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Holiness ... 2

A new goal

While Christianity is a life made complete in Christ by a combination of imparted virtues and attributes, the primary attribute or value that provides for this unique union and fellowship with God is holiness. And regardless of what comes to mind when we think of holiness, it is not an option, but an imperative, for God has said, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16 NASB) It must be rated among the top five priorities of the Christian way: love, service, sacrifice, godliness, holiness.
Holiness is a state of purity completely untouched by the slightest hint of sin. Being pure, clean and incorruptible; holiness is opposed to anything that is not loving, anything that is hurtful, such as hatred, resentment, lust, gossip, dishonesty, or ill-will. You would think someone as renowned as the Old Testament prophet Isaiah to be the epitome of holiness, yet we learn that when he beheld the glory of God’s holiness, he immediately fell on his face and declared himself a man of unclean lips, admitting he was not worthy. His own inability to be holy underscored the deficiency between the wretched condition of humanity and the splendor of Divinity. With nothing in common between sin and holiness, any attempt at affiliation is untenable. The whole Biblical story explains that corruption had forced a mighty chasm between man and God. However God did not forsake us, He remembered His early purpose, and “doubled down” on the value He placed on man.
From the time we were born, or even earlier, when each human baby was formed and woven together in the secret place in each mother’s womb, we were special and we were wonderful. Both God, and our parents, were delighted at our birth, and we were lavished with affection. While just little babies, we ignited a spark of joy and love in the hearts of our families and the people who doted on us. Yes, our infant form was strangely adorable. Yet, as we grew up, it became evident we were not so lovely and not so perfect, after all. As humans, we were all stained inside by sin, and incapable of holiness. Thanks be to God, who had a solution for us that provided something beautiful that would negate the ugliness of our visible and invisible sinfulness. He gave us a way back into His loving family by His Son Jesus and the Holy Spirit.
Holiness calls us to a personal exercise in spiritual development, for try as we may, a mere intellectual knowledge of holiness is inadequate to affect the desired goal of relating to God. Acquiring this knowledge, however, is the first step in a succession of steps to be taken, for we learn that our conduct is transformed by the re-education of our minds. We are to think as God would have us think, know what God would have us know, and do what God would have us do.
Because of our background as sinners who were, at one time, children of disobedience, our minds are filled with ungodly thoughts, carnal attitudes, and beliefs steeped in deception and doubt. We were intimately wedded to the sinful nature in our minds and bodies and, as such, we were the enemies of God, repugnant in our sinfulness and ungodliness. Regardless of the fact that we have been "born again" we can still remain critically attached to the sin of the world through this previous association, and it is only to the extent that we root out and divorce these residual ties that we begin to properly reflect the reality of a new power we’ve received in Christ.
It is not at all uncommon to encounter many struggles with the desires of our flesh, and of renewing our minds, because this is ground once dominated by unbelief, deceit, selfishness, carnality, and the devil’s schemes. Overturning this condition presents an ongoing challenge. But having been completely extricated by Christ from a dark spiritual domain in principle, we learn that we must now take an aggressive position of faith in God’s Word and His provisions in order to push forward, develop, live, walk, and establish the practical application of holiness more and more, actualizing our new spiritual status and blessings. Our continual resistance to inappropriate mental thoughts and unholy urges are essential in the battle against sinfulness. We believe these goals are attainable, because Jesus said the very things He did, we will do.
Experience affirms that our spiritual adversaries will work to prevent us from coming to a correct understanding about the power of godliness and true holiness. They want us to fall short in some areas, to slow us down or hinder us from fully embracing these values, and appear hypocritical. Our lives will then represent little more than mediocre people feebly attempting to live good moral lives apart from the power of God; and there is little dynamic distinction in that to some non-Christians. Experience also affirms, a life of far greater victory is our birthright as born-again Christians.
In comparison to man’s “dirtiness”, God’s holiness is a picture of absolute moral perfection. Our faith can take us on the journey towards it, as we understand, perceive, and be moved with reverential fear, praise, and adoration at the existence of God’s total purity and glory. Holiness is one of the prizes Jesus won for us through His victory on the cross. Holiness is to be our new disposition. “As He is, so also are we in this world.” (1 John 4:17 NASB)
Jill's self talk
"I choose to turn away from sin, turn away from bad, turn away from evil, turn away from corruption. I am released from sin's power, and live by God's holy power. I choose the new life that is totally switched onto being righteous, godly and holy."

A mysterious and unique beauty

Perhaps God’s holiness may be indirectly understood in physical terms such as light. It was His glory that filled the temple with light so brilliant that it darkened the sun. It was the reflection of the glory of God’s holiness that shone on the face of Moses as he descended Mount Sinai. It was the Heavenly attire, that clothed Jesus in light during the transfiguration. It was God’s presence that blinded Paul on his way to Damascus. We may not get to see the light of God’s presence but surely the beauty of a glorious dawn light or sun beams shining through the gaps in clouds, is analogous to the radiant beauty of holiness.
That radiant light now dwells within the spirit of every born-again Christian. Our new birth raised us with Christ into the same category of being as He is in the Heavenly realms, where we also represent a new dawn of creature, made new and superior by the gift of the Holy Spirit. As Jesus said “Truly I say to you, among those born of women there has not arisen anyone greater than John the Baptist! Yet the one who is least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” (Matthew 11:11 NASB) John the Baptist was a witness to the coming of Christ, but he was murdered before he had the chance to witness the risen Lord, or receive the Holy Spirit. The holiness that we have been blessed with means we have a lot more to live up to in terms of being a witness.
Delving into the mysteries of God, hidden within the pages of the New Testament, is where we come to discover the far-reaching extent to which this work of grace has been performed. The gift is ours the moment we are born again and we are translated into the Kingdom of Light. Everything we ever hope to become as Christians depends on correctly understanding and applying what the Bible says has happened to us within the spiritual level. We may not feel or look different, but it is in our spirit that we have changed, and in our spirit we have been given the gift of the sinless perfection of God’s life and holiness, which is the essence of our new birth in Christ. Jesus took away the consequences of our sinfulness, and God bestows on us the essence of the same perfection present in the risen Christ through the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Seeing we did nothing to deserve it, the extent of God’s grace is a lot to digest. Furthermore, God has not wrought in us an imperfect or incomplete work; we are, in fact, newly created miracles of His grace, given all things that pertain to divine life and godliness, including, of course, the promise of eternal life. The light of this reality must penetrate the lingering darkness and opposition of our carnal, natural and religious mindsets that have yet to be illuminated by the truth, the truth that Jesus declared would make us free indeed.
True holiness was wrought in us as a work of grace based on the changes that take place when we received Christ as our Lord and Savior. This work of grace has been performed inwardly, and we can no more become holy by performing good works, than we could have earned God’s salvation on our own merits. Yet, it’s ours, and all we have to do is:
“Put on the new self, which in the likeness of God has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” (Ephesians 4:24 NASB) 
Combining this verse and other New Testament passages of Scripture will change everything about the way we view our relationship to God, our value systems as Christians, and the free spirit we now possess.
When we were saved by God and He made us His heirs through the new birth, we became a wholly new creation again. In the entire universe of God’s works, which He has performed, our spiritual rebirth stands as the hallmark of a new work unsurpassed in history. It was as though God said, “Let there be a new creation in the spirit of man”, and it was good because it is born of God’s own nature, and it is being readied for the resurrection. Of course, we are not gods, but we are God’s look-alike children. We have been created to be like God and fellowship and partner with Him, as Father and children. For as Jesus was the first-born of many sons, we too have been adopted as sons and daughters into God’s family, a position that no other creation can experience. We are made wholly new, a complete work characterized by the righteousness and true holiness of Christ. It is significant to note the phrase “true holiness” in the sense that this work of God’s grace is identified as a work He has performed apart from any and every pretense of holiness or attempt at moral excellence.
How wonderful it is for the angels in Heaven to rejoice every time a sinner repents. It is such a profound event, that when our spirit is made alive again we are made capable of being pleasing to God, and of fulfilling the will of God. Angels are watching in wonder as each man and woman is born again; erupting in celebration, delighted to enter our names into the Lamb’s book of life. They witness our new conception in Christ, and marvel at the power of the Gospel and how the gift of faith has results in a new creature, now so special that we alone are entitled to receive eternal life. This new nature is completely set apart from every corrupting influence, for no amount of man's sin can diminish God’s holiness. Our new life is a new spiritual work of the Holy Spirit, who is pure and remains untouched by the stain of sin and ungodliness.
Jill's self talk
"There are no better choices than those to go forward in the ways of goodness, and leave the ways of evil. I choose to follow Christ for He alone is good and holy. Forever I say goodbye to sin, and forever I say hello to holiness. To follow Christ is to be like Christ."
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