Lucia's Blog: 2017-02-19
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Thursday, February 23, 2017


"Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.  See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God."  
Hebrews 12:14-15

Our Creator and Lord dwells in unapproachable light. We desperately need His approval and help, but if we are to approach Him, we must understand who He is and what He demands. God is holy, and we may not draw near to Him if we are not holy.  Let us talk about what the Scriptures tell us about the holiness of God and how we might become holy to have fellowship with Him.

A dear friend of mine asked me to do a study on our sanctification and God's holiness, and I committed myself to do it.  As with all my studies, I intentionally and consciously push myself beyond my knowledge in search of the Truth in the light of God's Word.  The love of Truth is like a treasure hidden in a field which a man finds. He goes and sells all that he has to buy that field and rejoices to take possession of that treasure. That is how I feel every time I am compelled to dig deeper into the Scriptures seeking God's treasures. I pray that you may feel the same joy. 

The doctrine of sanctification is essential to all Christians who desire to obtain eternal life. The Word of God has explicitly instructed that without holiness, i.e., sanctification, no one will see God and enter heaven (Heb. 12:14). Yet, there is a vast body of error that has developed around this doctrine (sanctification, holiness) in the religious world. Some misinterpret “sanctification” as the eradication of man’s sinful nature (original sin, total hereditary depravity). The truth is that man is not born with a sinful nature. They present “sanctification” as the second work of grace (aka entire sanctification).  They claim that the second blessing or grace provides a state of absolute and sustained perfection in this life. Based on this mistaken concept,  they teach that after man’s past sins are forgiven, the believer in Chris must seek the second work of grace, which is called “entire sanctification.”  They urge their followers to seek the miraculous baptism of the Holy Spirit.

Christians are called to be sanctified (i.e., separated from the world of darkness and devoted to God).
“Therefore go out from their midst, and be separate from them, says the Lord, and touch no unclean thing; then I will welcome you, 18 and I will be a father to you, and you shall be sons and daughters to me, says the Lord Almighty.”  (2 Cor. 6:17-18)  

We must understand that the blessing of sanctification for us Christians surpasses the blessing God gave Israel under the Old Testament Law.
“13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.”  (Heb. 9:13-14

That blessing given by God to us Christians under the New Testament Law of Christ is much better and greater and thus demands greater responsibility on our part.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will.”  (Heb. 2:1-4)
We need to understand sanctification as it was revealed in the Old Testament that we may make the right application in our lives as Christians under the New Testament Law of Christ.  


The noun “sanctification” is from the Greek word “hagiasmos,” which is used ten times, meaning “holiness” (Romans 6:19) or “sanctification” (Heb. 12:14 ASV).  The Greek verb “hagiazo” occurs twenty-eight times and is translated as “sanctify” (Eph. 5:26), “hallow” (Matt. 6:9), or be holy” (Rev. 22:11).  Thayer defines it as “to render or acknowledge to venerable, to hallow, to separate from things profane and dedicate to God, to consecrate; to purify.”  Vine's Expository Dictionary defines the word “sanctification” as:  (a) separation to God (1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2); (b)  the course of life befitting those separated (1 Thess. 4:34, 7; Rom. 6:19-22; 1 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 12:14).  The Holy Spirit is the Agent in sanctification (Rom. 15:16; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Peter 1:2; 1 Cor. 6:11).”

To “sanctify” means “to set apart” or “to make holy.” It does not imply absolute moral perfection. The type of perfection that the Bible speaks of is maturity.  The Gospel calls on men to grow into the image of God in Christ Jesus.  We become partakers of the divine nature as we learn to walk in the path of holiness.  The “perfection” that we strive for, we will not reach, in the absolute sense, until we are with God in heaven. In the Old Testament, many things such as houses, fields, beasts, altars, people, and other things were sanctified. Today, under the New Testament Law of Christ, all Christians must be sanctified. Why? Because they are set apart for the Lord, thus consecrated for God’s purposes, set aside and dedicated to God’s service. In Exodus 29:43, God sanctified a place of worship (set it apart, dedicating it to His service or purposes). "Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”  (2 Cor. 7:1)


When we are baptized (we are saved by obedience to the Gospel of Christ), we are immediately sanctified and begin the process of sanctification or holiness (being conformed to the image of Christ).  “14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified”  (Heb. 10:14).  Therefore, sanctification does not stop with salvation (when one believes in Jesus, repents of his sins, confesses Jesus as the Son of God, and is baptized for the forgiveness of sins, i.e., one is washed, sanctified and justified (1 Cor. 6:11), but it is a continuous process that will continue in a Christian's life until the day he dies.  A Christian's life is then obedience to Christ. The one that lives by His teachings is consecrated, set apart, for Christ.  And though we have been saved (forgiven in the waters of baptism), there is still indeed a battle that rages in us.  Sanctification is not just a one-time thing.  It is a continuous battle and a devoted service to God Almighty.  Paul describes this battle well in Gal. 5:16-17:
 “16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you please.”  
13 Therefore, prepare your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, 15 but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior.”  (1 Peter 1:13-15
It is indeed a process of sanctification, being set apart from the world as holy, that continues perfecting us in holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1).  

  • The Holy Spirit Works Through the Inspired Word of God In Our Sanctification:

The Bible explicitly teaches that the Holy Spirit sanctifies only through the Word of God in the conviction and conversion of the unbeliever. Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17). Only when we put those words into action in our lives, are we sanctified.  The source of sanctification is divine Truth embodied in God's Word (John 17:17).  This sacred consecration is not some esoteric influence directly from heaven independent of verbal revelation (the Word of God).  Nor is sanctification or holiness a distinct bestowal on the elect;” those who are chosen arbitrarily by God before the creation as Calvinism asserts.  Instead, sanctification is a choice that mankind must make.  It cannot be forced on man by some irresistible influence (irresistible grace).  The process of sanctification begins in the heart of men.  Peter stresses, “15 but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts” (1 Peter 3:15a).  It is a sacred command (sanctification) that demands urgent attention.  It declares that man is not to be passive about his sanctification.  This principle applies to the lost as well.  It is an obligation to reverence God and to glorify God by obedience to His commands (Matt. 6:9).

We must understand that apart from our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, there could never be any sanctification (Heb. 10:10).  There is no other way to seek pardon for our sins apart from the Gospel of Christ (Jn. 14:6; Acts 4:12).  The Holy Spirit (through the revealed Word of God) continues his work in our sanctification.  Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them in the Truth:  Thy Word is Truth”  (John 17:17).  Jesus promised to send the Holy Spirit to guide the apostles into all Truth.   “13 But when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth; for He will not speak on His own initiative, but whatever He hears, He will speak; and He will disclose to you what is to come”  (John 16:13).  The Holy Spirit, through the inspired writers of the New Testament, has given us everything that pertains to life and godliness (2 Peter 1:3).  All that we need has been revealed (through the revealed Word of God): all that pertains to our sanctification through complete instruction and guidance.  The Holy Spirit is God's agent in the process of sanctification but only through His written Word, the Truth.

Therefore, as Christians, those who have been redeemed, sanctified, justified, and made righteous by the cleansing blood of Jesus, we are responsible for our own sanctification (1 Peter 1:15). Sanctification is not something that the Holy Spirit imposes on us apart from our obedience to the Gospel of Christ.  God commands all Christians to:
  1. Set themselves apart from sin, be holy, and present themselves approved unto God with all diligence (2 Tim. 2:15).
  2. Be doers of the Word of God and not just hearers (James 1:22).
  3. Put away all filthiness and malice with all meekness that we might receive the implanted Word, which can save our souls (James 1:21).  
No Scripture anywhere in the Bible affirms that the Holy Spirit does the work of sanctification through a direct intervention or indwelling.  The Holy Spirit sanctifies us through the Word of God and nothing else.  Period!


The Pentecostal Movement, which emerged from the Holiness Movement, teaches that the believer can, in addition to becoming sanctified, receive power from God and the gifts of the Holy Spirit. In early Pentecostal thought, this was sometimes considered to be the third work of grace, but over time it has come to be accepted as the major component of the second work of grace.  In the Holiness movement, the second work of grace is considered to be a cleansing from the tendency to commit sin, an experience called entire sanctification, which leads to Christian perfection.  Charles Fox Parham and William Seymour were both Holiness Ministers and were seen by their followers as being used by God to restore Pentecost to the Church.  Their concept of holiness is taken from 2 Cor. 1:15. “Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace (blessing).”  Of course, Paul had already stated in his first letter to the Corinthians that the believers were already sanctified (1 Corinthians 1:2;6:11).  Paul never claimed to have achieved perfection (Phil. 3:12-14). 

The Church of the Nazarene Manual states the following:
“We believe that entire sanctification is the act of God, subsequent to regeneration, by which believers are made free from original sin, or depravity, and brought into a state of entire devotement to God, and the holy obedience of love made perfect.”
It is amazing how false concepts or ideas give rise to false doctrines.  Protestants have wielded a heavy influence over most modern writing by teaching the error that man is born with a sinful nature, that is, he is depraved and guilty of Adam's sin.  As a terrible consequence of this grave error, they believe that the Holy Spirit must operate directly on men to overcome their depraved nature and provide entire sanctification so that they can come to holy obedience.  Both doctrines (the depravity doctrine and the doctrine of sanctification) by a direct operation and indwelling of the Holy Spirit are false!!

Their manual proceeds to speak of “the abiding indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, empowering the believer for life and service.”  Apparently, they believe that the Holy Spirit dwells personally and provides (apart from God's revealed Word) protection against sin, keeping the Christian's path on the right track, sanctified and consecrated.  On the other hand, the Philadelphia Confession of Faith states, 
“This corruption of nature, during this life, doth remain in those that are regenerated.”  (Article VI)
 Again, Calvinism asserts that man is totally depraved and cannot do good or know the difference between right and wrong.  Therefore, according to Calvinists, since man is born a sinner with a corrupt nature, he is not able to believe in God either. So, God has to do everything for him, and He has to elect those that He wants to be saved. They imply that Christ died only for the elect and that the Holy Spirit has to touch their hearts miraculously (regenerate them) so that they can believe and be born again. This doctrine implies that man can do nothing to be free from his sad state of depravation.  He is totally inactive in his redemption.  The "enabling force" of the Holy Spirit must regenerate the wicked sinner before he responds to the calling of the Gospel. Therefore, this "direct action or working of the Holy Spirit" takes place without the individual's will, election, or choice.  Given that the individual is entirely dead (spiritually), he must be given life before he can act. Hence, the Holy Spirit, without means or agencies, regenerates, giving life to the sinful soul. Calvinists erroneously teach that it is vital for the Holy Spirit to intervene directly to initiate conversion.  Moreover, they teach the necessity of a continued indwelling and direct work of the Holy Spirit (of course, apart from the inspired Word of God) because of the “corruption or sinful nature” of men.  This is a fallacious and man-made doctrine!!

Sadly, some of my brethren speak as if they buy this erroneous concept.  Why do I make such a charge?  Because they believe in the personal indwelling and work by the Holy Spirit apart from the Word of God to keep one away from sin.  This is a dangerous doctrine in that it tends to make one's subjective feelings a guide and rule for conduct rather than the Word of God.  My brethren, many of the commentaries, devotional, and comfort books are written by Protestants and are very dangerous! They are flooded with false concepts about Calvinism, the indwelling, guidance, and work of the Holy Spirit in our lives.  Take heed!

In 1 Peter 1:22, we read that “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart.”  Evidently, the Holy Spirit works in the Christian's sanctification.  But, there is a big difference between how or by what means, the Holy Spirit works.  In this Scripture, the apostle Peter is speaking of the beginning of our consecrated life when he states, “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the Truth.”  Then Peter proceeds to point out throughout this letter that all Christians must be sanctified, consecrated, and continue to obey the Truth.  Notice what Peter instructs them to follow:  “Put away all malice and all deceit and hypocrisy and envy and all slander”  (1 Peter 2:1). “To abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul”  (1 Pet. 2:11).  “Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution...” (1 Pet. 2:13).  “Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor”  (1 Pet. 2:17). To be “servants, be subject to your masters with all respect, not only to the good and gentle but also to the unjust”  (1 Pet. 2:18).   “Wives, be subject to your own husbands...”  (1 Pet. 3:1).   “Husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way...” (1 Pet. 3:7).  “Have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind”  (1 Pet. 3:8).

Undoubtedly, the Holy Spirit enables, directs, and leads the Christian to sanctification (holiness) only through the teachings of Christ (His doctrine and Law) and the apostles.  Therefore, we must submit to His guidance and teaching alone to sanctify our lives.


Things sanctified (consecrated or set apart as holy) by God:  
  1. Mount Sinai (Exodus 19:23).
  2. The Tabernacle, its furniture, the altar of burnt-offering, and all its utensils (Ex. 40:9-10).
  3. The Temple (Lev. 16).
  4. A particular house (Lev. 27:14).
  5. A land and field (Lev. 27:16-17).
  6. A gathering of people, a congregation (Joel 2:16).
  7. The Sabbath day (Neh. 9:14).
  8. God's Word, angels, heaven, mountains, and cities where God appeared, etc. (Ps. 105:42; Deut. 26:15; Job 15:15; Ex. 3:5).
  9. The nation of Israel (as God's chosen people).  “Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice and keep my covenant, you shall be my treasured possession among all peoples, for all the earth is mine; 6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.’ These are the words that you shall speak to the people of Israel” (Ex. 19:5-6).
  10. Priests, prophets, and kings among the Israelites (Ex. 30:29-30; 2 Kings 4:9; Ps. 16:10), Nazarites (Num. 6:8).  The firstborn, both man and beast (Ex. 13:2).
My question is:  Were these things “perfect”?  Could there be a perfect mountain, land, or field?  A perfect tent, tabernacle?  Obviously, the word “sanctification” does not imply perfect, but to set apart or to dedicate, consecrate for certain use or service.  In Exodus 13:2, we read, “Consecrate to me all the firstborn. Whatever is the first to open the womb among the people of Israel, both of man and of beast, is mine.” 

According to the “sanctificationists” (those who support the doctrine of entire sanctification), this would imply that the consecration of the babies would make them perfect, removing their “Adamic nature,” also known as the “sinful nature” with which they were born.  Absurd!  This commandment given in Exodus 13:2 was to separate or dedicate (consecrate) the baby or the animal for service to God.  It had nothing to do with moral perfection!

  • Differences Between The Holy And The Unholy In The Old Testament:
  1. Clean and unclean animals (Lev. 11).
  2. Touching a dead body, leprosy, childbirth, and certain biological conditions made anyone unclean (Lev. 12, 15).
  3. Sowing a vineyard with two kinds of seed in the same field; plowing or yoking an ox and a donkey together; wearing cloth of wool and linen mixed together (Deut. 22:9-11; Lev. 19:19).
One who was unclean was excluded from the community.  Worshiping at God's sanctuary was unlawful.  And though some of the above might not be considered inherently wrong, it was still forbidden or prohibited by God under the laws of the nation of Israel.  He, who was unclean according to their laws, was considered impure and unworthy to approach God in that condition.
  • Sin Was Another Type of Uncleanness:
Any Israelite could become impure when he sinned against God (Psalm 106:39; Isaiah 64:6).  The sad part is that the Israelites were marred by frequent and heinous rebellion against God.
  • Unholy Situations Required Sanctification or Judgment:
God often sanctified His people by cleansing them of their defilements.  Whether it was ceremonial uncleanness, moral impurity, sin, and guilt offerings had to be offered (Lev. 5:1-6).  There was no distinction between the ceremonial uncleanness and moral sin in this matter.  God's people must be holy before Him!  Because of their rebellion and grave transgressions, God had to exercise His judgment over them.  For crimes such as murder, homosexuality, incest, etc., their punishment was death (no sacrifice offering).  There was no sanctification provided under the Law of Moses for those who sinned willfully or defiantly.  God demonstrated His holiness in His righteous judgments against Israel (Isaiah 5:16).  And though Israel was God's chosen people, that status did not exempt them from God's judgment (Amos 3:2).  

  • Christians are saints (sanctified):
The Old Testament, the Law of Moses, serves as our teacher regarding holiness (sanctification) in the New Covenant we have with God.  As Christians, we are saints (sanctified).  “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours”  (1 Cor. 1:2).  Notice that Paul called them sanctified, saints despite their failings in their walk with Christ.  In this letter to the Corinthians, Paul is admonishing them since they were set apart as holy for God's service and because they were not walking worthy of their calling.  So all Christians are special people.  We are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His (God's) own special people that we may proclaim the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into His marvelous light (1 Peter 2:9).  Therefore, our obligation to holiness (sanctification) is even greater than that of the Old Testament.  Consider Hebrew's admonition to Christians given by Jesus, the Founder, and Perfector of our Faith about not neglecting our salvation.
Therefore we must pay much closer attention to what we have heard, lest we drift away from it. 2 For since the message declared by angels proved to be reliable, and every transgression or disobedience received a just retribution, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect such a great salvation? It was declared at first by the Lord, and it was attested to us by those who heard, 4 while God also bore witness by signs and wonders and various miracles and by gifts of the Holy Spirit distributed according to his will”  (Heb. 2:1-4).

Sanctification in the New Testament Law of Christ means to be set apart from sin.  Obedience to God's Word purifies or sanctifies our hearts from the defilement of sin and sets us apart for God's service.  Therefore, the Truth helps us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is our spiritual worship to Him.  The Word of God transforms us by the renewal of our mind, proving what is good and acceptable, and God's perfect will (Romans 12:1-2).  Our God is a holy God and therefore demands that His children be holy as well.  God hates sin and has done something about it at a significant cost. The remedy for sin was His Son's sacrifice.  His holiness is active and alive.  Everything about God is holy:  His wisdom, His power, His judgments, and His love. Holiness in our lives glorifies and pleases God.  Now there is a big difference between the view of holiness in the Old Testament and the New Testament.  In the New Testament, the definition is more narrow.  It is only a spiritual covenant rather than a national one.  Notice what Jesus said about defilement because of sin, purification of the heart, and sanctification.
“10 And he called the people to him and said to them, 'Hear and understand: 11 it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.” 12 Then the disciples came and said to him, “Do you know that the Pharisees were offended when they heard this saying?” 13 He answered, “Every plant that my heavenly Father has not planted will be rooted up. 14 Let them alone; they are blind guides. And if the blind lead the blind, both will fall into a pit.” 15 But Peter said to him, 'Explain the parable to us.' 16 And he said, “Are you also still without understanding? 17 Do you not see that whatever goes into the mouth passes into the stomach and is expelled? 18 But what comes out of the mouth proceeds from the heart, and this defiles a person. 19 For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false witness, slander. 20 These are what defile a person. But to eat with unwashed hands does not defile anyone'"   (Matt. 15:10-20).

Remember God's admonition to Peter in Acts 10:15:  “15 And the voice came to him again a second time, 'What God has made clean, do not call common.'”

The realm of holiness in the New Testament is connected to morality and obedience to the Doctrine of Christ, not the ritualistic purity and impurity of the Old Testament.  Thus, sanctification under the new covenant is of a much higher order.  Notice what Hebrews has to say about this high order between the blood of Christ and the blood of bulls and goats under the old covenant.
“13 For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, 14 how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God.  15 Therefore he is the mediator of a new covenant, so that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance, since a death has occurred that redeems them from the transgressions committed under the first covenant”  (Hebrews 9:13-15).

Therefore, God's demand for holy living is also of a much higher order.  God calls us to be holy in our conduct or behavior since He is holy (1 Peter 1:14-16).  As those who have been redeemed by the precious blood of Jesus, we are called to be holy, without blame before Him (Eph. 1:4).  We are not to walk any longer according to the flesh but the Spirit (Rom. 8:1).  We are to lift up holy hands without anger and quarreling (1 Tim. 2:8).  We are to cleanse ourselves from all defilement, filthiness of the flesh and heart, and to perfect our holiness in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1).  Finally, we are to present our whole bodies (members)  as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification or holiness (Rom. 6:19).


  • God's Unique Character:  
How do we define our God?  How well can we describe His attributes?  God is holy (Isa. 6:3; Rev. 4:8).  He is beyond human description.  Yet He reveals and describes Himself in His Word.  Indeed, we can know Him personally.  The concept of “holiness” is simple. It is easy to grasp and explain. Holiness is a fundamental aspect of God's nature.  The Bible speaks of God's holiness many times as part of His nature.  “And one called to another and said:  'Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!'”  (Isa. 6:3)

What does it mean to be holy?  Before we start to describe what it means to be holy, let us first start with the definition of what it means to say that God is holy.  It is here that our understanding of holiness must begin.  In a few words, “holy” is God's fundamental attribute or unique characteristic.  Holiness is that which makes God “God.”  God is unique in His holiness.  The Bible places supreme emphasis on the excellency of God's holiness.  In fact, in the Scriptures, God is described by the word “holy” more than any other term.  “Holy” is the most common description found throughout God's Word. It is not “His mighty name,” or “eternal name.”  Seldom one reads “His great name,” but frequently, “My holy name,” or “His holy name.”  It is God's perfect character and no other.  And we can see it clearly when the Seraphin shouted it in Isaiah 6:3.  The word “holy” is often used as a synonym for His deity.  That is, the word holy describes all that God is.  It reveals His love as holy, His power as holy, His justice as holy His knowledge as holy, and His grace as holy. The Word of God never speaks of God as becoming sanctified.  God's holiness is not something He attained or can lose.  It is what God is!

“Who is like you, O Lord, among the gods?  Who is like you, majestic in holiness, awesome in glorious deeds, doing wonders?”  (Ex. 15:11).  God is different from all other living things in a vast number of substantial ways.  God has a divine nature, and there is none after Him.  “You are my witnesses,' declares the Lord, 'and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he.  Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me'"  (Isa. 43:10).

    • He is all-powerful and mighty: 
When He exercises His divine power, He displays His holiness.
“9 For they themselves report concerning us the kind of reception we had among you, and how you turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God, 10 and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, Jesus who delivers us from the wrath to come”  (1 Thess. 1:9-10). 
    • God is morally perfect: 
"13 Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one"   (James 1:13).
However, people can receive a measure of God's holiness. This is called sanctification.  God sets something or someone apart as holy to serve Him.  This is vital for Christians to grasp since it is God's primary purpose for our lives.
    • God has always been separate, holy from His creation in Truth:  
"17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change"  (Jas. 1:17). 
Even before the creation, He was still holy.  He is unchanging and unchangeable. Therefore, He can never become holier than He already is.  He was never holier than He is right now. He has always been holy.  As I mentioned earlier, God never got His holiness from anyone or from anywhere.  For He is Himself the Holiness.  He is Kadosh, the Holy One (Isa. 40:25).  He is YHVH ha'elohim hakkadosh the LORD, the Holy God (1 Sam. 6:20).  He is K'dosh Yisrael, the Holy One of Israel (Ps. 71:22).  He is holiness itself beyond what any human can fathom to express.

    • Men are called to “be holy for He is holy.”  (1 Peter 1:15)  
The Christians at Thessalonica were exhorted to “abound more and more” in holiness.  
Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to walk and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality;4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you”  (1 Thess. 4:1-8).  
    •  Holiness is a heart issue:  
Therefore, God calls us to be holy.  Holiness is living one's life as someone who belongs to God.  It is living utterly pure and separated from sin.  God's holiness is the absolute purity of His goodness and nature.  When one speaks of God's holiness, one is speaking of the magnitude of God's greatness. He cannot be charged with any wrong.  He is blameless and beyond reproach in His character.  He is unimpeachable.  His love is infinite for that which is infinitely good.  At the same time, He infinitely hates or abhors that which is sin (Ps. 5:4-6; Prov. 6:16; 8:13; Isa. 61:8; Zech. 8:17).  In Habakkuk 1:13, one reads, “You who are of purer eyes than to see evil  and cannot look at wrong.” God is so holy that He cannot tolerate sin in any form before His presence.  His holiness is demonstrated in the punishment of sinners (Exodus 34:6-7).  David declared of His holiness.  “For you are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with you.  The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers.  You destroy those who speak lies; the Lord abhors the bloodthirsty and deceitful man”  (Ps. 5:4-6).

One day God will destroy sin forever.  All lawlessness and wickedness are an assault against His holiness.  Therefore, He is preparing this world for an ultimate and divine vindication.  God's zeal burns for His holiness (Ezek. 36:22-23).  God defends His holiness and cherishes His purity as well (Exodus 19:5-6).  He punishes sin because He is holy.  The cup of His wrath must be poured out (Isa. 51:17-21; Jer. 25:15).  Not only is He justified for doing this, but because He must, and His justice and holiness demand it.  We must understand this.  This is our starting point in understanding God's holiness.  Since God opposes evil with wrath and fury, we must hate and resist sin also.  Why?  Because holiness and sin cannot coexist!  God cannot under any circumstances condone or approve of sin or allow it to remain in us, Christians, and others. So what can a holy God do with sinful men since all have sinned and have fallen short of His glory, Rom. 3:23?  The only answer is Christ crucified, the cross of Christ.
“In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him. 10 In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins”  (1 John 4:9-10).
God's love for sinners was manifested through the sacrifice of His Son.  In God's eternal plan of redemption, justice and mercy are reconciled only through the sacrifice of His Son and His bloodshed. “Mercy and truth are met together; Righteousness and peace have kissed each other”  (Ps. 85:10).  “6 for the showing, I say, of his righteousness at this present season: that he might himself be just, and the justifier of him that hath faith in Jesus”  (Romans 3:26).

In Christ, we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our sins.  God's grace and man's obedience (faith, Eph. 2:8; Rom. 16:19) procures reconciliation of sinful men to God.  Sinners are justified by the precious blood of Christ, thus being saved from God's wrath to come.  They are saved because they are reconciled, and because they are reconciled to God, they are saved by Jesus’ resurrected life and intercession.  Faith in Christ (obedience to His Gospel) separates (sanctifies) the sinner from the wrath of God and gives him eternal life.  In John 8:24, Christ said, “I told you that you would die in your sins, for unless you believe that I am he you will die in your sins.”

Therefore, God's wrath is to be upon those who reject and do not obey the Truth of the Gospel (2 Thess. 1:8).  God, in His steadfast love and mercy, has provided men with the saving provisions found in the Gospel of His Son.  His Gospel saves those obedient sinners from the wrath.  The sinner is then purified (sanctified, made holy) in his obedience to the Truth (1 Peter 1:22).  The wrath of God awaits only those who hinder the Truth (Rom. 1:18); comes upon the sons of disobedience (Eph. 5:6); those who lived ungodly and worldly lives, (Rev. 14:10);  and finally upon all those who died in their sins without repentance and forgiveness (Rev. 19:15).  Indeed, God's wrath cannot be denied. Christ's work on the cross was indeed related to that wrath.  However, Jesus never became the object of God's wrath, but rather He was the sin sacrifice for sin (Heb. 10:12).  Thus making saving provisions, allowing mankind to meet God's divine terms or conditions to be saved.

Christians are exhorted to abound in holiness (1 Thess. 4:2; James 2:26).  The saving Gospel of Christ is a holy way of living rather than just a way of believing.  Faith without works is dead. A living faith is godly and holy living.  The Gospel teaches us how we ought to walk to please God.  Christians don't walk according to the desires of their flesh, but according to the Spirit.  Jesus has set the highest standard for moral, holy living.  Therefore, our walk must abound in holiness (sanctification). Those who walk in holiness walk by all the commandments given by our Lord Jesus Christ.  They observe all the commandments Jesus has commanded them to do.  Therefore to abound in holiness, we must avoid sin.  The will of God demands holiness in our lives.  He demands purity of both body and soul.  A body set apart for God's service must be kept pure.  What is done in our bodies will either honor or dishonor God.  And God will judge us for them (2 Cor. 5:10).  Those who do not walk according to the will of God are walking in uncleanness or lawlessness.  Sin will not go unpunished.  For God did not call us to uncleanness but in holiness (1 Thess. 4:6-7).  Those who reject the Bible teaching on purity of life are rejecting God (1 Thess. 4:8).  Man's chief goal must be holiness.  Holiness will lead us to our home in heaven.


As Christians, we must be holy.  God's holiness is our standard for conduct for our personal holiness.  Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”  (1 Thess. 5:23).  The blood of Jesus sanctifies (purifies) us, (Heb. 9:14; 10:10, 29; 13:12).  The Spirit sanctifies us (1 Peter 1:2; Rom. 15:16).  The Truth sanctifies us (John 17:17-19; 2 Thess. 2:13). We are sanctified (cleansed) by the washing of water with the Word “so that He might present the church to Himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish”  (Eph. 5:25-27).  We have been washed, sanctified, justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God  (1 Cor. 6:11).

The following is how we ought to walk in holiness or sanctification as those who walk in newness of life.
  • Morally:
    • Social Drinking:  
The recreational use of alcohol, social drinking, and the abuse of other drugs is sin. When the Bible speaks of wine, it is often referring to fermented alcoholic drinks (Prov. 20:1; 23:29-32; 1 Sam. 1:13-16; Gen. 9:21-27; Isa. 16:10; Jer. 48:33; Isa. 65:8; Gen. 40:9-11; Rev. 19:15; Jn. 2:1-11; Rev. 14:10). There is no New Testament Scripture that supports drinking fermented wine undiluted, though wine in the Bible sometimes indicates unfermented grape juice. The word “cider” (“wine” in the Bible) could be fermented or unfermented. The wine found in John 2:1-11 was clearly not alcoholic like modern alcoholic drinks. The blessing that the Bible speaks of was unfermented grape juice.  

Ancient people knew how to preserve unfermented wine. They would boil the grape juice to kill bacteria and seal the juice in a jar or boil it until it turned into syrup. Then they would filter it to remove yeast. Next, they would cool it (there can be no fermentation below 45 degrees because yeast settles out). Finally, preservatives (such as sulfur) were added. These methods of preserving unfermented wine are confirmed and can be found in any good encyclopedia. Take notice that when grape juice is fermented naturally, it will most likely turn into vinegar and not alcohol.

Modern alcoholic beverages (distilled drinks) were unknown in Bible times. Modern wines have more alcohol than the wines of the Middle East since our grapes produce higher alcohol content, and often distilled alcohol is added.  So, should a Christian drink a shot of rum, whiskey, beer or wine?  No! Because intoxication (drunkenness) is explicitly condemned by God.  Consider some Scriptures in the NT that speak against social drinking:  Eph. 5:18; 1 Thess. 5:6-8; Rom. 13:13; Gal. 5:21; 1 Cor. 5:11; 6:10; 1 Peter 4:3.  

When a person is under the influence of alcohol, he loses the clarity of intellect and self-control that he would otherwise have. God expects us to avoid, at all costs, these practices of sinful pleasure and self-indulgence. They hinder one’s ability to think clearly, and they inhibit one from recognizing and resisting temptation. Alcoholic beverages weaken one’s mental judgment, self-control, willpower, and inhibitions. That’s the reason why the Bible explicitly warns Christians to avoid the lure of alcoholic drinking. Christians must avoid alcohol altogether. Why?  Because it tempts one to sin and weakens one’s self-control.

Modern social drinking is condemned.  Notice what the Bible has to say, "For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry"  (1 Peter 4:3).  God demands that we avoid them all (excess of wine, extravagant indulgence, long drawn out, reveling, wild parties with sexual looseness and drunkenness, banqueting, drinking parties, social drinking).  Drinking is a terribly bad example to others!  So, if you drink, please consider how bad your influence is toward others.  It is a bad influence on the young, former addicts, those whom we seek to teach the Gospel of Christ and leads him to sin.  How on earth can a drunk convert another drunk or those who know that Christians should not drink?!  How do you convince someone that you are serious about your faith with a drink in your hand?!  No Christian can be justified, in light of God's call to holiness, supporting and using a substance that has destroyed the lives of so many.  Social drinking destroys a Christian's influence entirely.  It is sinful and violates God's call to sanctification and righteousness.

Alcohol is a gift from Satan and will become a tool in his hands to cause us to stumble and sin.  Some find temporary relief and joy to a difficult life, but the consequences are devastating.  Alcohol can mock humans and carries them into irrationality and foolishness (Prov. 20:1).  It is not wise to be ruled by alcohol, and whoever allows it to control him is a fool (Isa. 5:11).  One who drinks alcohol is a slave to sin.  Sin will lead him to lose his soul eternally.  Christians must never consider social drinking as acceptable, even though our society practices and accepts it. Take heed!

    • Immoral Dress (Immodesty):  
As Christians, we cannot allow ourselves to be swayed by fashion.  Short hems, short shorts, tight-fitting, sensual, and slinky clothing is sinful and does not demonstrate holiness and godliness.  Any clothing that has “sexual attractiveness” or allure, often worn by many Christians, is downright ungodly and worldly.  It does not reflect holiness at all.  Christians are not to be ruled by the gods of fashion or because it makes them look “good,” or brings the approval of society or the opposite sex, or ourselves.  God dictates what is holy and acceptable before Him and not society.  Take heed!

Wearing bathing suits in public is immoral, ungodly, and worldly and is not acceptable to God. Bathing suits do not cover the body enough to be considered godly attire.  Nothing can justify a Christian wearing or be seen in public or semi-private situations in such immoral and ungodly attires.  And though many Christians may not swim at a public pool with such immoral attires, they nevertheless dress this way in each other's presence, leading others to sin.  Sadly, some of these Christians are married and are committing adultery because of their sinful, unholy behavior.  It is without any justification as we are called to holiness by God Almighty.

We live in a culture where nudity or the “clothing-optional” lifestyle is becoming a big business. Nobody is blushing anymore!  There was a time when our people would be embarrassed by public indecency.  A culture that worships nature and sensuality is prone to dress immodestly.  Many Christians have been carried away by the course of this world, surrendering to the prince of darkness rather than God, walking in pure disobedience.  They would rather be taken captive by our culture's inclinations, rather than obey the admonition to take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.   As Christians, who obey their Lord, we must honor the rules of our Lawmaker concerning our clothing.  Otherwise, we are refusing the Lordship of Jesus. 

Alas, today, more and more professing Christians have come to think of nakedness as normal and acceptable, even preferable!  Somehow, they believe they have permission to remove the "restraints" of modest dress following the trendy pagan fashions that are physically revealing.  As a terrible consequence of all this, otherwise, sober-minded people have been publicly undressed.  NO! As professing Christians, we must speak the Truth against this modern trend toward nakedness and its consequences.  We must start raising sons and daughters to remain morally pure in an idolatrous culture that worships the flesh.  As Christians who profess godliness, let us not forget that the church is "the pillar and ground of the Truth" (I Tim. 3:15).  Therefore, let us allow those divine principles taught by the revealed Word of God to guide our daily living into holiness to glorify God.  Let us not forget that we must dress modestly and discreetly in the presence of men and God. When the heart is right with God, it will govern itself in purity and humility, expressing itself modestly.  Christian modesty will at no cost expose itself publicly in sinful nakedness.

Today, it is disgusting and discouraging to see this problem permeating the Lord's church, which He purchased with His blood (Acts 20:28).  So many times, I have to shake my head when I see older women and men not being good examples in the way they dress and in their demeanor.  I have seen this problem among the wives and daughters of our preachers and elders.  Many of these leaders dare to post pictures of themselves with their women dressed (or undressed) with indecent clothing (they themselves in shorts and shirtless) in the public arenas such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Google+, and so on.  I refuse to hit the "like" button!  I will not partake in such fruits of darkness.  Take heed!

    • Dancing:  
This is another serious problem among some Christians.  They think that dancing is acceptable to God.  They refuse to recognize that when they move their body in lascivious motions (modern dance), holding closely to the opposite sex while they are dancing is sinful and immoral.  It does not portray holiness and godliness but impurity.  Some dare to justify dancing by rationalizing it.  I could never fathom why so many professing holiness enjoyed the movie “Dirty Dancing” some years ago. They denied there was anything immoral or indecent about the movie when, in fact, it was full of sensual dancing.  They apparently rejected God's call to holiness!  Dancing is sinful and is not acceptable in the life of a Christian.  Period!  So, if you advocate the sensual dance, it is time to repent that you may not fall under condemnation.  Take heed!
    • Gambling:
The Bible constantly warns against greed and covetousness (Eph. 5:5-7; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Rom. 1:29-32; 1 Cor. 5:11; Deut. 5:21; Mk. 7:20-23; 1 Tim. 6:6-10; 2 Tim. 3:2; Heb. 13:5).  Theft is taking someone else's property in a way that is not authorized by God.  Gambling is mutual attempted theft like dueling is mutual attempted murder.  In dueling, each agrees to let the other one attempt to kill him.  But killing is still unauthorized regardless of the agreement (Romans 13:8-10).  So, a gambler agrees to do the same when he lets someone try to take his possessions in exchange for a chance to take the other person's possessions.  The agreement makes both guilty of sin!  Let us not forget that Christians are stewards of God's possessions (1 Pet. 4:10-11; Lk. 12:42-56; 2 Chr. 28:1; 1 Cor. 4:1-2).  So, the gambler is an unfaithful steward (Lk. 16:1-2).  The gambler seeks personal gain and profit by taking from others who agree to the scam.  It is self-seeking and selfish.  The gambler violates the law of love since he tries to do to others what he does not want others to do to him (1 Cor. 13:5; Phil. 2:4).  It is a root of evil, love of money, greed.  Do you know that drinking alcohol, drugs, lying, crime, prostitution, lasciviousness, sexual immorality, and corruption abound where gambling occurs?  The love of money is the root of all kinds of evil!

Sadly, gambling is becoming a scourge in our society, and it works its evil among many professing Christians as well.  And though the world accepts the sin or evil of gambling, reveling in it, it is still a vice or sin that leads to addiction, broken homes, and ruined lives.  Eventually, it will result in the destruction of their soul eternally.  It is not godly but worldly.  Children of God must abstain from it at all costs.  Gamblers not only sin but tempt others to sin.  Many Christians will be lost eternally because of gambling.  So why submit yourself to such a danger?  Does gambling harmonize with Jesus' example and His teaching of His Word?  Honestly, what would you think if Jesus would have played a slot machine or roulette wheel, betting on a dice or poker game?  

    • Man and Woman Relationships:
This is a serious one!  Men and women (both married and unmarried) must be completely virtuous and chaste in their behavior and relationships with one another.  Anything that falls under familiarity, flirting, and coarseness (vulgarity, crudeness, smuttiness), unwise close friendships with the opposite sex separate from your spouse, even simply being “alone” in various situations is not godly and holy. All these reckless practices can lead to lasciviousness and fornication (sexual immorality).  Remember, we must not allow this to happen under any circumstance.  God calls us to sanctification, holiness.  He demands that we flee temptation and all appearance of evil doing.  Sadly, this is one of the most permissive dangers of our society.  All these unwise practices or situations lead to affairs, lascivious actions, premarital pregnancies, and apostasies.  Be aware that no Christian is exempt, even if they think they can handle it!  The truth is, you can't!  Therefore, flee these dangerous situations and be true to your God!!

  • Reverence at Worship:
    • Tardiness:
Tardiness is habitual to many, even though there are times when it is excusable.  It shows a lack of reverence and dedication to God.  We are called to be set apart as holy for service to God.
    • Lack of interest and attention to Bible study and Worship:
It shows a lack of care and reverence for the special time that we have chosen to be together as God's called-out people.  It does not demonstrate being set apart as holy for service to God.
    • Dress:
We are to be reverent in the way we dress before God and the congregation.
    • Decorum during the Lord's Supper:
This is a solemn and special time that must not be marred by irreverent and disruptive behavior but a time of meditation on the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.
  • Doctrinal Purity:
We are to be blameless in the midst of a perverse generation.  We are not to tolerate sophistry under any circumstance (deception, false teaching), and be in fellowship with false teachers and those who persist in living in sin.  Such tolerance violates God's call to sanctification, holiness.  Therefore, we are not to accept anything that violates doctrinal purity.  God's people must be pure before Him! Any doctrine that teaches that which is contrary to the purity of God's Word or is inherently false must be exposed in the light of God's Truth!
“23 Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ”  (1 Thess. 5:23).


There is no justification without sanctification.  There is no salvation without justification.  God's message to sinful men is that they should pursue peace and holiness (sanctification) with all people. Without holiness (sanctification), no one will see God (Heb. 12:14).  God expects His followers to live holy lives and cleanse themselves from all defilement, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God (2 Cor. 7:1).  We cannot be holy while living in sin.  As Christians who have been redeemed by the blood of Christ in baptism (Acts 22:16), we must dedicate ourselves to living holy lives guided by God's holy will.  As we do His holy will, we can rest assured that He will count us holy, pleasing, and acceptable before His eyes.  As those who have been saved, there is still a battle that rages, and we must win by walking in the Spirit and not fulfilling the lust of the flesh (Gal. 5:16-17).  Sanctification or holiness is an unending process motivated by the love of the Truth.

Christ gave Himself up for the church that He might sanctify it.  His death was necessary for cleansing and sanctification.  The Christian can lose his sanctification and be lost eternally.  If a Christian regresses into a life of sin (Heb. 10:26), he can expect a fierce judgment of fire that will destroy him.  It will be a terrible punishment, worse than any merciless death!  Why?  Because he “has trampled underfoot the Son of God, and has profaned the blood of the covenant by which he was sanctified, and has outraged the Spirit of grace.”  He will fall into the hands of a judging God who will render well-deserved vengeance (Heb. 10:30-31).  Therefore, sanctification (holiness) is vital to be saved and enter the gates of heaven.  It would be wise to remember the admonition made by God when He said, “For I am the Lord your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy, for I am holy. You shall not defile yourselves... “  (Lev. 11:44; 1 Pet. 1:16).  The Holy Spirit directs and leads Christians to holy living (sanctification) through His teachings found in the New Testament, and we must submit to His instructions to sanctify our lives.  God takes his holiness seriously! He will not treat lightly those who profane His name.  Therefore, we must worship Him with total submission and obedience to all His will.  Indeed, God is a consuming fire!

We have a personal responsibility to walk in holiness. We will be judged based upon our choices and decisions in this matter. We have been empowered by God through His Word to walk worthy of our calling, in holiness and godliness.  God does not and will not tolerate sin or anything that is not holy living.  The Lord is to be obeyed in all things because He is the Holy Lawgiver.   We cannot categorize sin if we are to live a life of holiness. God has forbidden the action, and that is the only category that must be considered. There is no such attitude as “big sins” and “little sins” with God. God forbids the action or allows the action. There is no other way to look at sin.  The effects of sin are devastating and destroy our holiness before God.  We must not rationalize our sins or consider our weaknesses tolerable. When we commit sins, God does not find us acceptable. We must separate ourselves from all sin and dedicate ourselves to God.  God is the only One who can dictate what is holy and unholy and not us.  Sin is an offense to God.  Therefore, we must take responsibility for our sins.

May we leave sin behind to be holy before our Almighty God.  May we yield our life to holiness and separate ourselves for service to God.  May we pursue and perfect holiness in the fear of God.  May we strive to be holy because God is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).   May we be sanctified through the Spirit of God (God's Word).  May we be set apart by obedience to the teachings of the Holy Spirit found in God's Word.  May we never trample underfoot the Son of God and profane the blood of the covenant by which we were sanctified because of our unholy and ungodly behavior.

 I hope that you will take the time to read the words of this beautiful song, "Take Time To Be Holy," and reflect on them.  "Take time to be holy" is a beautiful song that exhorts us to be holy just as God is holy. This profound song emphasizes the need for Christians to be shaped into the likeness of Christ by spending time feeding on His Word (2 Tim. 3:16-17), prayer (Phil. 4:6-7) and walking in the same way in which He walked (1 John 2:6). God wants His children to grow and cultivate holiness (sanctification) "without which no one will see the Lord" (Heb. 12:14). When we are holy in our conduct, others (our friends) can see Christ's likeness in us.

Take time to be holy, speak oft with thy Lord;
Abide in Him always, and feed on His word.
Make friends of God’s children; help those who are weak,
Forgetting in nothing His blessing to seek.

Take time to be holy, the world rushes on;
Spend much time in secret with Jesus alone.
Abiding in Jesus, like Him thou shalt be;
Thy friends in thy conduct His likeness shall see.

Take time to be holy, let Him be thy Guide;
And run not before Him, whatever betide.
In joy or in sorrow, still follow thy Lord;
And, looking to Jesus, still trust in His word.

Take time to be holy, be calm in thy soul,
Each thought and each motive beneath His control.
Thus led by His Spirit to fountains of love,
Thou soon shalt be fitted for service above.
(By William Dunn Longstaff)