I began to work today on a teaching I will be sharing with a half a dozen guys I have the awesome priviledge of mentoring once a month.
This month we will be discussing personal holiness. As Christians, our faith rests on what Christ did, once for all, on the cross. No works can help what has already been done. Our faith simply rests on his grace and mercy there.
Christ calls us, beyond our salvation, to follow him to the cross - to die to our sinful nature and to offer our lives to God.
I spent much time today in the Scripture, searching most of the New Testament for verses pertaining to holiness. Below I share the treasure load with you, and lay down a pattern of four stepping stones to holiness:
1. Seek God often
The more we get around God, the more we take on his nature.
Holiness is not the absence of sin, but the Presence of God. -unknown
2. Strive to be holy
Recognize God expects us to try our best to be holy.
Stay far from sin (Proverbs 5:8, 7:25)
Get rid of things that cause you to sin (Matthew 5:27-30)
Abstain from evil (1 Peter 2:11)
Look for the way out of temptation (1 Cor 10:13)
3. Stir Each Other after God
Encourage each other after God (Hebrews 10:24)
Confess sins to each other (James 5:16)
Pick each other up (Ecclesiastes 4:10)
4. Sit still and Know God is Helping
God knows our weaknesses and has gone through temptation too (Hebrews 2:18, 4:15-16)
God will provide a way out of temptation (1 Cor 10:13)
God will finish the work he started in our lives (Philippians 1:6)
God will teach us how to be holy in our individual circumstances (1 John 2:26-27)
God will give us strength (Philippians 4:13)
Three additional items to remember about personal holiness are:
- Temptation is not sin. Rather, can become sin if we allow it (James 1:13-15)
- We will always have hidden faults & be imperfect before God, our goal should be mainly to rid our lives of willful sin and not let sin master us (Psalm 19:12-13)
- I believe there are levels of sin. While James 2:10-13 refers to every person becoming a lawbreaker no matter the sin (and point out the need of every person for forgiveness in Christ, no matter the sin), the New Testament often speaks of levels of sin (see Hebrews 6:1, 9:14; 1 John 5:16-17) Let's not allow the excuse that "we all have sin," to lead us to being comfortable with greater and greater wickedness.