“Strive for peace with all men, and for holiness without which no one will see God.” Heb. 12:14Holiness is not a popular subject in America. And that is tragic especially because striving for holiness is essential to prayer. David said, “If I regard sin in my heart the Lord will not hear my prayer.” (Psalm 66:18)
We are so little acquainted with the concept of holiness that we hardly know how to define it. In fact I find it easier to say what is unholy than to tell people what holiness specifically is. Because this is such an important subject, I want to take three blog entries to discuss a little of what the Bible says about holiness. I am aware that this is a difficult subject to deal with in these days. And I want to encourage you to respond to what I have written. I welcome serious discussion on this issue.
HOLINESS IS ULTIMATE RIGHTEOUSNESS.
We try very hard not to be legalists. And we are not saved by trying to keep the law. But do we miss the importance of righteousness? In Matthew 5, the beginning of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, Jesus told us He had not come to destroy the law but to fulfill it. And He points out how the prevailing interpretation of the law was not strict enough. You have heard, “Do not murder.” I say you will be judged as a murderer if you hate. You have heard “Don’t commit adultery.” I tell you that lust is the same sin.” And how do we explain to people what Jesus taught about divorce? We treat sin lightly, but Jesus is serious about sin. Are we no longer teaching people that everything is best when we are right with God?