking an adequate definition, R.C. Sproul, reveals that “the difficulties involved in defining holiness are vast [because] in the Bible the word holy is used in more than one way.”
As we will see in this study, the idea of being holy is to be morally blameless.

It is to be separated from sin and, therefore, consecrated to God.

The word signifies “separation to God, and the conduct befitting those so separated.”

That means holiness affects our attitude in all areas of our lives.

It addresses our speech, thought life, as well as our actions.

You may have a good day go bad.

That doesn’t mean you stop pursuing holiness.

It means you need it all the more and now you’re faced with living out who you are in Christ!

Jerry Bridges, in his book, “The Pursuit of Holiness” shares one of those experiences from his own life that I would like to share with you. I think this is a good example of some of the same kind of things you and I experience in our own lives.

He says, “The shrill ring of the telephone shattered the stillness of the beautiful, crisp Colorado morning. On the other end was one of those utterly impossible individuals God seems to have sprinkled around here on earth to test the grace and patience of His children.

He was in top form that morning—arrogant, impatient, demanding. I hung up the phone seething inside with anger, resentment, and perhaps even hatred. Grabbing my jacket, I walked out into the cold air to try to regain my composure. The quietness of my soul, so carefully cultivated in my “quiet time” with God that morning, had been ripped into shreds and replaced with a volatile, steaming emotional volcano.

As my emotions subsided, my anger turned to utter discouragement. It was only 8:30 in the morning and my day was ruined. Not only was I discouraged, I was confused. Only two hours before, I had read Paul’s emphatic declaration, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.” But despite this nice-sounding promise of victory over sin, there I was locked in the vise-like grip of anger and resentment.

“Does the Bible really have any answers for real life?” I asked myself that morning. With all my heart I desired to live an obedient, holy life; yet there I was utterly defeated by one phone call.

Perhaps this incident has a familiar ring to you. The circumstances probably differed, but your reaction was similar. Perhaps your problem was anger with your children, or a temper at work, or an immoral habit you can’t overcome, or maybe several “besetting sins” that dog you day in and day out.

Whatever your particular sin problem (or problems), the Bible does have the answer for you. There is hope. You and I can walk in obedience to God’s Word and live a life of holiness.”

But in order for that to happen, we need to identify 3 basic problems:

The first problem is:

Our Attitude Toward Sin is More Self-Centered Than God-Centered

We are more concerned about our own “victory” over sin than we are about the fact that our sins grieve the heart of God.

When David finally came to the place of confessing his sin of adultery with Bethsheba and murdering her husband Uriah, he said in Psalm 51:4, “Against You, You only, I have sinned And done what is evil in Your sight...”

His eyes were now off himself and he finally saw that his sin grieved God.

W.S. Plumer said, “We never see sin aright until we see it as against God....All sin is against God in this sense: that it is His law that is broken, His authority that is despised, His government that is set at naught....Pharaoh and Balaam, Saul and Judas each said, ‘I have sinned’; but the returning prodigal said, ‘I have sinned against heaven and before thee’; and David said, ‘Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned.’”

The second problem is:

We Have Misunderstood “Living By Faith” (Galatians 2:20) to Mean No Effort at Holiness is Required On Our Part

Some have even suggested that any effort on our part is “of the flesh” but that can be no further from the truth.

If you look at Ephesians 4-6, you clearly learn that this is a practical response to the first three chapters Paul has just given on the believer’s identity in Christ.

When we received Christ as Savior we became citizens of His kingdom and members of His family. Along with those blessings and privileges we also received obligations. The Lord expects us to act like the new persons we have become in Jesus Christ.

He expects His standards to become our standards, His purposes our purposes, His desires our desires, His nature our nature. The Christian life is simply the process of becoming what you are.

When we are told to “walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called” (Eph.4:1), that is a call to action and responsibility.

That is seen in the next verse when he shows the Ephesians how they are to walk.

He says, “with all humility and gentleness, with patience, showing tolerance for one another in love, being diligent to preserve the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace” (vv.2-3).

We must face the fact that we have a personal responsibility for our walk of holiness.

The third problem is:

We Do Not Take Some Sin Seriously

We have mentally categorized sins into that which is unacceptable and that which may be tolerated a bit.

In commenting on some of the more minute Old Testament dietary laws God gave to the children of Israel, Andrew Bonar said, “It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the Lawgiver, that is to be the standard of obedience....Some, indeed, might reckon such minute and arbitrary rules as these as trifling. But the principle involved in obedience or disobedience was none other than the same principle which was tried in Eden at the foot of the forbidden tree. It is really this: Is the Lord to be obeyed in all things whatsoever He commands? Is He a holy Lawgiver? Are His creatures bound to give implicit assent to His will?”

Are we willing to call sin “sin” not because it is big or little, but because God’s law forbids it?

We cannot categorize sin if we are to live a life of holiness. God will not let us get away with that kind of attitude.


As you think about your responsibility towards sin and your pursuit of being holy, do you see yourself in any of these problems we just mentioned?

Is your attitude toward sin more self-centered or is it God-centered?

What about your effort at killing sin?

Does living by faith involve no effort at holiness on your part?

And last, do you take all sin seriously?

Not just some but all?

Song of Solomon 2:15 (KJV) says it is “the little foxes that spoil the vines.”

It is compromise on the little issues that leads to greater downfalls.

Before you can pursue holiness in your life, you have to be made holy and that is only possible by surrendering your life to Jesus Christ.

When you repent of your sin and turn to Him, He forgives you and gives you His Spirit. It is at that point you’re made positionally holy before God.

If you haven’t repented and embraced Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I beg you to do so right now.


What did you think when Pastor Steve said our pursuit of holiness is a joint venture with God?

Have you ever seen yourself as not responsible for your holiness? If no, why?

What are you doing to pursue holiness in your life?

What kind of response did you have the last time someone was arrogant, impatient, and demanding toward you?

Have you had your “quiet time” interrupted by an argument with your spouse or kids? If yes, what did you do afterwards?

Do you see your attitude toward sin as being self-centered or God-centered?

Do you feel there are some sins you don’t take as seriously as others? If yes, what can you do to change your attitude toward this?

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Monday, March 07, 2011

Heidelberg Catechism 11 - 20

Q. 11. Is not God then also merciful?

A. God is indeed merciful, (a) but also just; (b)? therefore his justice requires, that sin which is committed against the most high majesty of God, be also punished with extreme, that is, with everlasting punishment of body and soul.

(a) Exod 34:6,7; Exod 20:6
(b) Ps 7:9; Exod 20:5; Exod 23:7; Exod 34:7; Ps 5:5,6; Nah 1:2,3

Q. 12. Since then, by the righteous judgment of God, we deserve temporal and eternal punishment, is there no way by which we may escape that punishment, and be again received into favor?

A. God will have his justice satisfied: (a) and therefore we must make this full satisfaction, either by ourselves, or by another. (b)

(a) Gen 2:17; Exod 20:5; Exod 23:7; Ezek 18:4; Matt 5:26; 2 Thess 1:6; Luke 16:2
(b) Rom 8:3,4

Q. 13. Can we ourselves then make this satisfaction?

A. By no means; but on the contrary we daily increase our debt. (a)

(a) Job 9:2,3; Job 15:15,16; Job 4:18,19; Ps 130:3; Matt 6:12; Matt 18:25; Matt 16:26

Q. 14. Can there be found anywhere, one, who is a mere creature, able to satisfy for us?

A. None; for, first, God will not punish any other creature for the sin which man has committed; (a) and further, no mere creature can sustain the burden of God's eternal wrath against sin, so as to deliver others from it. (b)

(a) Ezek 18:4; Gen 3:17; Heb 2:14-17
(b) Nah 1:6; Ps 130:3

Q. 15. What sort of a mediator and deliverer then must we seek for?

A. For one who is very man, and perfectly (a) righteous; (b) and yet more powerful than all creatures; that is, one who is also very God. (c)

(a) 1 Cor 15:21; Jer 33:16; Isa 53:9; 2 Cor 5:21
(b) Heb 7:16,26
(c) Isa 7:14; Isa 9:6; Rom 9:5; Jer 23:5,6; Luke 11:22

Q. 16. Why must he be very man, and also perfectly righteous?

A. Because the justice of God requires that the same human nature which has sinned, should likewise make satisfaction for sin; (a) and one, who is himself a sinner, cannot satisfy for others. (b)

(a) Ezek 18:4,20; Rom 5:12,15,18; 1 Cor 15:21; Heb 2:14-16; 1 Pet 3:18; Isa 53:3-5,10,11
(b) Heb 7:26,27; Ps 49:7,8; 1 Pet 3:18

Q. 17. Why must he in one person be also very God?

A. That he might, by the power of his Godhead (a) sustain in his human nature, (b) the burden of God's wrath; (c) and might obtain for, and restore to us, righteousness and life. (d)

(a) Isa 9:6; Isa 63:3
(b) Isa 53:4,11
(c) Deut 4:24; Nah 1:6; Ps 130:3
(d) Isa 53:5,11; Acts 2:24; 1 Pet 3:18; John 3:16; Acts 20:28; John 1:4

Q. 18. Who then is that Mediator, who is in one person both very God, (a) and a (b) righteous man? (c)

A. Our Lord Jesus Christ: (d) "who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption." (e)

(a) 1 John 5:20; Rom 9:5; Rom 8:3; Gal 4:4; Isa 9:6; Jer 23:6; Mal 3:1
(b) Luke 1:42; Luke 2:6,7; Rom 1:3; Rom 9:5; Phil 2:7; Heb 2:14,16,17; Heb 4:15
(c) Isa 53:9,11; Jer 23:5; Luke 1:35; John 8:46; Heb 4:15; Heb 7:26; 1 Pet 1:19; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 Pet 3:18
(d) 1 Tim 2:5; Heb 2:9; Matt 1:23; 1 Tim 3:16; Luke 2:11
(e) 1 Cor 1:30

Q. 19. Whence knowest thou this?

A. From the holy gospel, which God himself first revealed in Paradise; (a) and afterwards published by the patriarchs (b) and prophets, (c) and represented by the sacrifices and other ceremonies of the law; (d) and lastly, has fulfilled it by his only begotten Son. (e)

(a) Gen 3:15
(b) Gen 22:18; Gen 12:3; Gen 49:10,11
(c) Isa 53; Isa 42:1-4; Isa 43:25; Isa 49:5,6,22,23; Jer 23:5,6; Jer 31:32,33; Jer 32:39-41; Mic 7:18-20; Acts 10:43; Rom 1:2; Heb 1:1; Acts 3:22-24; Acts 10:43; John 5:46
(d) Heb 10:1,7; Col 2:7; John 5:46
(e) Rom 10:4; Gal 4:4,5; Gal 3:24; Col 2:17

Q. 20. Are all men then, as they perished in Adam, saved by Christ?

A. No; (a) only those who are ingrafted into him, and, receive all his benefits, by a true faith. (b)

(a) Matt 7:14; Matt 22:14
(b) Mark 16:16; John 1:12; John 3:16,18,36; Isa 53:11; Ps 2:12; Rom 11:17,19,20; Rom 3:22; Heb 4:2,3; Heb 5:9; Heb 10:39; Heb 11:6

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Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Heidelberg Catechism 9

Q. 9. Does not God then do injustice to man, by requiring from him in his law, that which he cannot perform?

A. Not at all; (a) for God made man capable of performing it; but man, by the instigation of the devil, (b) and his own wilful disobedience, (c) deprived himself and all his posterity of those divine gifts.

(a) Eph 4:24; Eccl 7:29

(b) John 8:44; 2 Cor 11:3; Gen 3:4

(c) Gen 3:6; Rom 5:12; Gen 3:13; 1 Tim 2:13,14

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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Heidelberg Catechism 7-8

Q. 7. Whence then proceeds this depravity of human nature?

A. From the fall and disobedience of our first parents, Adam and Eve, in Paradise; (a) hence our nature is become so corrupt, that we are all conceived and born in sin. (b)

(a) Gen 3; Rom 5:12,18,19

(b) Ps 51:5; Gen 5:3

Q. 8. Are we then so corrupt that we are wholly incapable of doing any good, and inclined to all wickedness?

A. Indeed we are; (a) except we are regenerated by the Spirit of God. (b)

(a) Gen 8:21; John 3:6; Gen 6:5; Job 14:4; Job 15:14,16,36; Isa 53:6

(b) John 3:3,5; 1 Cor 12:3; 2 Cor 3:5

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Heidelberg Catechism 5-6

Q. 5. Canst thou keep all these things perfectly?

A. In no wise; (a) for I am prone by nature to hate God and my neighbor. (b)

(a) Rom 3:10,20,23; 1 John 1:8,10

(b) Rom 8:7; Eph 2:3; Titus 3:3; Gen 6:5; Gen 8:21; Jer 17:9; Rom 7:23

Q. 6. Did God then create man so wicked and perverse?

A. By no means; but God created man good, (a) and after his own image, (b) in true righteousness and holiness, that he might rightly know God his Creator, heartily love him and live with him in eternal happiness to glorify and praise him. (c)

(a) Gen.1:31

(b) Gen.1:26-27

(c) Col.3:9-10; Eph.4:23-24; 2 Cor.3:18

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