B – BE YE HOLY – 2
God is neither a museum piece nor a magician that comes at our every beck and call. In the book, “Narnia,” by C. S. Lewis a little girl is in dire need of water. She comes to a clear stream from which she could get water but beside the stream is a lion. She asks the lion to leave so she can drink. He won’t. She asks him if he will hurt her. He doesn’t promise. Does he eat little girls? Yes. The girl tells him that she is too afraid to drink. The lion tells her if she doesn’t have water, she will die. Then the girl makes the statement that she will go find another stream. The lion tells her, “There is no other stream.” This is where we are. In the book the lion represents Christ. Jhn. 6:68 Many of the disciples had left Christ. He asked the apostles if they, too, would go away. Peter had the right answer. There may be times we don’t understand what is happening to us. We, too, could go away; but the question remains, “Where would we go?” There is no other stream.
In the last lesson we noted that there is an innate desire for a higher being. Remember all of the gods that the Athenians had; but Paul told them of the one true God. Acts 17:23,24 God first loved us. He made us in His image and gave us this innate desire.
1 Jhn.4:19; Jhn. 6:44 We have the capacity to know God and yet because of our sins, we fail. We may have knowledge about God but lack the experience of full trust in completely handing our lives over to Him. We need to know God as we know our best friend for that is what He is.
God is real—not just some floating thing out there. A. W. Tozer in his book, “The Pursuit of God,” says: “In the deep of His mighty nature He thinks, wills, enjoys, feels, loves, desires, and suffers as any person may. In making Himself known to us, He stays by the familiar pattern of personality. He communicates with us through the avenues of our minds, our wills, and our emotions. The continuous and unembarrassed interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of New Testament religion.” This is the reason He came to earth as a man—that He might feel and experience what we feel and experience and so to save us. Phil. 2:7
Paul was willing to give up everything to gain Christ. Phil. 3:8 Paul wanted to really know Christ. Phil. 3:10 We don’t really understand the giving up. There are so many things that we want. God doesn’t expect us to give up our homes and become homeless. But Jesus was. Lk. 9:58 We are not expected to own nothing. The question becomes how and why do we have the things we have or want. Is it to serve our God in a better way? Is it to share and be a glory to Him? Or is it to satisfy an earthly desire. Maybe it is to keep up with a friend or neighbor. How content can we be? Lk. 12:15 Holiness doesn’t require possessions. 1 Tim. 6:6 Godliness is connected to holiness and so being content is to accompany godliness and thus holiness as well.
2 Thess 2:13-15
(3.) The means in order to obtaining this end - sanctification of the spirit and belief of the truth. The decree of election therefore connects the end and the means, and these must not be separated. We are not the elected of God because we were holy, but that we might be holy. Being chosen of God, we must not live as we list; but, if we are chosen to salvation as the end, we must be prepared for it by sanctification as the necessary means to obtain that end, which sanctification is by the operation of the Holy Spirit as the author and by faith on our part. There must be the belief of the truth, without which there can be no true sanctification, nor perseverance in grace, nor obtaining of salvation. Faith and holiness must be joined together.. (from Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible: New Modern Edition, Electronic Database. Copyright © 1991 by Hendrickson Publishers, Inc.)
We cannot be sanctified (that is, set apart for God) without being justified. This is the process whereby we as sinners are made acceptable to a holy God. In the O.T. God elected the Israelites as the bloodline through which He would bring His Son. Now that line has been erased. Gal. 3:24,25;
2:14 Now all can be elected through faith in Christ. Gal. 3:26,27 This is the process of justification or being made right with God. Gal. 3:28,29 To set our lives aside for God without being made right with Him would be much like a driver with a car, ability to drive, and the willingness to transport people to church—but he didn’t have a license. He didn’t have the proper tools to carry out his plan. Col. 2:11; 2 Pet. 3:9 God does not elect any specific person to perish; however, we must follow God’s Word to be made right or to be justified to God. Rom.
God set up a plan from the beginning. Where there is belief of the Truth, then we can be sanctified or set apart from the world by our striving to follow Christ in obtaining salvation through Him by His grace. We don’t deserve it. We prove our love for Him in following His commands. Nelson dictionary puts it this way: The order of events in justification is grace, faith, and works; or, in other words, by grace, through faith, resulting in works. Eph. 2:8-10 This is why study of God’s Word is so important rather than taking just one verse or just reading the Bible without studying how it all goes together.
1 Cor. 1:8,9 Christ will pronounce us blameless but only through Him. Then we can be called into fellowship with Christ. Sanctification begins when a person is justified or converted to Christ and continues throughout all of his life. This is the process of being set apart from the common or from the world. We are sanctified by God. Jude 1 We are also sanctified by the Son. Heb. 2:11 The Holy Spirit also has a part. 2 Thess. 2:13,14
We, as Christians (the justified), have a great responsibility in the process of sanctification. We are commanded to be holy. 1 Pet. 1:15,16 We are also commanded to be perfect. Matt. 5:48 Paul explains that as once we were slaves to sin, now we are slaves of righteousness that results in holiness or sanctification.
6:19 Paul told the Thessalonians that we need to control our bodies in sanctification. 1 Thess. 4:2,4 We are also told to put to death the evil deeds of the body through the Holy Spirit. Rom. 8:13 In this way we are set apart for God. Rom.
Hopefully, we understand the meaning and importance of “Be ye holy.” Our further studies will help us know how to attain this holiness throughout our lives.