HOLY, HOLY, HOLY IS THE LORD ALMIGHTY

God is loving, but He is not only loving. Isaiah says, “I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted…. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings…. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty Isaiah 6:1–3 Notice that the angels before his face day and night do not cry, “Love, Love, Love is the LORD Almighty.”

Lest we believe that God’s love in the New Testament eclipses His holiness in the Old Testament, the final book of the Bible reveals the present and future in a picture similar to Isaiah’s vision: “Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Revelation 4:8

God did not cease to be uncompromisingly holy when Jesus came into the world. God’s eternal character does not change (see Malachi 3:6; James 1:17). That means the following Old Testament declarations remain just as true now as when they first appeared in Scripture:

“Who is like you – majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders?Exodus 15:11

Who can stand in the presence of the LORD, this holy God?1 Samuel 6:20

Your ways, O God, are holy.” Psalm 77:13

Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his footstool; He is holy…. You were to Israel a forgiving God, though you punished their misdeeds. Exalt the LORD our God and worship at his holy mountain, for the LORD our God is holy.” Psalm 99:5, 8–9

Of course, holiness is not God’s only other attribute, which makes it all the more important that we refuse to reduce Him only to love. But we can distinguish holiness from love, so it serves as a good example. Notice how Joshua appealed to God’s holiness, not His love:

You are not able to serve the LORD. He is a holy God; he is a jealous God. He will not forgive your rebellion and your sins. If you forsake the LORD and serve foreign gods, He will turn and bring disaster on you and make an end of you, after He has been good to you.Joshua 24:19–20

To demons, God’s defining characteristic is His holiness. A demon said to Jesus, “What do you want with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are—the Holy One of God!Mark 1:24

Only one attribute of God forms part of the name of a member of God’s triune person—not the Loving Spirit, but the Holy Spirit. The angel announcing Messiah’s incarnation referred to all three members of the Trinity. Note the prominence of God’s holiness and power:

The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of GodLuke 1:35

When Paul alludes to two godlike qualities, the Lord’s righteousness and holiness come to his mind:

“Put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness Ephesians 4:24

It is imperative we remember that God cares as much that we share in His holiness as in His love:

God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness…. Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the LordHebrews 12:10, 14

Biblical prophecy reveals that persecution of Christians will escalate as we get closer to Jesus return. We are already seeing intense persecution of Christians. Apostasy is one of the major “end times” signs and we see that occuring at a rapid rate as much of the institutional church compromises with the world’s values that are contrary to God’s Word: gay marriage and homosexual pastors are just two that standout.

Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and put you to death, and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake. And then many will fall away and betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will arise and lead many astray. And because lawlessness will be increased, the love of many will grow cold. But the one who endures to the end will be saved. And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come.” Matthew 24:9-14

Make sure you are one of those that proclaims the Gospel until the end, whatever that might be, knowing that He will be with you no matter what.

Extracted from an article by Randy Alcorn “God Is as Just and Holy as He Is Loving” on http://www.patheos.com November 21, 2022.

REPENTANCE AND HOLINESS

Scripture is clear: “As He who called you is holy, you also must be holy in all your conduct” 1 Peter 1:15

From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Matthew 4:17

Look what A.W.Tozer said:

I look back and remember a day when it was common for men and women to come to an altar of prayer and kneel there, shake, tremble, and weep in agony of conviction over their iniquity. We do not see it now because the God we preach is not the everlasting, awful Holy One who cannot look upon iniquity. When we get a vision of the Holy One as he desires to reveal himself, this will come back as a mighty power to change us into his likeness.

Tozer then quotes this hymn by Charles Wesley:

Lord, incline me to repent; Let me now my fall lament, Deeply my revolt deplore, Weep, believe, and sin no more. 

Repentance is the lost word in the Christian dictionary. You may want to consider adding the sentiment of Charles Wesley’s words to your next prayer. I am sure you won’t use Wesley’s words exactly.

It is not as if we have to repent and be holy in our own strength. Jesus made it possible for our Heavenly Father to send the Holy Spirit to enable us to be holy. He will produce the fruit of the Spirit in your life and enable you to do the ministry that God has called you to do. We just need to submit to His leading day by day and not grieve Him or quench His work in our lives.


TRUE HAPPINESS IS FOUND IN JESUS

To be holy is to see God as He is and to become like Him, covered in Christ’s righteousness. And since God’s nature is to be happy, the more like Him we become in our sanctification, the happier we will be. When did you last hear that message?

Forcing a choice between happiness and holiness is utterly foreign to Scripture. If it were true that God wants us to be only holy, wouldn’t we expect Philippians 4:4 to say, “Be holy in the Lord always” instead of “Rejoice in the Lord always”?

Why should the nations say, “Where is their God?” Our God is in the heavens; He does all that he pleases.” Psalms 115:2-3

God is decidedly and unapologetically anti-sin, but he is in no sense anti-happiness. Indeed, holiness is exactly what secures our happiness. Charles Spurgeon said,

Holiness is the royal road to happiness. The death of sin is the life of joy.”

It’s common to hear objections to the word happy based on its etymology, or history. One commentator says that “Happy comes from the word ‘hap,’ meaning ‘chance.’ It is therefore incorrect to translate [the Greek word makarios] as ‘happy’”

When people say they want to be happy, they are typically making no statement whatsoever about chance. D.A. Carson argues in Exegetical Fallacies, “The meaning of a word cannot be reliably determined by etymology” (32). King James Version translators wouldn’t have used happy and other forms of the root word happiness thirty-six times or translated makarios as some form of happy seventeen times if they thought its word history disqualified happy as a credible biblical word.

Unfortunately, because Bible teachers such as Oswald Chambers saw people trying to find happiness in sin, they came to think that pursuing happiness is sinful. Chambers said, “Joy is not happiness,” and continued, “There is no mention in the Bible of happiness for a Christian, but there is plenty said about joy” (God’s Workmanship, and He Shall Glorify Me, 346).

That simply is not true. In the King James Version, which Chambers used, Jesus tells his disciples, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17). Speaking of faithful Christians, James said, “We count them happy which endure” (James 5:11). Peter said to fellow believers, “If ye suffer for righteousness sake, happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:14 ) and “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye” (1 Peter 4:14).

How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness. (Isaiah 52:7)

It’s hard for me to conceive of a greater insult to Jesus than to effectively deny what Hebrews reveals about his happy nature: “God, your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your companions(Hebrews 1:9 NASB).

It also seems insulting to say that the best Father in the universe doesn’t want his children to be happy. In reality, the Bible is a vast reservoir containing, not dozens, but hundreds of passages conveying happiness. I’ve found more than 2,700 Scripture passages where words such as joy, happiness, gladness, merriment, pleasurecelebrationcheerlaughterdelightjubilationfeastingexultation, and celebration are used. Throw in the words blessed and blessing, which often connotes happiness, and the number increases.

Our message to the world should not be “Don’t seek happiness,” but “You’ll find in Jesus the happiness you have always been seeking.”

Adapted from the article “Common Christian Myths About Happiness” by Randy Alcorn March 11th, 2021 in Patheos.

HAPPINESS AND HOLINESS

“Holiness is the royal road to happiness. The death of sin is the life of joy.” Charles Spurgeon. Indeed, holiness is exactly what secures our happiness.

To be holy is to see God as He is and to become like Him, covered in Christ’s righteousness. And since God’s nature is to be happy, the more like Him we become in our sanctification, the happier we will be. Forcing a choice between happiness and holiness is utterly foreign to Scripture. If it were true that God wants us to be only holy, wouldn’t we expect Philippians 4:4 to say, “Be holy in the Lord always” instead of “Rejoice in the Lord always”?

The Puritans, Jonathan Edwards, Charles Spurgeon, and many others used the words happy and happiness frequently in biblical, theological, and Christ-centered contexts. When they called on believers to be happy, they weren’t speaking of happenstance or chance, but of enduring delight and pleasure and good cheer in Jesus.

Sadly, Bible teachers such as Oswald Chambers saw people trying to find happiness in sin so they came to think that pursuing happiness is sinful. Chambers said, “Joy is not happiness,” and continued, “There is no mention in the Bible of happiness for a Christian, but there is plenty said about joy” (God’s Workmanship, and He Shall Glorify Me, 346). I respect and have been blessed by Oswald Chambers publications such as My Utmost for His Highest, but statements like this are misleading. It simply is not true. In the King James Version, which Chambers used, Jesus tells his disciples, “If ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them” (John 13:17 KJV). Speaking of faithful Christians, James said, “We count them happy which endure” (James 5:11 KJV). Peter said to fellow believers, “If ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye” (1 Peter 3:14 KJV) and “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye” (1 Peter 4:14 KJV). I am not sure what Oswald Chambers thought of these verses but it seems clear God wants us to be happy but we can only be happy when we are in close relationship with Him and obedient to His Word and call.

HOLINESS IS ESSENTIAL FOR THE MIRACULOUS

Before the Israelites crossed the Jordan they consecrated themselves. Before the Israelites took Jericho they circumcised the men. Before they defeated Ai they cleansed the sin from their camp. Holiness was needed for God to work the miraculous.

Ezekiel has a vision where the holiness of God pours out from the temple like a river, revitalising and purifying all the land it comes into contact with. Isaiah has a vision, where he enters the temple impure but is purified while he is there by a burning coal – a physical embodiment of God’s holiness.

The holiness of God is a term used in the Bible to describe both His goodness and His power. It is completely unique, and utterly all-powerful. In fact, the Bible gives us examples showing God’s holiness is so overwhelming it was perilous to approach Him.

These examples of God’s holiness purifying impure things all lead up to Christ. Christ, who is God’s holiness in human flesh, goes out into the land, healing the sick, raising the dead, and casting out demons – all of which are examples of God’s holiness now purifying the things it comes into contact with. God’s holiness is a powerful force that must be treated with the utmost respect.

Related image
Jesus casting out demons from Jesus Film Project

In Hebrews 9 and 10 it tells me that the sacrifice of Jesus, the blood of Christ, is what sanctifies and makes me holy – once and for all.

 Not only do I need Jesus, His blood sacrifice and the Holy Spirit, I also need the Word of God. Jesus, in His prayer to His heavenly Father in John 17:17 said, “Sanctify them, make them holy through Thy truth. Thy word is truth” (paraphrased).

Ephesians 5 says that God wants to cleanse and sanctify the church by the washing of water of the Word. It is the Word of God that the Holy Spirit uses.

At the same time, God’s holiness is a gift, able to heal a broken and impure world. Best of all, as followers of Christ, the Father has now sent the Holy Spirit to indwell our spirit, to be our counsellor, teacher and comforter. We can’t be holy without the Holy Spirit. He enables us to minister in the power of the Holy Spirit. Sadly, we are told, we often grieve Him, and quench the work He wants to accomplish in us and through us.

Do you want to serve God? Understand, we need holiness to serve Him.

“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, [Whatever you do.] because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16)

Is there some filthiness in disposition or attitude in your heart? Is there some bitterness or resentment or complaint? God says, “You clean it up.” Is there something that we are doing in our lifestyle that is demonstrating the lust of the flesh? Clean it up! We are to walk in holiness, fearing God, recognising our accountability to Him.

Among believers there is to be a practical holiness where we cleanse ourselves, where we get right with God. There is nobody who is going to cause you to stop sinning but you. There is nobody who is responsible for sinning but you. You will be tempted and baited and enticed by the enemy, but if we sin, we need to repent of our sins and seek forgiveness, on an on going basis, to keep our relationship with God intact. “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.

We ask God to forgive us not to be re-justified but to walk before Him in confidence that Christ has paid it all.

TIME TO STAND STRONG AND STAY THE COURSE

Francis Chan speaks to pastors, realising there is an urgency at this time to challenge leaders of the need to be courageous and fearless, and to prepare their flock for the coming of the Lord. Of the need to stay on course, despite the tragic end times events that are unfolding. Don’t judge those outside the church, but we do need to judge those inside the church.

He takes us to 2 Timothy 3. In the last days there will come times of great difficulty, people will be lovers of self, “lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God”, even having the appearance of godliness.

“But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people. For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth.” 2 Timothy 3;1-7

He really challenges these pastors:

  • about loving their flock, as Jesus prayed to His Father that they would be one as we are one. Why? So that the world may know that you sent me and loved them even as you loved me.
  • about teaching the truth of God’s Word.
  • about the truth of what can be achieved with the Holy Spirit.

 

A MAN WHO LIVED ETERNAL NOW

John Wesley statue
Statue of John Wesley outside Wesley Church in Melbourne, Australia.

John Wesley considered every thought word and deed in light of eternity.
Wesley preached with unceasing zeal that complete holiness was the primary fruit of a vibrant faith in Christ and of course the work of the Holy Spirit in the life of every believer. Wesley wrote “until you press believers to expect full salvation from sin, you won’t see revival. Before I preach love and grace I must preach sin, law and judgment.”
Consumed by the thought of the shortness of time, the great work to be done and the need for haste in doing it, on he marched, preaching, pleading, warning and guiding.
Wesley pleaded with men and women to repent and by faith make peace with God or suffer an everlasting hell. He was determined to declare the whole counsel of God in Christ and give warning of the dreadful consequences of rejecting the Gospel.
When he was 83 he made a note in his diary that he was regretful that he could not write more than 15 hours a day without hurting his eyes. He preached almost up to the day he died. truly his vigour and zeal in old age were the reward of his faithful stewardship of time.
He did indeed consider every thought word and deed in light of eternity.