By Andrew Murray
'Like as He which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy in all manner of living: because it is written, Ye shall be holy; for I am holy.' -- 1 Pet. 1:15,16
'But of Him are ye in Christ Jesus, who was made unto us from God, sanctification.' -- 1 Cor. 1:30
'God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.' -- 2 Thess. 2:13
Not only salvation, but holiness -- salvation in holiness: for this end has God chosen and called us. Not only safe in Christ, but holy in Christ, must the goal of the young Christian be. Safety and salvation are in the long run found only in holiness. The Christian who thinks that his salvation consists merely in safety and not in holiness, will find himself deceived. Young Christian, listen to the word of God: Be holy.
And wherefore must I be holy? Because He who called you is holy, and summons you to fellowship and conformity with Himself. How should any one be saved in God, when he has not the same disposition as God? (Ex. 19:6; Lev. 11:44; 19:2; 20:6,7)
God's holiness is His highest glory. In His holiness His righteousness and love are united. His holiness is the flaming fire of His zeal against all that is sin, whereby He keeps Himself free from sin, and in love makes others also free from it. It is as the Holy One of Israel that He is the Redeemer, and that He dwells in the midst of His people. (Ex. 25:11; Isa. 2:6; 12:14; 43:15; 49:7; 57:15; Hos. 11:9) Redemption is given to bring us to Himself and to the fellowship of His holiness. We cannot possibly have part in the love and salvation of God if we are not holy as He is holy. (Isa. 10:18; Heb. 12:14) Young Christians, be holy.
And what is this holiness that I must have? Answer: Of God are ye in Christ, who of God is made unto you sanctification. Christ is your sanctification; the life of Christ in you is your holiness. (1 Cor. 1:3; Eph. 5:27) In Christ you are sanctified; you are holy. In Christ you must still be sanctified; the glory of Christ must penetrate your whole life.
Holiness is more than purity. In Scripture we see that cleansing precedes holiness. (2 Cor. 7:1; Eph. 5:26,27; 2 Tim. 2:21) Cleansing is the taking away of that which is wrong; liberation from sin. Holiness is the filling with that which is good, divine, with the disposition of Jesus. Conformity to Him -- this is holiness: separation from the spirit of the world; the being filled with the presence of the Holy God -- this is holiness. The tabernacle was holy because God dwelt there; we are holy, as God's temple, after we have the indwelling of God. Christ's life in us is our holiness. (Ex. 29:43,45; 1 Cor. 1:2; 3:16,17; 6:19)
And how do we become holy? By the sanctification of the Spirit. The Spirit of God is named the Holy Spirit, because He makes us holy. He reveals and glorifies Christ in us. Through Him Christ dwells in us, and His holy power works in us. Through this Holy Spirit the workings of the flesh are mortified, and God works in us both the will and the accomplishment. (Rom. 1:4; 8:2,13; 1 Pet. 1:2)
And what is now the work that we have to do to receive this holiness of Christ through the Holy Spirit? 'God chose you to salvation, in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.' (2 Thess. 2:13) The holiness of Christ becomes ours through faith. There must naturally first be the desire to become holy. We must cleanse ourselves from all pollutions of flesh and spirit by confessing them, giving them up to God, and having them cleansed away in the blood. Then, first, can we perfect holiness. (2 Cor. 7:1). Then, in belief of the truth that Christ Himself is our sanctification, we have to take and receive from Him what is prepared in His fulness for us. (John 1:14,16; 1 Cor. 2:9,10) We must be deeply convinced that Christ is wholly and alone our sanctification as He is our justification, and that He will actually and powerfully work in us that which is well-pleasing to God. In this faith we must know that we have sufficient power for holiness, and that our work is to receive this power from Him by faith every day. (Gal. 2:21; Eph. 2:10; Phil. 2:13; 4:13) He gives His Spirit, the Holy Spirit, in us; the Spirit communicates the holy life of Jesus to us.
Young Christian, the Three-One God is the Thrice-Holy. (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8; 15:3,4) And this Three-One God is the God that sanctifies you: the Father, by giving Jesus to you, and confirming you in Jesus; the Son, by Himself becoming your sanctification and giving you the Spirit; the Spirit, by revealing the Son in you, preparing you as a temple for the indwelling of God, and making the Son dwell in you. O, be holy, for God is holy.
Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, what thanks shall I render to Thess for the gift of Thy Son as my sanctification, and that I am sanctified in Him. And what thanks for the Spirit of sanctification to dwell in me, and transplant the holiness of Jesus into me. Lord, give me to understand this aright, and to long for the experience of it. Amen.
1. What is the distinction betwixt forgiveness and cleansing, and betwixt cleansing and holiness?
2. What made the temple a sanctuary? The indwelling of God. What makes us holy? Nothing less than this: the indwelling of God in Christ by the Holy Spirit. Obedience and purity are the way to holiness; holiness itself is something higher.
3. In Isa. 52:17, there is a description of the man who will become holy. It is he who, in poverty of spirit, acknowledges that, even when he is living as a righteous man, he has nothing, and looks to God to come and dwell in Him.
4. No one is holy but the Lord. You have as much of holiness as you have of God in you.
5. The word 'holy' is one of the deepest words in the Bible, the deepest mystery of the Godhead. Do you desire to understand something of it, and to obtain part in it? Then take these two thoughts, 'I am holy.' 'Be ye holy,' and carry them in your heart as a seed of God that has life.
6. What is the connection betwixt the perseverance of the saints and perseverance in holiness?