Saturday, May 28, 2011

Holiness Misunderstood

Heb 12:14

[B.T. Roberts updated]

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

“Strive” carries the image of hunting [Robertson’s Word Pictures]

“See the Lord” is a Hebraism (idiom) that means to “enjoy God.” [Clarke]

***** If this is so... then this verse is NOT a warning about not making heaven. *****

[Barnes:] Instead of yielding to contending passions and to a spirit of war; instead of seeking revenge on your persecutors and foes, make it rather your aim to be holy. Let that be the object of your pursuit; the great purpose of your life... Heaven and earth will pass away, but God will not admit one unrepenting and unpardoned sinner to heaven.”

[John Wesley:] “The NOT following after all holiness, is the direct way to fall into sin of every kind.”

[Vincent:] Sanctification... is used in the New Testament both of a process - the inauguration and maintenance of the life of fellowship with God, and of the resultant state of sanctification.... it appears that sanctification contemplates a further result (everlasting life), it is perhaps better to understand it as the process. Yield your members to righteousness in order to carry on the progressive work of sanctification, perfecting holiness.”

A. What are we to learn?

1. Holiness is important: We are commanded to pursue it (Hebrews 12:14)

2. We need a correct idea of the nature of holiness.

a. “If we would hit the mark we must know where to aim.” [B.T. Roberts]

b. FACT: there is a wide diversity of opinions... (confusion)

1.) The imperfection of language.

2.) The mind set (theology) of the individual.

3.) Holiness is NOT something that can be seen, measured, or weighed. So it is missed. (e.g. Job was “perfect and upright” yet his friends tried to convince him he was wicked in some way.)

3. Jesus was holy but this was mistaken for something else.


a. Love for all (interpreted as disrespect for the religious elite and the financially privileged)

b. Friend of sinners (interpreted as a glutton and drunkard)

“Holiness in the disciples of Christ has been recognized by but few, even of those who call themselves Christians.” [B.T. Roberts]

“Christ was put to death as an impostor.” [B.T. Roberts]

4. Errors:

a. Essentials to holiness are purposely omitted in instructions about holiness.

1.) Popular sins are silently tolerated. (Those that do not are accused of breaking the unity and harmony of the church.)

(Ill. The toleration of slavery, etc...)

2.) RESULT: “holiness is not recognized when seen” [B.T. Roberts]

(Stubborn, disloyal, heresy, are common charges.)

b. Make holiness entirely beyond the reach of a human being in our present condition.

1.) Imaginary standards... “sinless perfection” meaning “flawlessness” (e.g. “a holy person cannot make a mistake in judgment, either through ignorance or [a mistaken belief]. B.T. Roberts)

2.) Measuring others by our understanding (perspective).

3.) Measuring others by our weakness (infallibility). [“projection”]

4.) Making no allowance for lack of judgment or imperfect training.

5.) Thinking that a holy person is beyond the reach of unfriendly criticism.

6.) “Perfect” means flawless... NEVER sinning again. (Falling or failing means the person was deceived or hypocritical.)

7.) Using the moral perfections of God as our standard. (Either claiming them or failing them.)

The failure of one who claimed “holiness” is seen as “proof” of the non-existence of holiness for anyone.


Imaginary standard... nobody achieves is a convenient “straw man” for those who fight against holiness.

B. So what is holiness?

[From A.B. Simpson]

Using the imagery of the temple:

1. Dedicated to God. (consecration, purification)

“Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, [20] for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” [1 Corinthians 6:19 – 20]

***** “Consecration” can be lost by being thoughtless. Then we wonder why we struggle when we are not paying attention. *****

2. Separate from the world. (Holy vs Common)

“What agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; as God said, "I will make my dwelling among them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. [17] Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you.” [2 Corinthians 6:16 – 17]

3. Used by God.

“In whom [Jesus Christ] the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. [22] In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit.” [Ephesians 2:21]

“The one who conquers, I will make him a pillar in the temple of my God.” [Revelation 3:12]

Maybe another way to understand the idea of holiness is expressed in a song that says:

“When it’s time to say goodbye, there’s nothing to prove, nothing to lose, nothing to hide.”

Who is Jesus?

Hebrews 1

Who is Jesus?

[1] Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, [2] but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world. [3] He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, [4] having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.

1. It seems that many people today do not who Jesus is. As a result, we have a lot of confusion about spiritual things and spiritual beings.

a. Think that Jesus is another human: cannot accept His death on the cross as a means of our salvation.

b. Think that Jesus is a created being (like an “angel”): eliminates the need to acknowledge our original and personal sin. (Jesus is merely a ministering spirit” sent to help us INSTEAD of save us.)

c. Most recreantly is the belief that beings from a pre-Adamite world terrorize our present world has been revived. This denies that Jesus is God. (Jesus as creator and sustainer of this world means evil from another world is allowed to interfere here and now.)

d. Some think that Jesus became divine (“a god” of some sorts). This sets up a multiple “god” concept and raises the possibility that humans can ascend into becoming deity. (It’s an idea used in science fiction as well as cults.)

2. The “Trinity” and Jesus as explained in Hebrews 1:1 – 3.

a. God (the Father) has spoken in different ways at different times BUT NOW speaks through Jesus (the Son).

1.) Speaking is part of “being.” Humans can communicate complex ideas through speech. It is unique to the created order. It is one of the things that show the reflection of the image of God. The power to speak and name shows dominion over the created order.

“Now out of the ground the LORD God had formed every beast of the field and every bird of the heavens and brought them to the man to see what he would call them. And whatever the man called every living creature, that was its name.” [Genesis 2:19]

2.) Speaking is part of the individual.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” [John 1:1]

***** In the Roman/Greek world, the word was considered the “soul” by the Stoics (dominate philosophy/culture). In the Jewish world it was considered the manifestation of God. [Robertson]*****

3.) Words are used to define the heart.

“The fool says in his heart, "There is no God." They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds, there is none who does good.” {Psalm 14:1]

“Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart.” [Luke 6:45 CEV]

b. God (the Father) has given Jesus rights and privileges that belong only to God the Father.

1.) PAST: Jesus is credited with the act of creation… (“…through whom also he created the world.” [v2]

2.) FUTURE: Jesus is “heir of all things” (Thus the title of Son)

***** Ancient world the heir had all the authority and ability to conduct business of the Father. *****

All things have been handed over to me by my Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” [Matthew 11:27]

“And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” [Matthew 28:18]

***** PARADOX ALERT: It is important to understand that “Father” and “Son” are designations to help us grasp something about God that is not possible for us to understand in the closest possible human expressions. We cannot transfer the idea totally. *****

c. Other attributes of God described as/in Jesus: [v 3]

1.) Jesus is the radiance of the glory of God.

(Ill. The light of the sun are what we see and know there is a sun that this world revolves around. Jesus is that visible expression of God the Father.)

2.) Jesus is the exact imprint of His (the Father’s) nature.

***** The word “imprint” was an engravers tool. It could also be a die that was used to stamp an impression on something. *****

***** The word “nature” is the word we get the English “character” from. In other words, Jesus is the expression of the character of God the Father. *****

***** Could be translated: “the very image of His substance.” CEV: “is like Him in every way.”*****

“Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and you still do not know me, Philip? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, 'Show us the Father'?” [John 14:9]

3.) Jesus “upholds the universe.”

Creator and sustainer of the universe…

“For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. [17] And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.” [Colossians 1:16 – 17]

4.) Jesus made “purification for sins” and “sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high.”

***** After Jesus completed His work (providing the purging of our sins), He resumed His rightful position at the right hand of the Father. *****

Please notice Jesus was NOT an avatar of God the Father BECAUSE Jesus is God in every way.

3. What does this mean for us today?

a. If you want to know God the Father, know Jesus (God the Son) BECAUSE Jesus is the ONLY visible representation (or revelation) of God the Father.

b. If you need forgiveness of sin or salvation you will find it in Jesus BECAUSE Jesus has the authority of God the Father.

c. If you need help in any way you HiHHHHHHHkjfadklsjfkl;asjklfjakflook to Jesus while depending on God the Father for that help.

Friday, May 06, 2011

Holiness Teachings (Introduction complete) (p.m.)

Holiness Teachings (Introduction complete)

B.T. Roberts re-examined.

Basis:

The words “sanctification” and “holiness,” in the Bible, mean the same thing.

1. Holiness implies victory of outward sin.

a. It is dependent on the state of justification.

b. A person who is holy does not commit sin.

Rom 6:14 “For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.”

c. Implies grace has dominion in our lives.... In the struggle between sin and grace: grace wins!

1 Jn 3:9 “No one born of God makes a practice of sinning, for God's seed abides in him, and he cannot keep on sinning because he has been born of God.”

d. If you imagine you are holy but do what God’s forbids OR neglects to do what God commands... you are deceived!

“His so-called faith is fatal presumption.”

2. Holiness is a state of being the prompts good works.

a. This state is the condition of the soul which prompts us to perform good actions.

b. It is the imitation of Jesus.

1 Peter 1:14 – 16 “As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, [15] but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, [16] since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

c. Notice this does not say to DO holy things, but BE holy.

1 Thes. 3:13 “So that he may establish your hearts blameless in holiness before our God and Father, at the coming of our Lord Jesus with all his saints.”

d. When the HEART that is established; then the habits will be right.


3. Holiness implies deliverance from all wrong dispositions, tempers, and desires.

a. Deliverance from indulgence in the right in an unlawful manner or to an inordinate degree.

b. Sinful dispositions: anger, pride, and covetousness.

c. Wrong tempers: what is not delivered, yielded to God.

“In a holy person all his powers of body and mind are brought into harmony with the will of God.”

1 Thes. 5:23 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

(Peace is the surest sign of sanctification.)

1.) The body is so far sanctified as to be blameless. (Free from “the cravings for indulgences which were fast hastening him on to destruction.”)

2.) The affections, passions, desires, and propensities are so subdued that they are the occasion of good, and not harm.

3.) The intellect, the judgement, the will, and the imagination are made pure and holy in all things.

2 Cor. 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”

d. Holiness is opposed to all defilement (KJV “filthiness”)

4. Holiness is distinct from justification and subsequent to it.

a. When one is converted (justified) he is far from made holy (doesn’t have victory over sin... immediately).

1 Cor. 3:1 “But I, brothers, could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ.”

(It is natural to grow up. Remaining an infant us unnatural.)

b. It is possible to be “brothers” and “infants in Christ.” Justified... not sinners or backsliders... The were “carnal” but not holy.


c. Carnal in the Corinthian church: divisions, open sin, disorder in worship, inappropriate misuse of the Lord’s Supper.

1 Thes. 5:23 “Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

d. The language implies the Thessalonians were sanctified in part. Yet they were still exemplarily: 1 Thes. 1:7 “So that you became an example to all the believers in Macedonia and in Achaia.”

BOTH churches needed God to do a further work... to sanctify them wholly.

Heb. 6:1a “Therefore let us leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity...” (KJV “perfection” also with the idea of “completeness.”)

e. It is possible to live as justified believers yet still be lacking in our Christian walk.

5. Holiness is necessary:

a. ... to qualify us for Heaven.

Heb. 12:14 “Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”

b. ... for present happiness.

1.) Pleasure is not happiness. People seek after pleasure because they are unhappy.

2.) Pleasures of this world are short-lived and unsatisfactory.

1 Peter 1:8 “Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory.”

(Not only is peace a sure sign of holiness, so is joy.)

c. ... for usefulness. “Holiness is power.”

Psalm 51:10 – 13 “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.

[11] Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.

12] Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.

[13] Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.”

6. Holiness is attainable BECAUSE:

a. God commands it! (God never commands that which is impossible.)

1 Peter 1:15 4 – 16 “...as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.

b. It’s God’s work!

Ezekiel 36:25 – 27 I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. [26] And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. [27] And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules.”

1.) God will cleanse, not from some, but from all idols and all filthiness.

2.) God will remove the heart of stone (unresponsive) and give a new heart of flesh (living).

3.) God will cause us to walk in His ways. (Holy Spirit = obedience)

7. How holiness is attained:

Question: If it is the power of God that we are sanctified, then why are we (professing Christians) not all holy?

Answer: Because they do not meet the conditions.

a. Give yourself fully to God.

1.) Everything: time, talent, property, reputation, influence, life.

Romans 12:1 “I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.”

2.) The body implies all and the living sacrifice is a constant perpetual one.

b. Confess all sin actual or inbred.

1 John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”


c. Faith in Jesus our Sanctifier.

Jesus to Paul: Act 26:18 “to open [the Gentile’s] eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.”

1.) CAUTION: “Beware that your so-called faith is not presumption.”

2.) Faith is the medium through which sanctification is received.

Question: Do you live in this state of grace?

***** If yes, thank God, and press forward.

***** If no, make no delay to obtain it.

Not justified? Have the courage and honesty to confess your condition.

Backslidden state? Seek for holiness by giving yourself up without the least reserve to obey the Lord in everything.

1 Cor. 2:12 – 14 “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. [13] And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. [14] The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.”