By Clovis E. Miller
We, as Christians, are commanded to be holy, for He says, "...be ye holy, for I am holy." (I Pet. 1:16). Again, Scripture states that without holiness, "...no one shall see the Lord." (Heb. 12:14). This is also what the Lord was speaking of when He said, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Holiness is not an option for Christians, it's a requirement.
So what exactly is this holiness which the Lord commands us to possess? One thing which it is not; is a platter of good works which we have done and would like to present to Him; although the holiness He calls us to, will produce such works. The good works themselves are not the measure of this holiness.
The holiness to which the Lord calls us, is an attitude. It's an attitude which we must willfully and unconditionally embrace.
It's an attitude which says, " I will love, and do, that which good and right, and I will hate, and shun, that which is evil and wrong."
Job was a perfect example of one who posessed this type of attitude, for it was written of him, " Then the Lord said to Satan, 'Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?" (Job 1:8)
Given the constant struggle we all have with sin, is it possible for us to walk daily in our lives with this attitude of holiness? If the Lord requires something of us, He will also make provision for that requirement to be achieved.
The provision which He has made for us is, to send the Holy Spirit into our lives. If we are willing to open our hearts and invite Him to come in, then the power will be there to bring about the changes necessary, for us to be the vessels of holiness which the Lord has called us to be.
Just as we can have a personal relationship with God the Father, to whom we pray; and with the Lord Jesus, by whom we are saved: we can also have a personal relationship with the Holy Spirit, through whom we can receive the holiness which God commands to have.
As the Lord Jesus is the author and finisher of our faith; the Holy Spirit is, likewise, the author and finisher of our holiness. For without faith it is impossible to please God; and without holiness no one shall see Him. These two go hand in hand, and we cannot be complete in the Lord without both working in our lives.
We cannot, of ourselves, produce the kind of holiness which is acceptable to God. In a life that is filled with so many pitfalls and challenges, even the best of us sometimes wander astray from the faith we profess. So we need to continuously rely upon the Holy Spirit to direct us to the correct path, upon which we should walk.
Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit imputes, or transfers, God's holiness to us. This can be achieved only when we submit ourselves to His leadership. The Scriptures so state, "For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are the sons of God." (Rom.8:14).
When we invite the Holy Spirit to come into our hearts, let us invite Him, not as a guest; but as One to whom we are willing to yeild control of our hearts and lives.
In my own personal experience, I have asked the Holy Spirit to come into my heart and continuosly make me aware of my need for holiness. Because I understand that the Lord commands me to be holy, I asked Him to monitor and correct me in my walk in this life, that the holiness of God may be imputed to me.
The sum total of my problems can be grouped into three areas: my thinking, my speaking and my actions; so I asked the Holy Spirit to monitor and guide me in each of these areas. Having done that, I have found, with increasing frequency, that when I begin to dwell on something and think the wrong way, the Holy Spirit is quick to speak to my spirit saying, "Don't think that". Then too, when I begin to murmur to myself about something; or start to say something which is not right, He again quickens me with, "Don't say that". The same happens when I impulsively start to do something which is not right. He again injects into my thinking, "Don't do that". Paying heed to these nine simple words, effectively stops me in my tracks, and pull my attention back to the Lord.
I thank the Holy Spirit for this, because I know it is necessary for every thought, word and action to be brought into submission to the will of God. The process of ceasing to think wrong, speak wrong and do wrong, deals with the hating and shunning of aspects of holiness. The other half of that is, loving and doing what is good and right. While the conscience which God has given to each of us will generally point us to do what is right, the specifics of what that guidance is based on, are to be found only in the Word of God.
If we commit ourselves to walking in the holiness which God call us to, then studying the Word of God should be at the top of our list, because in it is written everything we need to know about this issue.
As we read the Scriptures, let us be mindful to apply what we have learned to our daily lives, that we may fulfill the mission which God has, not only for each us, but for the Church as a whole.