Holiness Quotes

 

 

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RELATED RESOURCES

2Corinthians 7:1 Motivation and Perfection of Holiness - Exposition
Jehovah Mekeddeshem: The LORD Who Sanctifies (
Pt 1) (Pt 2)
Exposition of 1 Peter 1:15-16 "Be Holy as He is Holy"
Holiness by J.C. Ryle
The Attributes of God - His Holiness
The Holiness of God - by A W Pink
Why Would Anyone Want To Be Holy?
Holiness: Root of His Grace - Sammy Tippit: Pt 1 Pt 2 Pt 3
Cultivating Holiness by Joel R. Beeke
Holiness by Striving or Resting? Jerry Bridges (
see also Mp3's related to pursuit of holiness)
Thomas Watson on- Sanctification - Real, Counterfeit, Necessity, Signs, Inducements, How Attained?
 Integrity - A Few Thoughts

Greek Word Studies...
Holiness = hagiasmos; Holy = hagios
Holy (One) = hosios

 

QUOTES ON
HOLINESS and
SANCTIFICATION

The Hebrew word for holiness is kadesh which means something which is cut off, separate or set apart. It describes that which is anti-secular (secular = of or relating to the worldly or temporal), in a category all its own. Kadesh describes something that is elevated out of the sphere of what is ordinary. The New Testament word hagios also means set apart, separate and so in a class by itself. It follows that for believers (saints or "holy ones") the call to be holy is a call to be separated from common use and set apart, or reserved, for special use. In both Old and New Testaments the term is applied to things, persons, and pre-eminently to God Himself.

A beautiful illustration of the inherent idea of separation that is found in the word holiness comes from the world of nature...

In the forests of northern Europe and Asia lives little animal called the ermine, known for his snow-white fur in winter. He instinctively protects his white coat against anything that would soil it. Fur hunters take advantage of this unusual trait of the ermine. They don’t set a snare to catch him, but instead they find his home, which is usually a cleft in a rock or a hollow in an old tree. They smear the entrance and interior with grime. Then the hunters set their dogs loose to find and chase the ermine. The frightened animal flees toward home but doesn’t enter because of the filth. Rather than soil his white coat, he is trapped by the dogs and captured while preserving his purity. For the ermine, purity is more precious than life. - H G Bosch (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)

A. W. Tozer wrote

Were some watcher or holy one from the bright world above to come among us for a time with the power to diagnose the spiritual ills of church people, there is one entry which I am quite sure would appear on the vast majority of his reports: Definite evidence of chronic spiritual lassitude; level of moral enthusiasm extremely low.

 

 Holy is the way God is. To be holy he does not conform to a standard. He is that standard. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is. Because he is holy, all his attributes are holy; that is, whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as holy.

 

The holy man is not one who cannot sin. A holy man is one who will not sin.

 

The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy.

 

The whole purpose of God in redemption is to make us holy and to restore us to the image of God. To accomplish this He disengages us from earthly ambitions and draws us away from the cheap and unworthy prizes that worldly men set their hearts upon.

The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy.

No man should desire to be happy who is not at the same time holy. He should spend his efforts in seeking to know and do the will of God, leaving to Christ the matter of how happy he shall be.

Go to God and have an understanding. Tell Him that it is your desire to be holy at any cost and then ask Him never to give you more happiness than holiness. When your holiness becomes tarnished, let your joy become dim. And ask Him to make you holy whether you are happy or not. Be assured that in the end you will be as happy as you are holy; but for the time being let your whole ambition be to serve God and be Christlike.

. . . although God wants His people to be holy as He is holy, He does not deal with us according to the degree of our holiness but according to the abundance of His mercy. Honesty requires us to admit this.

You cannot study the Bible diligently and earnestly without being struck by an obvious fact—the whole matter of personal holiness is highly important to God!

 

I cannot think of even one lonely passage in the New Testament which speaks of Christ’s revelation, manifestation, appearing or coming that is not directly linked with moral conduct, faith and spiritual holiness.

 

Christ calls men to carry a cross; we call them to have fun in His name. He calls them to forsake the world; we assure them that if they but accept Jesus the world is their oyster. He calls them to suffer; we call them to enjoy all the bourgeois comforts modern civilization affords...He calls them to holiness; we call them to a cheap and tawdry happiness that would have been rejected with scorn by the least of the Stoic philosophers.

 

We have the blessed Holy Spirit present, and we are treating Him as if He were not present at all. We resist Him, disobey Him, quench Him and compromise with our hearts. We hear a sermon about Him and determine to learn more and do something about it. Our conviction wears off, and soon we go back to the same old dead level we were in before. We resist the blessed Comforter. He has come to comfort. He has come to teach. He is the Spirit of instruction. He has come to bring light for He is the Spirit of light. He comes to bring purity for He is the Spirit of holiness. He comes to bring power for He is the Spirit of power...We would like to be full of the Spirit and yet go on and do as we please. The Holy Spirit who inspired the Scriptures will expect obedience to the Scriptures, and if we do not obey the Scriptures, we will quench Him. This Spirit will have obedience—but people do not want to obey the Lord. Everyone is as full as he wants to be. Everyone has as much of God as he desires to have. There is a fugitive impulse that comes to us, in spite of what we ask for when we pray in public, or even in private. We want the thrill of being full, but we don’t want to meet the conditions. We just don’t want to be filled badly enough to be filled...If there is anything in your life more demanding than your longing after God, then you will never be a Spirit-filled Christian. I have met Christians who have been wanting to be filled, in a vague sort of way, for many years. The reason they have not been filled with the Spirit is because they have other things they want more. God does not come rushing into a human heart unless He knows that He is the answer and fulfillment to the greatest, most overpowering desire of that life.

 

We Christians must stop apologizing for our moral position and start making our voices heard, exposing sin as the enemy of the human race and setting forth righteousness and true holiness as the only worthy pursuits for moral beings.

Dwight L. Moody (See "Why God Used Dwight L. Moody" by R. A. Torrey) once said that...

A holy life will make the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns, they just shine.

 

“It is a great deal better to live a holy life than to talk about it. We are told to let our light shine, and if it does we won’t need to tell anybody it does. The light will be its own witness. Lighthouses don’t ring bells and fire cannon to call attention to their shining—they just shine.”

Hudson Taylor, famed missionary to China wrote:

"We are not only to renounce evil, but to manifest the truth. We tell people the world is vain; let our lives manifest that it is so. We tell them that our home is above and that all these things are transitory. Does our dwelling look like it? O to live consistent lives!"

Andrew Murray wrote taht...

The great test of whether the holiness we profess to seek or to attain is truth and life will be whether it be manifest in the increasing humility it produces. In the creature, humility is the one thing needed to allow God’s holiness to dwell in him and shine through him. In Jesus, the holy one of God who makes us holy, a divine humility was the secret of his life and his death and his exaltation; the one infallible test of our holiness will be the humility before God and men which marks us. Humility is the bloom and the beauty of holiness.

Sammy Tippit in his small but pithy and convicting book Fire in Your Heart (index) writes the following about holiness...

We must learn that God is holy. If we are to experience the manifest presence of God's glory, we must repent. When Isaiah saw the glory of God in the Temple, he was driven to brokenness, confession, and repentance. Too many in the West desire to know the manifest love of God without the manifest holiness of God. We have lost the message of repentance. Now the church in the West is the sleeping Giant. The church in the East sends a strong message: The Repenters must repent!

Many have attached themselves to the church without becoming "repenters." We have preached a gospel without a distinct call for repentance. But throughout the Scriptures we are admonished to repent and believe. John the Baptist preached and baptized with a "baptism of repentance" prior to the ministry of reconciliation of Jesus... (excerpt from
part I)

 

Historian J.C. Ryle listed seven characteristics of the messengers during the Great Awakening of the eighteenth century:

 

1 They taught the supremacy of Holy Scripture.


2 They preached the total corruption of human nature.


3 They taught that Chris's death upon the cross was the only satisfaction for man's sin.


4 They preached the doctrine of justification by faith.


5 They taught the universal necessity of heart conversion and new creation by the Holy Spirit.


6 They spoke of God's eternal hatred against sin and of God's love for sinners.


7 They preached that there was an inseparable connection between true faith and personal holiness. They never allowed for a moment that any church membership or religious profession was the least proof of a man being a Christian if he lived an ungodly life.


These awakeners continually cried, "No fruit, no grace." Jonathan Edwards believed that "every experience of God could be counterfeited except those with an insight into His holiness."


An insight into the holiness of God will always produce a life-style of repentance. When one enters upon this highway called holiness, it does not mean that he is perfect. It does mean that he is walking down a road of change. Repentance means a change of heart or a change of mind. Throughout the Christian life we should be continually changed, or conformed, into the image of Jesus Christ....(excerpt from
part II )

See some of C H Spurgeon's sermons relating to the topic of revival...

2 Chronicles 35:2 Cheer Up, My Comrades
Jonah 2:7 The Fainting Soul Revived
Isaiah 52:20 The Great Revival
Amos 3:3 Preparation For Revival
Amos 9:13 A Revival Sermon
Habakkuk 3:2 Spiritual Revival, The Want Of The Church

John Brown, 19th-century Scottish theologian:

"Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervors, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills.”

 

 

English Puritan Thomas Brooks observed that holiness was not a natural condition for human beings

 

Ah, sirs, holiness is a flower that grows not in Nature’s garden. Men are not born with holiness in their hearts, as they are born with tongues in their mouths: holiness is a divine offspring: it is a pearl of great price, that is to be found in no nature but a renewed nature, in no bosom but a sanctified bosom.

 

R. J. Stewart

 

Holy has the same root as wholly, it means complete. A man is not complete in spiritual stature if all his mind, heart, soul, and strength are not given to God.

 

Erwin W. Lutzer

 

Although we become Christians instantaneously by faith in Christ, knowing God and developing faith is a gradual process. There are no shortcuts to maturity. It takes time to be holy.

 

Nathanael Emmons

 

Holiness has love for its essence, humility for its clothing, the good of others as its employment, and the honor of God as its end.

 

Richard Shelley Taylor

 

Holiness is inwrought by the Holy Spirit, not because we have suffered, but because we have surrendered.
 

Oswald Chambers

 

It is quite true to say, “I can’t live a holy life,” but you can decide to let Jesus make you holy.

 

The destined end of man is not happiness, nor health, but holiness. God’s one aim is the production of saints. He is not an eternal blessing machine for men; he did not come to save men out of pity; he came to save men because he had created them to be holy.

 

The holy man is the most humble man you can meet.
 

The holiest person is one who is most conscious of what sin is.

 

Martin Luther

 

When God purifies the heart by faith, the market is sacred as well as the sanctuary.

 

Richard Baxter (Puritan) wrote that holiness is...

 

Nothing else but the habitual and predominant devotion and dedication of soul, and body, and life, and all that we have to God; and esteeming, and loving, and serving, and seeking Him, before all the pleasures and prosperity of the flesh.

 

Blaise Pascal

 

The serene, silent beauty of a holy life is the most powerful influence in the world, next to the might of the Spirit of God.

 

Jerry Bridges

 

It is time for us Christians, to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are “defeated” by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient. It might be well if we stopped using the terms victory and defeat to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we should use the terms obedience and disobedience.

 

Faith and holiness are inextricably linked. Obeying the commands of God usually involves believing the promises of God.

 

Thomas Carlyle
 

The old word for holy in the German language, heilig, also means healthy. And so heilbronn means holy-well, or healthy-well. You could not get any better definition of what holy really is than healthy—completely healthy.

 

John Flavel

 

What health is to the heart, that holiness is to the soul.

 

William Jenkyn wrote that...

 

There is nothing destroyed by sanctification but that which would destroy us.

 

William Gurnall has a pithy description of holiness...

 

Pray not only against the power of sin, but for the power of holiness also. A haughty heart may pray against his sins, not out of any inward enmity to them, or love to holiness, but because they are troublesome guests to his conscience. His zeal is false that seems hot against sin, but is key–cold to holiness. A city is rebellious that keeps their rightful Prince out, though it receives not his enemy in.

 

Say not that thou hast royal blood in thy veins, and art born of God, except thou canst prove thy pedigree by daring to be holy.

 

G. Campbell Morgan has several quotes on holiness:

 

Holiness is not exemption from conflict, but victory through conflict.


Holiness is not freedom from temptation, but power to overcome temptation.


Holiness is not the end of progress, but deliverance from standing still.

 

William Law

 

The best way for anyone to know how much he ought to aspire after holiness is to consider not how much will make his present life easy, but to ask himself how much he thinks will make him easy at the hour of death.”

 

Robert Murray McCheyne

 

Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this, for your sermons last but an hour or two, your life preaches all the week. If Satan can only make a covetous minister a lover of praise, of pleasure, of good eating, he has ruined your ministry. Give yourselves to prayer, and get your texts, your thoughts, your words from God. Luther spent his best three hours in prayer.

George Swinnock

Sow holiness and reap happiness

Anonymous

Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God 

Live so that the preacher can tell the truth at your funeral!

Thomas Brooks

True holiness makes a man divinely covetous

H A Ironside

The secret of Christian holiness is heart occupation with Christ Himself

D L Moody

A holy life will produce the deepest impression. Lighthouses blow no horns; they only shine! -

J C Ryle

There is no holiness without a warfare.

Duncan Campbell has said,

A baptism of holiness, a demonstration of godly living is the crying need of our day.

 

John Brown

 

Holiness does not consist in mystic speculations, enthusiastic fervours, or uncommanded austerities; it consists in thinking as God thinks, and willing as God wills.

 

Revival is always marked by an overwhelming sense of Christ’s presence in the church. For example, if Jesus were to physically make His presence known, Sunday after Sunday there would be... A heightened awareness of Holiness with confession, repentance, and restitution.

 

Thomas Boston...

 

Holiness is a constellation of graces.

 

Horatius Bonar wrote that holiness


extends to every part of our persons, fills up our being, spreads over our life, influences everything we are, or do, or think, or speak, or plan, small or great, outward or inward, negative or positive, our loving, our hating, our sorrowing, our rejoicing, our recreations, our business, our friendships, our relationships, our silence, our speech, our reading, our writing, our going out and our coming in—our whole man in every movement of spirit, soul, and body.

 

Pray with Robert Murray M’Cheyne

 

Lord, make me as Holy as a pardoned sinner can be.

 

Joel Beeke wrote...

 

I once read of a missionary who had in his garden a shrub that bore poisonous leaves. At that time he had a child who was prone to put anything within reach into his mouth. Naturally he dug the shrub out and threw it away. The shrub’s roots, however, were very deep. Soon the shrub sprouted again. Repeatedly the missionary had to dig it out. There was no solution but to inspect the ground every day, and to dig up the shrub every time it surfaced. Indwelling sin is like that shrub. It needs constant uprooting. Our hearts need continual mortification.

 

Develop a scriptural formula for holy living. Here is one possibility drawn from 1 Corinthians. When hesitant over a course of action, ask yourself:

 

Does this glorify God? (1Co 10:31)


Is this consistent with the lordship of Christ? (1Co 7:23)


Is this consistent with biblical examples? (1Co 11:1)


Is this lawful and beneficial for me—spiritually, mentally, physically? (1Co 6:9, 10, 11, 12)


Does this help others positively and not hurt others unnecessarily? (1Co 10:33; 8:13)


Does this bring me under any enslaving power? (1Co 6:12)


Let Scripture be your compass to guide you in cultivating holiness, in making life’s decisions, and in encountering the high waves of personal affliction.— Reformation and Revival 4:2 (Spring 1995) p. 88

 

John Owen warns us that


We must be exercising [mortification] every day, and in every duty. Sin will not die, unless it be constantly weakened. Spare it, and it will heal its wounds, and recover its strength. We must continually watch against the operations of this principle of sin: in our duties, in our calling, in conversation, in retirement, in our straits, in our enjoyments, and in all that we do. If we are negligent on any occasion, we shall suffer by it; every mistake, every neglect is perilous.

 

Low and distorted views of sin reap low and distorted views of holiness. J C Ryle wrote that..

 

Wrong views about holiness are generally traceable to wrong views about human corruption. If a man does not realize the dangerous nature of his soul’s diseases, you cannot wonder if he is content with false or imperfect remedies.

 

Hugh Morgan rightly associated holiness with effective service writing that...

 

Holiness is the most effective way of influencing unconverted people and creating within them a willingness to listen to the preaching of the gospel” (Mt 5:16; 1Peter 3:1,2).

 

Although sin is the antithesis of holiness, it behooves all who would desire to pursue His holiness to pay heed to J H Jowett's sobering description of sin:

 

Sin is a blasting presence, and every fine power shrinks and withers in the destructive heat. Every spiritual delicacy succumbs to its malignant touch...Sin impairs the sight, and works toward blindness. Sin benumbs the hearing and tends to make men deaf. Sin perverts the taste, causing men to confound the sweet with the bitter, and the bitter with the sweet. Sin hardens the touch, and eventually renders a man "past feeling." All these are Scriptural analogies, and their common significance appears to be this--sin blocks and chokes the fine senses of the spirit; by sin we are desensitized, rendered imperceptive, and the range of our correspondence is diminished. Sin creates callosity. It hoofs the spirit, and so reduces the area of our exposure to pain.

 

Holiness gives evidence of your Justification and Election, and fosters assurance. B. B. Warfield wrote that

 

Sanctification is but the execution of the justifying decree. For it to fail would be for the acquitted person not to be released in accordance with his acquittal.

 

As John Owen says Holiness fits you for heaven (Rev 21:27, Heb 12:14)...

 

There is no imagination wherewith man is besotted, more foolish, none so pernicious, as this—that persons not purified, not sanctified, not made holy in their life, should afterwards be taken into that state of blessedness which consists in the enjoyment of God. Neither can such persons enjoy God, nor would God be a reward to them. Holiness indeed is perfected in heaven: but the beginning of it is invariably confined to this world. God leads none to heaven but whom He sanctifies on the earth. This living Head will not admit to dead members.
 

Vance Havner told the following story...

 

F. B. Meyer was visiting in a Scottish home. It was washday, and the clothes were on the line. It began to snow, and soon the clothes did not look so white against the background of the snow. When Meyer remarked about it, the old Scottish landlady cried, "Mon, what can stand against God Almighty's white!" When Isaiah saw the Lord in His holiness, he saw himself in his sinfulness and the people in their wickedness. A sense of God brought a sense of sin.

 

Spurgeon said, "Holiness is not the way to Christ; Christ is the way to holiness." Better still, Christ is our holiness.

 

John Henry Newman wrote, "Those who make comfort the great subject of their preaching seem to mistake the end of their ministry. Holiness is the great end. Comfort is a cordial but no one drinks cordials from morning to night." Happiness is not the chief end of our faith. God would make us holy and then we shall be happy with His joy. There is all the difference in the world between the happiness of this age (which ought to be spelled "happen‑ness," since it depends on what happens) and the joy of the Lord.

 

Oswald Chambers

 

Instantaneous And Insistent Sanctification "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly." 1Thes 5:23-note, 1Thes 5:24-note When we pray to be sanctified, are we prepared to face the standard of these verses? We take the term sanctification much too lightly. Are we prepared for what sanctification will cost? It will cost an intense narrowing of all our interests on earth, and an immense broadening of all our interests in God. Sanctification means intense concentration on God's point of view. It means every power of body, soul and spirit chained and kept for God's purpose only. Are we prepared for God to do in us all that He separated us for? And then after His work is done in us, are we prepared to separate ourselves to God even as Jesus did? "For their sakes I sanctify Myself." The reason some of us have not entered into the experience of sanctification is that we have not realized the meaning of sanctification from God's standpoint. Sanctification means being made one with Jesus so that the disposition that ruled Him will rule us. Are we prepared for what that will cost? It will cost everything that is not of God in us. (Ref)

 

F B Meyer has several quotes on holiness...

 

Jesus is within (our) spirit, which has been regenerated by the Holy Ghost; but in too many cases He is limited to a very small corner of our nature, and exercises but a limited power over our life. There needs to be an anointing, an enthroning, a determination that He shall exercise His power over the entire Temple of our Being; the spirit, which stands for the Holy of Holies; the soul, for the Holy Place; the body, for the outer court. Holiness or Sanctification is not a quality or attribute which can be attributed to us apart from the indwelling of the Holy One. If we would be holy, we must be indwelt by Him who is holy. If we would have holiness, we must be infilled by the Holy One. But there must be no limiting of His power, no barrier to His control, no veiling or curtaining of His light. The veil, if such there be, must be rent in twain from the top to the bottom. (Our Daily Homily comment on 2Kings 11:12)

 

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2Chronicles 20:21 He appointed singers unto the lord, that should praise the beauty of holiness. Dost thou praise the beauty of holiness? Is holiness beautiful to thee? Art thou in love with it as it is presented in the glorious Lord? Canst thou turn from the noise and anxiety of life’s battle to dwell on the loveliness of God and of the devout life, and to praise Him whose mercy endureth forever? It is a rare accomplishment, acquired only through the indwelling of the Holy Ghost. In each of us there should be the priest-side of character as well as the warrior: the love for what is beautiful in holiness as well as for the strong and active in service. (Our Daily Homily comment on 2Chronicles 20:21)

 

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Holiness is wholeness--that is, the whole-hearted devotion of a whole nature to God, the consecration of every power to His service. This leads us to lean hard on God, and to seek His companionship and fellowship. (F B Meyer. Our Daily Walk)

 

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Earth is linked with heaven...By daily fellowship and holy thought. — We should practice the sense of God’s presence, often stopping ourselves amid our ordinary avocations and interests to say, aloud when possible, “God is near, God is here.” In all likelihood we are daily living amid the glories of the eternal world; but our eyes are blinded. Oh that by humility and purity we may become more sensitive, and awake to the things that are unseen and eternal! Lord, open our eyes, that we may see! (2Kings 6:17). (Our Daily Homily comment on Genesis 28:12)

 

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The urgent demand for holiness. — The ordinary processes of life are not necessarily clean because they are natural. The foul heart may vitiate the most natural functions. We must bring the thought of God into the simplest, the commonest, and the most secret acts. Nothing is outside his jurisdiction. Though hid from sight, yet He is ever near the child of God. His grace, and blood, and cleansing, are always requisite, and ever ready. Amidst and after every act, incident, and episode of life, we should be quiet before God, considering if we have aught to confess, and asking to be ever kept from staining our white robes. (Leviticus 15:7)

 

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Leviticus 19:2 I am the Lord your God. - This is the refrain of the entire chapter; count how many times it recurs. Evidently the thought of God should ring out in our lives, as a perpetual chime. Sometimes as an inspiration to duty. We should seek to be holy because He is holy. “Imitators of God.” Or as a remonstrance (an earnest presentation of reasons for opposition or grievance) against yielding to temptation. Lo, God is in this place; his pure eye is upon me: how can I do this great wickedness! Or as an incentive to liberality. We can afford to be generous to the poor and hireling, because we are children of so great and rich a parent. Or as a reason for merry and gentle kindness. How can we act otherwise than lovingly, when his love encompasses us with its persuasive bands? Thus the perpetual consciousness of God becomes the source of holy and happy living. But how may it become ours? We may make many resolutions, only to break them. We forget after our most definite purposing. There is no help but in the Holy Spirit, whose office it is to teach us all things, and bring all things to our remembrance. He is able also to help our infirmity: “for we know not how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit Himself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.” In the morning let the thought of God’s presence with you in your secret closet sink well into your heart. Wait till his presence is made real to you, and you cry, Lo, God is here. Then entrust yourself to the Holy Spirit, asking Him to keep you in the current of the love and thought of God. Reckon on Him to do so. Now and then in the course of daily duty stop and remember God. Thus you will live in his fear and love all the day long.

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Leviticus 22:4 - He shall not eat of the holy things till he be clean. The holy things referred to here are the offerings made by Israel to Jehovah, a part of which was presented to God in fire, and the rest partaken of by the priests and their families. None, however, might feed on them whilst ceremonially unclean. This suggests some useful precautions for ourselves, if we would fully enjoy the privileges and blessings attending the worship of the holy God. We must be clean before we can enjoy the private reading of the Word of God. — We would wash our hands, soiled with the dust and grime of toil, before opening an exquisitely printed copy of the Scriptures; how much more should we seek cleansing at the hands of Christ before we feed on the holy things of Scripture! We must be clean before entering the House of God. — It is a holy habit for each intending worshipper to be quiet before leaving the house on the Lord’s day; or to use carefully the moment of the bent head at the commencement of the public service, in order that the soul may be made clean from any contracted stain, and resolve henceforth to abstain from all evil. We must be clean before partaking of the Lord’s Supper. — There we feed upon the bread of God; and as we wash our hands before we sit at the table of a friend, so should our hearts be cleansed ere we partake of the emblems of the body and blood of Christ. Holiness becomes God’s house. Those that ascend the hill of the Lord must have clean hands and a pure heart. The reason why religious exercises do not profit you, may lie in your failure to comply with this demand. “He shall not eat of the holy things until he be clean.” (Our Daily Homily)

 

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J I Packer in his book "Rediscovering Holiness" wrote that...

 

The focus of health in the soul is humility, while the root of inward corruption is pride. In the spiritual life, nothing stands still. If we are not constantly growing downward into humility, we shall be steadily swelling up and running to seed under the influence of pride.

 

E. M. Bounds exhorts us to...

 

Study universal holiness of life. Your whole usefulness depends on this.

 

John Owen wrote that...

 

Some would have moral virtue to be holiness, which (as they suppose) they can understand by their own reason and practice in their own strength. . . . Gospel truth is the only root whereon Gospel holiness will grow.

 

He leads none to heaven but whom He sanctifies on the earth. This living Head will not admit of dead members.

 

There is no imagination wherewith man is besotted, more foolish, none so pernicious as this—that persons not purified not sanctified, not made holy in their life, should afterwards be taken into that state of blessedness which consists in the enjoyment of God. Neither can such persons enjoy God, nor would God be a reward to them. Holiness indeed is perfected in heaven: but the beginning of it is invariably confined to this world.

 

Richard Cudworth explains that holiness is...

 

not... the mere performance of outward duties of religion, coldly acted over, as a task; not our habitual prayings, hearings, fastings, multiplied one upon another (though these be all good, as subservient to a higher end); but I mean an inward soul and principle of divine life (Romans 8:1-see notes, Ro 8:2, 3, 4, 5), that spiriteth all these.

 

Leonard Ravenhill

 

The greatest miracle that God can do today is to take an unholy man out of an unholy world, and make that man holy and put him back into that unholy world and keep him holy in it.

 

Thomas Case (Puritan) writes that...

 

It is no small advantage to the holy life to “begin the day with God.” The saints are wont to leave their hearts with Him over night, that they may find them with Him in the morning. Before earthly things break in upon us, and we receive impressions from abroad, it is good to season the heart with thoughts of God, and to consecrate the early and virgin operations of the mind before they are prostituted to baser objects. When the world gets the start of religion in the morning, it can hardly overtake it all the day.

 

See related resources: [1] "Quiet Time": 7 Minutes With God; [2] Quiet Musing--Meditate, Meditation; [3]  Meditate; [4] Primer on Biblical Meditation

 

Thomas Brooks

 

Oh Christians! you must look as well to your spiritual wants as to your spiritual enjoyments; you must look as well to your layings out as to your layings up; you must look as well forward to what you should be, as backward to what you are. Certainly that Christian will never be eminent in holiness that hath many eyes to behold a little holiness, and never an eye to see his further want of holiness.

C. H. Spurgeon had much to say about holiness...here are a few his quotes...

Though you have struggled in vain against your evil habits, though you have wrestled with them sternly, and resolved, and re-resolved, only to be defeated by your giant sins and your terrible passions, there is One who can conquer all your sins for you. There is One who is stronger than Hercules, who can strangle the hydra of your lust, kill the lion of your passions, and cleanse the Augean stable of your evil nature by turning the great rivers of blood and water of his atoning sacrifice right through your soul. He can make and keep you pure within. Oh, look to him!

 

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Holy desires are grace in the blade, and the heavenly Husbandman will cultivate them till they come to the full corn in the ear. God-fearing men desire to be holy, to be useful, to be a blessing to others, and so to honor their Lord. - Faith's Checkbook

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If we divide ourselves between God and mammon, or Christ and self, we shall make no progress. We must give ourselves wholly to holy things, or else we shall be poor traders in heavenly business; and at our stock-taking, no profit will be shown.  Faith's Checkbook

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I believe the holier a man becomes, the more he mourns over the unholiness which remains in him.

 

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A father’s holy life is a rich legacy for his sons.

 

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When filled with holy truth, the mind rests.

 

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Holiness is a good thing, and this He will work in us freely. Victory over evil tendencies, strong tempers, and evil habits, He will gladly grant, and we ought not to remain without it.

 

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The Holy Spirit brings me life and all that life requires. All else without the dew of the Spirit is less than nothing to me: I hear, I read, I pray, I sing, I go to the table of communion, and I find no blessing there until the Holy Ghost visits me. But when He bedews me, every means of grace is sweet and profitable.

 

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THE fear of the Lord is the beginning and the foundation of all true religion. Without a solemn awe and reverence of God, there is no foothold for the more brilliant virtues. He whose soul does not worship will never live in holiness.

 

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Soldiers of Christ, gird on your armor. Strike home in the name of the God of holiness, and by faith grasp His salvation. Let not this day pass without striking a blow for Jesus and holiness.

 

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THESE things cannot be parted—abiding in obedience and abiding in the love of Jesus. A life under the rule of Christ can alone prove that we are the objects of our Lord’s delight. We must keep our Lord’s command if we would bask in His love. If we live in sin, we cannot live in the love of Christ. Without the holiness which pleases God, we cannot please Jesus. He who cares nothing for holiness knows nothing of the love of Jesus. Conscious enjoyment of our Lord’s love is a delicate thing. It is far more sensitive to sin and holiness than mercury is to cold and heat. When we are tender of heart and careful in thought, lip, and life to honor our Lord Jesus, then we receive tokens of His love without number. If we desire to perpetuate such bliss, we must perpetuate holiness. The Lord Jesus will not hide His face from us unless we hide our face from Him. Sin makes the cloud which darkens our Sun: if we will be watchfully obedient and completely consecrated, we may walk in the light, as God is in the light, and have as sure an abiding in the love of Jesus as Jesus has in the love of the Father. Here is a sweet promise with a solemn “if.” Lord, let me have this “if” in my hand; for as a key it opens this casket. Faith's Checkbook

 

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Let us not this day sow to our flesh, for the harvest will be corruption, since flesh always tends that way; but with holy self-conquest let us live for the highest, purest, and most spiritual ends, seeking to honor our most holy Lord by obeying His most gracious Spirit. What a harvest will that be when we reap life everlasting! What sheaves of endless bliss will be reaped! What a festival will that harvest be! Lord, make us such reapers, for thy Son’s sake.

 

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You will not gain holiness by standing still. Nobody ever grew holy without consenting, desiring, and agonizing to be holy. Sin will grow without sowing, but holiness needs cultivation. Follow it; it will not run after you. You must pursue it with determination, with eagerness, with perseverance, as a hunter pursues his prey.

 

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The bloom of the hawthorn or White May looks like snow out in the country, but near the vast city or along the roadside its virgin whiteness is sadly stained. Too often contact with the world has just such an effect on our piety. We must make our way to the far-off garden of Paradise to see holiness in its unsullied purity, and meanwhile we must be much alone with God if we would maintain a gracious life below

 

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While the Christian religion is an internal thing, there is no religion in the world which shows itself so much externally

 

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There can be no such thing as perfect happiness till there is perfect holiness.

 

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I would sooner be holy than happy if the two things could be divorced. Were it possible for a man always to sorrow and yet to be pure, I would choose the sorrow if I might win the purity, for to be free from the power of sin, to be made to love holiness, is true happiness.

 

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A faith which works not for purification will work for putre­faction. Unless our faith makes us pine after holiness, it is no better than the faith of devils, and perhaps it is not even so good as that. A holy man is the workmanship of the Holy Spirit.

 

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We say of a river that it runs to the south, although there may be eddies along the banks which run in an opposite direction to the main stream. Still, these are inconsiderable matters. The main stream of the Thames is running constantly toward the sea, and we speak not untruthfully when we say that it is so. And the main stream and set of the current of the life of a child of God runs toward that which is right and true and holy, both toward God and man. If it is not so with you, you do not know the Lord. You need to be born again...

 

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Of all the griefs the church ever feels, the keenest is when those who once stood in her midst dishonor the name of Christ by unholy living.

 

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Did you ever see a bush burn, and yet not be consumed? Did you ever see a spark float in the sea, and yet not be quenched? Many persons here are, to themselves, just such wonders. They are living godly lives in the midst of temptation, holy in the midst of impurity, serving God in spite of all opposition. They are strange things!.

 

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If your religion does not make you holy, it will damn you. It is simply painted pageantry to go to hell in.

 

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Holiness is better than moral­ity. It goes beyond it. Holiness affects the heart. Holiness re­spects the motive. Holiness re­gards the whole nature of man. A moral man does not do wrong in act; a holy man hates the thought of doing wrong. A moral man does not swear, but a holy man adores. A moral man would not commit outward sin; a holy man would not commit inward sin. And if committed, he would pour forth floods of tears.

 

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"While the Austrian general was staying at the Hotel de Ville, upon the Grand Canal at Venice, I lodged at the same house, and as often as I passed his rooms, whether during the day or at night, I encountered two sentries on guard at the door. My heart said to itself, whenever the King of kings deigns to make a chamber of my spirit, let me set holiness and devotion to be sentries at the entrance. When our Beloved visits us He must not be disturbed. Ill thoughts must be repulsed, and carnal desires kept at a distance. With drawn swords let watchfulness preserve the sanctity of Immanuel's rest. "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, by the roes and by the hinds of the field that ye stir not up nor awake my love, till he please." "For the love of Christ controls us, having concluded this, that one died for all, therefore all died;" (2 Cor 5:14)

 

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“In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD”—Zechariah 14:20 HAPPY day when all things shall be consecrated, and the horses’ bells shall ring out holiness to the Lord! That day has come to me. Do I not make all things holy to God? These garments, when I put them on or take them off, shall they not remind me of the righteousness of Christ Jesus, my Lord? Shall not my work be done as unto the Lord? Oh, that today my clothes may be vestments, my meals sacraments, my house a temple, my table an altar, my speech incense, and myself a priest! Lord, fulfill thy promise, and let nothing be to me common or unclean.

 

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Let me in faith expect this. Believing it to be so, I shall be helped to make it so. As I myself am the property of Jesus, my Lord may take an inventory of all I have for it is altogether His own; and I resolve to prove it to be so by the use to which I put it this day. From morning till evening, I would order all things by a happy and holy rule. My bells shall ring: why should they not? Even my horses shall have bells: who has such a right to music as the saints have? But all my bells, my music, my mirth shall be turned to holiness and shall ring out the name of “The Happy God.” - Faith's Checkbook

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 There is nothing which my heart desires more than to see you, the members of this church, distinguished for holiness. It is the Christian's crown and glory. An unholy church! It is of no use to the world and of no esteem among men. Oh, it is an abomi­nation, hell's laughter, heaven's abhorrence. And the larger the church, the more influential, the worse nuisance does it become when it becomes unholy. The worst evils which have ever come upon the world have been brought upon her by an unholy church

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In proportion as a church is holy, in that proportion will its testimony for Christ be powerful

 

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Holiness is better than moral­ity. It goes beyond it. Holiness affects the heart. Holiness re­spects the motive. Holiness re­gards the whole nature of man. A moral man does not do wrong in act; a holy man hates the thought of doing wrong. A moral man does not swear, but a holy man adores. A moral man would not commit outward sin; a holy man would not commit inward sin. And if committed, he would pour forth floods of tears.

 

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There can be no such thing as perfect happiness till there is perfect holiness.

 

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A faith which works not for purification will work for putrefaction. Unless our faith makes us pine after holiness, it is no better than the faith of devils, and perhaps it is not even so good as that.

 

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In holiness God is more clearly seen than in anything else, save in the person of Christ Jesus the Lord, of whose life such holiness is but a repetition

Spurgeon commenting on the truth that God "saved us and called us with a holy calling" (2 Timothy 1:9-see note) wrote that...

The apostle uses the perfect tense (completed action at a point in time in the past with continuing effect/result) and says, "Who hath saved us." Believers in Christ Jesus are saved. They are not looked upon as persons who are in a hopeful state, and may ultimately be saved, but they are already saved. Salvation is not a blessing to be enjoyed upon the dying bed, and to be sung of in a future state above, but a matter to be obtained, received, promised, and enjoyed now. The Christian is perfectly saved in God's purpose; God has ordained him unto salvation, and that purpose is complete. He is saved also as to the price which has been paid for him: "It is finished" was the cry of the Saviour ere he died. The believer is also perfectly saved in his covenant head, for as he fell in Adam, so he lives in Christ. This complete salvation is accompanied by a holy calling. Those whom the Saviour saved upon the cross are in due time effectually called by the power of God the Holy Spirit unto holiness: they leave their sins; they endeavour to be like Christ; they choose holiness, not out of any compulsion, but from the stress of a new nature, which leads them to rejoice in holiness just as naturally as aforetime they delighted in sin. God neither chose them nor called them because they were holy, but he called them that they might be holy, and holiness is the beauty produced by his workmanship in them. The excellencies which we see in a believer are as much the work of God as the atonement itself. Thus is brought out very sweetly the fulness of the grace of God. Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord is the author of it: and what motive but grace could move him to save the guilty? Salvation must be of grace, because the Lord works in such a manner that our righteousness is for ever excluded. Such is the believer's privilege-a present salvation; such is the evidence that he is called to it-a holy life. (Morning and Evening)

Spurgeon commenting on Jesus' command to "sanctify them through Thy truth" (John 17:17) reasoned that...

Sanctification begins in regeneration. The Spirit of God infuses into man that new living principle by which he becomes "a new creature" in Christ Jesus (Ed note: He is "positionally" holy in Christ at this point in time). This work, which begins in the new birth, is carried on in two ways-mortification, whereby the lusts of the flesh are subdued and kept under; and vivification, by which the life which God has put within us is made to be a well of water springing up unto everlasting life. This is carried on every day in what is called "perseverance," by which the Christian is preserved and continued in a gracious state, and is made to abound in good works unto the praise and glory of God; and it culminates or comes to perfection, in "glory," when the soul, being thoroughly purged, is caught up to dwell with holy beings at the right hand of the Majesty on high. But while the Spirit of God is thus the author of sanctification, yet there is a visible agency employed which must not be forgotten. "Sanctify them," said Jesus, "through thy truth: thy word is truth." The passages of Scripture which prove that the instrument of our sanctification is the Word of God are very many. The Spirit of God brings to our minds the precepts and doctrines of truth, and applies them with power. These are heard in the ear, and being received in the heart, they work in us to will and to do of God's good pleasure. The truth is the sanctifier, and if we do not hear or read the truth, we shall not grow in sanctification. We only progress in sound living as we progress in sound understanding. "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path." Do not say of any error, "It is a mere matter of opinion." No man indulges an error of judgment, without sooner or later tolerating an error in practice. Hold fast the truth, for by so holding the truth shall you be sanctified by the Spirit of God. (Morning and Evening)

Spurgeon comments on the relationship of faith and true holiness writing that...

You will never find true faith unattended by true godliness; nor will you ever discover a truly holy life which does not have at its root a living faith based upon the righteousness of Christ. Woe to those who seek one without the other! There are some who cultivate faith and forget holiness. These may be very high in orthodoxy, but they shall be very deep in condemnation, for they hold the truth in unrighteousness. There are others who have strained after holiness of life, but have denied the faith, like the Pharisees whom the Master said were ‘whitewashed sepulchers.’ We must have faith, for this is the foundation; we must have holiness of life, for this is the superstructure. We need the superstructure of spiritual life if we would have comfort in the day of doubt. But do not seek a holy life without faith, for that would be to erect a house which can afford no permanent shelter, because it is not founded on a rock.

Spurgeon relates holiness to election:

Some say, "It is unfair for God to choose some and leave others." Now, I will ask you one question: Is there any of you here who wishes to be holy, who wishes to be regenerate, to leave off sin and walk in holiness? "Yes, there is," says someone. "I do!" Then God has elected you. But another says, "No, I don't want to be holy; I don't want to give up my lusts and my vices." Why should you grumble, then, that God has not elected you? For if you were elected, you would not like it, according to your own confession.

J. C. Ryle has some pithy comments on the need for saints to "pursue holiness"

"I do not know what others may think, but to me it does seem clear that heaven would be a miserable place to an unholy man. It cannot be otherwise. People may say in a vague way they “hope to go to heaven,” but they do not consider what they say. There must be a certain “meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light.” Our hearts must be somewhat in tune. To reach the holiday of glory, we must pass through the training school of grace. We must be heavenly–minded and have heavenly tastes in the life that now is, or else we will never find ourselves in heaven in the life to come." (read entire sermon "Holiness")

 

I doubt, indeed, whether we have any warrant for saying that a man can possibly be converted without being consecrated to God. More consecrated he doubtless can be, and will be as his grace increases; but if he was not consecrated to God in the very day that he was converted and born again, I do not know what conversion means. (See J. C. Ryle’s book Holiness considered by many as the best book on the Christian life ever written other than The Book!),

F B Meyer says that

Holiness is wholeness--that is, the whole-hearted devotion of a whole nature to God, the consecration of every power to His service. This leads us to lean hard on God, and to seek His companionship and fellowship. (Our Daily Walk, Feb 18th)

J. Vernon McGee has these helpful comments on the not too popular topic of "holiness":

"Holy" does not mean sinless perfection, a condition impossible in this life (1Jn 1:8, 9, 10). Holiness is that is very misunderstood. To the average person, holiness means to assume a very pious attitude, to become almost abnormal in everyday life. It is thought to be a superficial thing. My friend, the Lord wants you to be a fully integrated personality. He wants you to enjoy life and have fun—I don’t mean the sinful kind of fun, but real delight and enjoyment in the life He has given to you. Holiness is to the spiritual life what health is to the physical life. You like to see a person who is physically fine, robust, and healthy. Well, holiness is to be healthy and robust spiritually. Oh, how we need folk like this today!"

In an excellent synopsis of what holiness looks like and why it is imperative for believers, J C Ryle writes that

"(a) Holiness is the habit of agreeing with the mind with God, in accordance as we find His mind described in Scripture...(b) A holy person will endeavor to turn away from every known sin, and to keep every known commandment.... (c) A holy person will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ... (d) A holy person will pursue meekness, endurance, gentleness, patience, kindness, and control of their tongue... (e) A holy person will pursue self-control and self-denial... (f) A holy person will pursue love and brotherly kindness.... (g) A holy person will pursue a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others... (h) A holy person will pursue purity of heart... (i) A holy person will pursue the fear of God.... (j) A holy man will pursue humility.... (k) A holy man will pursue faithfulness in all the duties and relationships in life.... (l) Last, but not least, a holy person will pursue spiritual mindedness." (Read Holiness by J. C. Ryle for discussion of each point and practical application)

Pastor Ray Stedman writes

"When I was younger, most people thought of holiness as grimness. I did not like "holy" people....Holy people never smiled and never enjoyed anything. In fact, if they did enjoy anything, they felt guilty about it!...They looked like they had been soaked in embalming fluid. They were grim and dull; they frowned on anything that was fun or pleasurable. But that is not holiness. I like the good English word wholeness, which also derives from the same root [Ed. note: New Unger's Bible Dictionary" says it is "from Saxon, 'halig,' 'whole,' 'sound'"...it is moral wholeness...with reference to persons, places & things")  Everybody wants to be a whole person....to have together all the parts which were intended to be there, and to have them functioning as they were intended to function....The Old Testament speaks about "the beauty of holiness" {1Chr 16:29, 2Chr 20:21, Ps 29:2, 96:9}, the inner attractiveness that is apparent when someone begins to function inwardly as he or she was intended. What this says is that God is designing beautiful people! That is what he wants. And not merely outwardly beautiful people like those we see on television, but inwardly beautiful people. He is more interested in inward beauty, in making admirable, trustworthy, strong, loving, compassionate people -- having all the qualities which make for inner beauty. That is what God calls wholeness, and that is his will for you." (Read Pastor Stedman's complete message Handling your Sex Drive)

In the Booklet Why Would Anyone Want To Be Holy we read that...

"The key to living a holy, Christ-like life is not simply to attend church, try harder, read the Bible, or take a stand against Satan and his lies--as important as all those actions are. The key is this: We are to live the Christian life the way we began it--depend on God's grace and place all our hope and trust in Him. [Ed Note: Jehovah MeKeddeshem, the LORD Who Sanctifies] The apostle Paul put it this way, "Just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him" (Col 2:6-note)....In a footnote in The Discipline of Grace (NavPress, 1994), author Jerry Bridges writes, "I am aware that a vast number of professing Christians display little or no commitment to spiritual growth or discipleship, and for them the Christian life is no more than the mere formalities of attending church and avoiding scandalous behavior" (p.233)...What do you think? Do you agree with him? Are you assessing your own degree of passion for spiritual growth and discipleship? Are we coasting through life without examining our attitudes and actions in the light of God's Word? Do we view ourselves as pretty decent individuals who don't do any of the "big" sins that get people tossed into jail or out of churches? It's easy to begin to coast spiritually. After all, growth requires hard work. It means sacrificing some short-range "want to's" for some long-range "need to's" that will honor the Lord. There are no quick fixes. Mountaintop spiritual thrills are followed by valleys of spiritual battles and even crushing failures. Becoming holy and Christ-like takes a lifetime. Summarize in your own words the key ways that holiness is to be evidenced in your daily life. What is your greatest struggle right now in your pursuit of holiness? What is God telling you to do as you rely on Him? Take a few moments to pray and respond to what God has said in His Word." (Ref)

R. C. Sproul (from his book "The Holiness of God") reminds us that

"Only once in sacred Scripture is an attribute of God elevated to the third degree. Only once is a characteristic of God mentioned three times in succession. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. Not that He is merely holy, or even holy, holy. He is holy, holy, holy. The Bible never says that God is love, love, love, or mercy, mercy, mercy, or wrath, wrath, wrath, or justice, justice, justice. It does say that He is holy, holy, holy, the whole earth is full of His glory." [Ed note: Hebrew repeats words for emphasis or to show degrees of comparison. E.g., if you said a stone was big it would mean one thing but if in Hebrew you said the stone was ''big big'', you would mean it was a really big stone. And if it was big, big, big, it would mean that it was really big, a veritable gigantic boulder. And so the triplicate "Holy" signifies God is "really holy". A familiar verse is Isaiah 26:3 "The steadfast of mind Thou will keep in perfect peace, because he trusts in Thee." where "perfect peace" is literally "shalom, shalom" or "peace, peace".]

Bob Deffinbaugh writes that

Holiness is the choice to march to the beat of a different drum... The desires which characterize the fallen world we live in once dominated us. These desires are themselves to be rejected and replaced by new desires. This is what holiness is all about—not just doing what God wants, but desiring those things in which He delights. (Deffinbaugh: A Call to Holiness)

Augustine said

Let the acts of the offspring indicate similarity to the Father.

John Calvin reminds of the obvious truth that

No one leads a holy life except he is united to God. [Ed note: specifically to  Jehovah Mekeddeshem Who makes His people holy!]

Chuck Colson in his book "Loving God" observed that 

Holiness is the everyday business of every Christian. It evidences itself in the decisions we make and the things we do, hour by hour, day by day.

Jerry Bridges in his book The Pursuit of Holiness makes the following observations:

"Our first problem is that our attitude towards sin is more self-centered than God-centered. We are more concerned about our own "Victory" over sin than we are about the fact that our sin grieves the heart of God. We cannot tolerate failure in our struggle with sin chiefly because we are success oriented, not because we know it is offensive to God...the pursuit of holiness is a joint venture between God (Ed note: Jehovah Mekeddeshem) and the Christian. No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life, but just as surely no one will attain it without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But He has given to us the responsibility of doing the walking; He does not do that for us...holiness is a process, something we never completely attain in this life. Rather, as we begin to conform to the will of God in one area of life, He reveals to us our need in another area. That is why we will always be pursuing - as opposed to attaining - holiness in this life...The idea of exactly how to be holy has suffered from many false concepts. In some circles, holiness is equated with a series of prohibitions - usually in such areas as smoking, drinking & dancing. The list of prohibitions varies depending on the group. When we follow this approach to holiness, we are in danger of becoming like the Pharisees with their endless lists of trivial do's and don'ts, and their self-righteous attitude. For others, it means a particular style of dress and mannerisms. And for still others, it means unattainable perfection, an idea that fosters either delusion or discouragement about one's sin. All of these ideas, while accurate to some degree, miss the true concept. To be holy is to be morally blameless. It is to be separated from sin and, therefore, consecrated to God. The word signifies " separation to God, and the conduct befitting those so separated." (Jerry Bridges excellent and practical book The Pursuit of Holiness is highly recommended).

Pastor Bruce Goettsche (The Holiness of God -  Isaiah 6:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8) gives a semi-humorous (but sadly true) description of how most Evangelicals often envision Holiness

"Have you ever gone fishing in a polluted river & hauled out an old shoe, a tea kettle, or a rusty can? I get a similar sort of catch if I cast as a bait the word holiness into the murky depths of my mind. To my dismay I come up with such associations as: thinness, hollow-eyed gauntness, beards, sandals, long robes, stone cells, no sex, no jokes, hair shirts, frequent cold baths, fasting, hours of prayer, wild rocky deserts, getting up at 4 A.M., clean fingernails, stained glass, self-humiliation. But that is not what God is calling us to. He is calling us to a Christ-like living. We are to be set aside for the service of the Lord. The person who is living the life of holiness will be humbly aware of their forgiveness and yet diligent in seeking to eliminate any trace of sin from their lives. They will be people who are constantly saying, "Here am I Lord," use me and lead me as you deem best....The person who has begun to understand God’s holiness is a person who is changed. The idea of an unchanged Christian is a contradiction in terms. If you are not pursuing holiness, (Heb 12:14) there is a good chance you are not a child of God...no matter how long you have been in the church. (Read Eph 5:1-see notes, Eph 5:2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7 ; see also Wayne Barber's sermon on Eph 5:1ff)

Walter Kaiser in his book "Quest for Renewal" writes that in all Old Testament revivals:

"There was a deep sense of sin and an overpowering desire to separate themselves from it and from all its sponsoring causes. Such divinely induced anxiety and agonizing conviction of sin needs no prompting or psychological maneuvering. The work is uniquely that of the Holy Spirit. The failures of the past, even those that have been forgotten, suddenly become so real and so painfully present that no amount of comfort or personal rationalization will assuage the terrible pressure of individual guilt and heartbreak. Accordingly, so spontaneous and thorough should be the conviction and simultaneous hatred of sin that there will be no need to plead with men and women to make any decisions."

Someone has characterized the average professing Christian's pursuit of holiness as follows:

"Some professing Christians spend the first six days of each week sowing their wild oats, then they go to church on Sunday and pray for a crop failure."

There is a myth that exists that says we can live comfortably in our world of faith and then flirt with the world. God calls us to another standard."

W. S. Plumer said,

“We never see sin aright until we see it as against God...All sin is against God in this sense: that it is His law that is broken, His authority that is despised, His government that is set at naught...Pharaoh and Balaam, Saul and Judas each said, ‘I have sinned’; but the returning prodigal said, ‘I have sinned against heaven and before thee’; and David said, ‘Against Thee, Thee only have I sinned.’”

Whatever else the professing Christian church may be known for today—great crowds, expensive buildings, big budgets, political clout—it’s not distinguished for its holiness. Bible-believing evangelical Christians make up a sizable minority in the United States, but our presence isn’t making much of an impact on society. The salt seems to have lost its saltiness, and the light is so well hidden that the marketplace is quite dark. Eight times in Scripture, God said to His people, “Be holy, for I am holy!” This is one of the major themes of Leviticus, a book that teaches us how to avoid sin and how to grow in holiness.

J C Ryle writes that
 

"Holiness will show itself in all their conversation, in humility, spiritual-mindedness, patience, meekness and love. There will be something that can be seen. The true work of the Holy Spirit cannot be hidden." (Ryle, J. C. Mark)

Dave Roper commenting on "holiness" writes
 

"I don't know what comes to your mind when you hear the word "holy," but initially I had a very distorted idea. I thought in terms of hair shirts and hermits like Simon Stylites, who spent his life sitting on a pole to isolate himself from the world. Someone who is isolated, withdrawn, who has no contact with reality--that is the picture which often comes to mind when we think of holiness. But this passage indicates, rather, that holiness is conformity to the character of God; it is being godlike. "Be holy," God said, "because I am holy." In the character of God, you see everything you have ever wanted out of life. There is love, compassion, grace, and justice. There is strength, courage, mercy, self-control, poise, power-- everything that we as men and women have ever desired. That is what holiness is-being like God-- and that is what God calls us to." (Read his full message A Secular Salvation)

Raymond Ortlund makes an interesting observation regarding what it means to "be holy" writing that
 

The logical coherence of our passage tells us what holiness is. Look at verse 14: "As obedient children" That's it. That's holiness. Holy people are God's obedient children. Holiness obeys the Word of God because he's our good Father in heaven who has secured us forever in his love. Through Christ, God has adopted us rebels as his own children. He has poured out upon us family privilege - constant access to him in prayer, for instance. He's preparing a place for us in his eternal home. As obedient children, therefore, we embrace holiness not as a degraded slavery or a hands-off prudishness or stained glass religiosity or a culture of respectability. Holiness cannot be any of these distortions, because holiness radiates from the being of God our gracious Father. "Be holy, because I am holy." Look at the true saints of history. They've had rich human personalities. They were not herded into a one-size-fits-all narrowness. They're the people in history you'd really like to hang out with, like Augustine and Edwards and C. S. Lewis and Eric Liddell. Holiness is a human being so obeying God as Father that the family resemblance begins to show. Holiness is God's personality beautifying your personality. (From a sermon on 1Peter 1:13-note, 1Pe 1:14-note, 1Pe 1:15, 16)

A W Tozer commenting on 1 Peter 1:15, 16 ("be holy as I am holy" - see expository notes on 1 Peter 1:15; 1 Peter 1:16) wrote that...

The Holy Spirit is first of all a moral flame. It is not an accident of language that He is called the Holy Spirit, for whatever else the word holy may mean it does undoubtedly carry with it the idea of moral purity. And the Spirit, being God, must be absolutely and infinitely pure. With Him there are not (as with men) grades and degrees of holiness. He is holiness itself, the sum and essence of all that is unspeakably pure.

No one whose senses have been exercised to know good and evil but must grieve over the sight of zealous souls seeking to be filled with the Holy Spirit while they are yet living in a state of moral carelessness or borderline sin. Such a thing is a moral contradiction. Whoever would be filled and indwelt by the Spirit should first judge his life for any hidden iniquities; he should courageously expel from his heart everything which is out of accord with the character of God as revealed by the Holy Scriptures.

At the base of all true Christian experience must he a sound and sane morality. No joys are valid, no delights legitimate where sin is allowed to live in life or conduct. No transgression of pure righteousness dare excuse itself on the ground of superior religious experience. To seek high emotional states while living in sin is to throw our whole life open to self deception and the judgment of God. "Be ye holy" is not a mere motto to be framed and hung on the wall. It is a serious commandment from the Lord of the whole earth. "Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded. Be afflicted, and mourn, and weep: let your laughter be turned into mourning, and your joy into heaviness" (James 4:8-9). The true Christian ideal is not to be happy but to be holy. The holy heart alone can be the habitation of the Holy Ghost.

Warren Wiersbe recounted the following experience as an example of the trivialization of holiness...

"We will stand and sing hymn 325,” announced the worship leader, “ ‘Take Time to Be Holy.’ We will sing verses one and four.” If I had been sitting with the congregation instead of on the platform, I might have laughed out loud. Imagine a Christian congregation singing “Take Time to Be Holy” and not even taking time to sing the entire song! If we can’t take the time (less than four minutes) to sing a song about holiness, we’re not likely to take time to devote ourselves to “perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” (see notes 2Corinthians 7:1).

Happiness, not holiness, is the chief pursuit of most people today, including many professed Christians.

Holiness in the Biblical sense means to be untouched by the normal, the routine, or the ordinary, which is marred by imperfection, corrosion and decay. Holiness means to be set aside for God’s special purposes. We’re to be set apart and different, not blending in with the crowd, yet not being different for the sake of being different.

John Newton (Amazing Grace) admitted:

"I am not what I might be, I am not what I ought to be, I am not what I wish to be, I am not what I hope to be. But I thank God I am not what I once was, and I can say with the great apostle, “By the grace of God I am what I am.”

Quietists downplay or totally disregard the believer’s effort necessary in the pursuing of holiness (just "let go & let God") and thereby risk promoting spiritual irresponsibility and apathy. On the other hand, Pietists can tend to overemphasize human effort and thereby inflame people’s pride or lapse into legalism

Sanctification does not primarily mean perfection (although some would disagree with this statement) but instead refers to separation. Separation from sin is now the direction of our lives, and someday separation from sin's pull & sin's pleasure. Sanctification is both an event and a lifelong process as discussed in the Three Tenses of Salvation. Sanctification should not be confused with false standards of holiness, adopted by those who, like the Pharisees, attempt to be holy through external means, or who, like the Stoics, have a passionless devotion to duty, or who, like monks, isolate themselves from the world, or who, like quasi-Christian psychologists, replace sanctification with introspection, self-analysis, and improvement of one’s self-image. True holiness begins with a love for Christ Himself. That’s what compels you toward greater sanctification.

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Last Updated July, 2013

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