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The word “teetotaler” means someone who abstains completely from alcoholic beverages.  The Bible calls on Christians to be teetotalers. Continue reading » Teetotalers

God’s Attitude Toward Sin

“Behold, the Lord’s hand is not shortened, That it cannot save; Nor His ear heavy, That it cannot hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear” (Isaiah 59:1-2).

It has been established that God is holy, and demands holiness from those who would belong to Him.  God demands and rightfully expects obedience from man because he is God, “Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them:  I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:37).

Men today are involved in all types of sin.  This is no different from times past, but it seems men are terribly wicked in our time.  Especially in America, men seem to have a skewed set of values, which lead them to ungodly actions. “Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! Woe to those who are wise in their own eyes, And prudent in their own sight!” (Isaiah 5:20-21).

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Holiness as Defined by Christ

In the Old Testament, the concept of sanctification and holiness was broad.  It included not only living in accord with God’s standard of morality, but, for the Jews, it also included the ritualistic requirements of the covenant He had with Israel.

The book of Leviticus contains many laws required of the Israelites that they might be undefiled before Jehovah.  It was necessary that they observe these laws, both moral and ceremonial, in order to be considered clean and worthy of worshipping Him.  Concerning these laws, Jehovah said, “Therefore you shall observe all My statutes and all My judgments, and perform them:  I am the Lord” (Leviticus 19:37).

The holiness of God demanded obedience on the part of the Jews.  They were to be holy in their conduct, because God was holy. “For I am the Lord you God.  You shall therefore consecrate yourselves, and you shall be holy; for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:44).  It is interesting that in this particular context, the Lord had commanded the Jews to refrain from eating unclean animals.  Later, this aspect of God’s law changed.

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Sanctify God in Your Heart

“But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give a defense to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear” (1 Peter 3:15).

Peter’s text expresses the fundamental nature of discipleship.  The term sanctify (hagiazo) is defined by Arndt and Gingrich as “treat as holy, reverence.” Thayer states “to render or acknowledge to be venerable, to hallow.” The Lord God is to be enthroned in our heart.  Such veneration is logical, as He is Lord.  A failure to reverence Him is a failure in discipleship.

The text is very similar to a passage found in the book of Isaiah.  The King James version renders Isaiah 8:13, “Sanctify the LORD of hosts himself; and let him be your fear, and let him be your dread.” A contrast is here made between men and God.  God is the one to be feared.  He is the one we are to concern ourselves with, rather than men.  The Christian ought never to make decisions based upon what men think.  Rather, our sole concern should be to please God.  Jesus said, “And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).

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The Holiness of God

In 1 Peter 1:13-16, the apostle Peter wrote:

“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; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.”

Here Peter revealed the basis of the appeal made to holy living on the part of those who name Christ as their savior.  We are to be holy because God is Holy.  It is not an arbitrary requirement, nor is it capricious.  Further, holiness is to be defined by the nature of God rather than the customs of men.  Finally, holiness should be present in every aspect of the Christian’s conduct.

Because the call to holiness is so important, God’s children should have a clear idea of what is required of them.  In our time the call is muted and distorted by the static of worldliness.  Too often Christians either ignore or are unaware of the standard God has set for his people.   They compromise the mark God has set, and are guilty of embracing a morality that has its genesis in the mind of man rather than the mind of the Creator.  Let’s examine the basis of God’s call to his children to be Holy.

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God’s Holiness and Our Sanctification

Authors Note: The following outline was inspired by a lecture by Marty Pickup during the 1996 Florida Lectures. Much of the material in the first part of the outline is derived in part from a review of that lecture. The applications at the end of the lesson are my own. I believe that an application of the fundamental principle of Sanctification would go a long way toward solving the moral and doctrinal problems that presently trouble the people of God. It is to a very great extent a failure to recognize and heed the call to holiness which is the cause for the present troubles. As such, I believe the following study to be important and timely. Continue reading » God’s Holiness and Our Sanctification