One of God’s attributes is His holiness. This is seen throughout the Bible, but is very evident throughout the book of Leviticus in the description of God’s requirements to approach Him. He cannot abide sin. This is why Jesus had to live a righteous life in our place and die to pay the penalty for our sins. When we place our faith in Christ, turning from our sins, Christ’s righteousness is given to us while our sins are washed away by His blood. God is then able to have a relationship with us.
As we grow in this relationship, God desires that we become more like Christ, which means (among other things) that we are to grow in holiness. 1 Peter 1:15-16 tells us “but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.'” (ESV)
Over the last year or so God has been really teaching me regarding His holiness and how I view sin. With the study of Moses and the Israelites, reading through Leviticus and Numbers, God’s holiness is prominent throughout these books. Then a ladies group I’m in read through Jerry Bridges’ The Pursuit of Holiness together. Quite the convicting book! We don’t often think about how horribly awful our sin is to a holy God. One of the areas that God has been showing me is in the area of television and movies. Sexual innuendo is rampant throughout most TV shows these days. And celebration of sex outside of marriage is commonplace. These are not okay to a holy God. Jesus died a horrible death to pay for these sins that we casually watch on our TV screens. I have found that I no longer have interest in most movies or TV shows now as they portray sin as a normal part of life and even celebrate it.
The battle to be holy is constant and relentless, particularly in the world we live in. Guarding our minds is a challenge. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about the following things: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” In the battle for holiness, this is a good reminder. What we read, what we watch, the things that we dwell on – are these things that are helping us to be more holy? If not, shouldn’t we eliminate them from our lives?
Some quotes to consider from the book Holiness by J.C. Ryle:
“It is a solemn thing to hear the Word of God saying, ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord’ (Heb. 12:14).”
“Surely that man must be in an unhealthy state of soul who can think of all that Jesus suffered, and yet cling to those sins for which that suffering was undergone.”
“He sees his own many sins, his weak heart, a tempting world, a busy devil; and if he looked only at them, he might well despair. But he sees also a mighty Savior, an interceding Savior, a sympathizing Savior – His blood, His righteousness, His everlasting priesthood – and he believes that all this is his own. He sees Jesus and casts his whole weight on Him.”
“If any reader of this message really feels that he has counted the cost and taken up the cross, I bid him persevere and press on. I dare say you often feel your heart faint and are sorely tempted to give up in despair. Your enemies seem so many, your besetting sins so strong, your friends so few, the way so steep and narrow, you hardly know what to do. But still I say, persevere and press on.”
“The nearer he draws to God and the more he sees of God’s holiness and perfections, the more thoroughly is he sensible of his own countless imperfections.”
*Part of this post was originally posted on Sojourner: Between Worlds in July 2015