Expositional commentary on Scripture using an inductive exegetical methodology intent upon confronting the lives of Christians with the dogmatic Truths of God's inspired Words opposing Calvinism and Arminianism, Biblical commentary, doctrine of grace enablement, understanding holiness and wisdom and selfishness, in-depth Bible studies, adult Bible Study books and Sunday School materials Dr. Lance T. Ketchum Line Upon Line: Holiness: Being God’s Holy Hands

Monday, September 17, 2007

Holiness: Being God’s Holy Hands

“6 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: 7 That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: 8 Whom having not seen, ye love; in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: 9 Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. 10 Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: 11 Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. 12 Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into. 13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Peter 1:6-16).

Seldom do Christians realized the significance of the human agent in the purposes and plan of God. God has chosen to use individual people to carry out His plan and to fulfill His purposes. God almost always uses human agents to answer prayer. If someone has a need, God will use a human agent to meet that need. The gospel of Jesus Christ will not be preached apart from the human agent.

“13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things” (Romans 10:13-15)!

God has provided all that is necessary for the salvation of every person in the world. The responsibility to reach those people for Jesus Christ falls completely upon the shoulders of the saved. The fact that God uses of the human agent in doing His work and fulfilling His purposes is the critical reason why all Christians need to live holy lives. We are God’s hands, feet and mouth. When God wants to love someone, He uses a human agent to do so. God is holy. Therefore, the hands, feet, mouths and hearts God uses must be holy before He can use them.

Holiness is the outward manifestation of the inward work of God’s enabling grace through the indwelling Holy Spirit. Holiness is not something we do. Holiness is something we are (“be ye holy). Holiness happens when the believer yields his will gate to the Holy Spirit in obedience to the Word of God. It will never happen any other way. The kind of true, Biblical holiness that God uses must be Holy Spirit produced holiness. Sinners cannot be holy apart from the Holy Spirit.

Secondly, holiness is defined by truth and is produced through faithful obedience to God‘s Word. The Holy Spirit uses the Word of God to convict of sin (what is wrong), righteousness (what is right) and judgment (chastisement for wrong doing).

“7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. 8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; 11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged” (John 16:7-11).

The word “reprove” in John 16:8 is from the Greek word elegcho (el-eng'-kho). It means to convince or convict a person about something. When a person has a conviction, he is fully convinced that something is either absolutely wrong (sin) or absolutely right (righteous). A conviction changes us inwardly. Once we have a conviction, we own that truth as part of who we are. It transforms our life. It changes us from within. We cannot say we have a conviction if that truth does not compel us to stop the sinful practice or compel us to begin doing what God wants us to do. Conviction is always connected to change.

That is what the Bible word for faith means. The word “faith” in the New Testament is usually translated from the Greek word pistis (pis'-tis). Faith is a word that refers to conviction of the truth of anything. In the New Testament, faith is used of a conviction or belief respecting man’s relationship to God and divine things, generally with the included idea of trust and holy fervor. It never refers to a mere intellectual belief in something. When the Bible talks about “the faith,” God is referring to the whole body of revealed, inscripturalized truth intended to be translated into the language of living. Spiritual growth is measured by the degree a believer puts flesh on (embodies) “the faith.”

“1 Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God, 2 (Which he had promised afore by his prophets in the holy scriptures,) 3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead: 5 By whom we have received grace and apostleship, for obedience to the faith among all nations, for his name” (Romans 1:1-5).

The word “believe” in the New Testament is usually translated from the Greek word pisteuo (pist-yoo'-o). It is the verb form of the noun pistis (pis'-tis). A word that better reflects the meaning of the Greek word pisteuo (pist-yoo'-o) is the English word commit. The word believe, as used in the N.T., refers to a life changing transformation of conviction and trust that compels a person to a life that is lived separated from the carnal pleasures and worldly pursuits of this life.

Therefore, the words “faith” and “believe” cannot be separated from the word holy in the Bible. If a person truly believes in the reality of a holy God and absolute truth, that faith will manifest itself in holiness and a changed life. When a person’s faith grows, a person’s holiness grows. Both are the byproduct of the operation of the Holy Spirit upon the heart of the believer as he studies God’s Word or sets under the preaching and teaching of God’s Word.

“16 But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report? 17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God” (Romans 10:16-17).

The word “obeyed” in Romans 10:16 is from the Greek word hupakouo (hoop-ak-oo'-o). It is the word that was used to describe the doorman, who, when he hears a knock on the door would come to the door, listen to hear who was at the door and then open to give entrance to that person. The word “obeyed” is used in this context to the gospel. When a person obeys the gospel, he opens the door of his heart (not just his mind) to the life transforming truths of the gospel and to the Saviour it announces. It is not just a matter of believing the message of the gospel and leaving the Saviour stand outside the door. To obey the gospel is to invite the Saviour in to be Lord of the house.

The “trying of our faith” (I Peter 1:6-7) is measured in our growth unto holiness. The word “temptations” in I Peter 1:6 is from the Greek word peirasmos (pi-ras-mos'). It refers to proving trials that test a man’s fidelity, integrity, virtue, constancy. These are the elements that reveal the reality of a person’s faith (“trial of your faith”). If growth in these realities is not evident, the reality of faith is not evident.

When God commands the believing sinner to be holy, He is commanding many things. He is commanding the believer to study the Word of God, for by it will come faith as the Holy Spirit convicts of sin, righteousness and judgment. Faith is the practice of known truth produced in the life of the believer as he yields his will to the indwelling Spirit of God. Holiness will be what is produced as the believer is enabled to obey the inner promptings of the Holy Spirit.

The word “yield” (Romans 6:13) is critical to how this holiness is produced in our life through the ministry of the indwelling Holy Spirit. In Romans 12:1 Paul pleads with all believers to “present their bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God.” It is interesting to note that the word “present” in Romans 12:1 and the word “yield” in Romans 6:13 are both the Greek word paristemi (par-is'-tay-mee). In this context, it means to place one’s self at the disposal of another.

“1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. 2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God” (Romans 12:1-2).

Every believer is saved to be a vehicle to transport God’s love and grace to the lost and dying of this world. Believers are God’s fleet of delivery trucks. God wants to use every believer in wondrous and miraculous ways. However, before God can use us to the degree He wants to, a life transforming work has to take place.

First, our lives must be completely yielded to God’s control. Nothing less will be satisfactory. Our lives must be given to God as “a living sacrifice.”

Secondly, the Holy Spirit must take the truths of God’s Word and incorporate them into the very essence of who we are (inner transformation). That will result in those truths becoming the everyday practice of our lives (faith). Holiness will be produced and God’s image will be restored. The “light” will shine in the darkness.

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