By Mike Ratliff
8 A highway will be there, a roadway,
And it will be called the Highway of Holiness.
The unclean will not travel on it,
But it will be for him who walks that way,
And fools will not wander on it.
9 No lion will be there,
Nor will any vicious beast go up on it;
These will not be found there.
But the redeemed will walk there,
10 And the ransomed of the Lord will return
And come with joyful shouting to Zion,
With everlasting joy upon their heads.
They will find gladness and joy,
And sorrow and sighing will flee away. Isaiah 35:8-10 (NASB)
5 This is the message we have heard from Him and announce to you, that God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. 1 John 1:5 (NASB)
God is holy and immutable. There is not now nor has there ever been nor will there ever be any darkness in Him. He is eternally holy. In James 1:17 we read that with God, there is no variation or shadow due to change. The Puritans referred to God as the “Thrice Holy God!” Peter tells us in 1 Peter 1:14-19 that the redeemed of the Lord are commanded to be holy as He is holy then he tells us why and how we are to do so.
14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; 16 because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”
17 If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one’s work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth; 18 knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, 19 but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ. 1 Peter 1:14-19 (NASB)
Christians who are walking according to the flesh, which is being conformed to their former ignorance, are not walking according to the spirit. What is not of faith is sin. (Romans 14:23) When believers walk according to the flesh they are seeking fulfillment from the world. This is sin. Therefore, to be holy is to walk in accordance to our sanctification. Sanctification is the act of God removing His flock from sin. God is intimately involved in our sanctification, but our role in it is not passive.
18 In the exercise of His will He brought us forth by the word of truth, so that we would be a kind of first fruits among His creatures. James 1:18 (NASB)
All in Christ are begotten of God. This is speaking in part of our regeneration where the word of truth is written on our hearts as His grace, in accordance with our faith, quickened us from spiritual death unto eternal life. Therefore, we are to “lay aside every weight and sin as we run the race God has set before us.” (Hebrews 12:1-2) We are commanded to cleanse out the old leaven from our hearts. Why? For Christ our Lord, our Passover Lamb, has been sacrificed.
7 Clean out the old leaven so that you may be a new lump, just as you are in fact unleavened. For Christ our Passover also has been sacrificed. 1 Corinthians 5:7 (NASB)
1 Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1 (NASB)
Much of the teaching in “churches” these days never speak of these things. The emphasis is on the “Social Gospel” or the “Feel Good and Be Positive Gospel” or the “Be Healthy and Wealthy and Prosperous Gospel.” I believe that God is drawing His sheep into the light in these last days because time is short. The end of this age is swiftly approaching. We are being prepared. We must understand what it means that Christ is our Passover sacrifice. Because we believe on Jesus Christ, His righteousness has been imputed to us and we also received justification. God the Father has declared us righteous; therefore, we have entered a relationship with Him as though we have never sinned.
The expectation of God is that those whom He has saved commit themselves to maintaining that relationship by living a holy life, not under our own power, which would be self-righteousness, but through the word of God and the Holy Spirit teaching and convicting through that word. This is why it is vital that believers become spirit-filled by saturating their lives with the Word of God and being obedient to it.
In the last phrase in 2 Corinthians 7:1 above, we read that our maintaining of our relationship with God by “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” I wrote a series several years ago on how vital it is for Christians to walk in the fear of God. I was inundated with hundreds of complaints that we are called to love God, not fear Him. It is Biblical that our fear of God is a necessary component in running the race set before us by God. One look at the utter nonsense that passes for “church” these days should tell us that this fear of God is largely unknown. This is why we have “cussing” pastors and others who use secular movies in place of sermons or who attempt to entice the world to come into their churches by using worldly music and sermons that never touch any aspect of the genuine Gospel. There is no fear of God in those who do these things.
We are calling for our Christian leaders to repent of these things and become conformed unto the real Gospel, not the various facsimiles of it. We are in desperate need of hearing the real Gospel because it is through reading the word in its proper context and the Holy Spirit’s revealing that word by which we are conformed to Christ’s character, which is our sanctification, for He is holy. The very work of the Holy Spirit after our salvation is to conform us to the image or character of the Lamb of God, which is holiness.
28 And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose. 29 For those whom He foreknew, He also predestined to become conformed to the image of His Son, so that He would be the firstborn among many brethren; Romans 8:28-29 (NASB)
Much of the “debate” between those of us who have been called “ODM” or “Orthodox” and the progressive crowd is centered on the veracity of one’s salvation. We need to understand that the only standards that we can use here is the Bible. What does the Bible tell us that separates the genuine believer from the disingenuous one? To know that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the Saviour is good, but that is not enough because the demons believe that. No, the Biblical mark of genuineness as a Christian is commitment to God to live a holy life. This means that the genuine believer has a commitment to grow in the knowledge of Him and be conformed unto His image and likeness by and through the work of the Holy Spirit within.
6 Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, 7 having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. Colossians 2:6-7 (NASB)
All genuine Christians have believed on Christ because they realized He was the holy Lamb who was the sacrifice for them as born sinners and the sins they commit. However, they also must continue their Christian walk according to that knowledge of His holiness. As they have received Christ Jesus the Lord, they do walk in Him. This is so much more than mumbling a few words about receiving Him into one’s heart! Genuine salvation is the product of commitment to be holy and a commitment to Him who is holy! This is also a commitment to treat God’s Word as holy and to dwell in it. This commitment is wrapped in the fear of God because we know that God totally expects us to walk as Jesus walked because we accepted His offer of salvation and His Spirit now indwells us. Salvation is not a “Get Out of Jail Free Card” that is given to those who simply do some religious act then live for self from that point on.
8 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God, 9 who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, 10 but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, 11 for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. 12 For this reason I also suffer these things, but I am not ashamed; for I know whom I have believed and I am convinced that He is able to guard what I have entrusted to Him until that day. 2 Timothy 1:8-12 (NASB)
God delivered and saved us and called us with a holy calling which leads to a life of consecration, a vocation of holiness. God did not do this because of anything we have done, but because of and to further His own purpose and Grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before the world began.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, 4 just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him. In love 5 He predestined us to adoption as sons through Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the kind intention of His will, 6 to the praise of the glory of His grace, which He freely bestowed on us in the Beloved. Ephesians 1:3-6 (NASB)
What was the purpose of God towards those who believe? It is that they be holy and blameless before Him. Therefore, let us seek to remove the leaven from our ‘house’ because the Lamb of God, our Passover Lamb, is with us. We are commanded to be holy, which means that we are to live lives of commitment to be separate from the world and its ways, to not be conformed to it. If you are a genuine Christian then the Holy Spirit is working in you to cleanse you of your enslavement to your flesh. Your part is to draw near unto God that He may draw near unto you.
Soli Deo Gloria!