Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Holiness, Part 2

Grace For The Journey

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11JUL  We’re in the midst of a three-part blog series based on Mark 10:17-22, the account of the rich young ruler.  Yesterday we were confronted by the sobering truth that Christ did not die to make us happy; He died to make us His, and in making us His He is making us holy.

Today we will look deeper into the Biblical teaching on the holiness of God.  Our Scripture passage is: “And as [Jesus] was setting out on His journey, a man ran up and knelt before Him and asked Him, ‘Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?’  And Jesus said to him, ‘Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not murder, Do not commit adultery, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Do not defraud, Honor your father and mother.’  And he said to Him, ‘Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.’  And Jesus, looking at him, loved him, and said to him, ‘You lack one thing: go, sell all that you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.’ Disheartened by the saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.”

The Bible records that the young man “ran up and knelt” before Jesus.  These actions represent honor, hunger, and hope – even before he asked his question.  Jesus responded to the young man’s acknowledgement of “Good Teacher” with the first and most important truth about God: ONLY GOD IS GOOD!

There are no “good guys” in the story of mankind.

There is a chasm of infinite proportions between

His perfection and our performance that we simply cannot cross.

We are in desperate need of rescue from the thrice holy God!

Here are two passages of Scripture that give us great insight into just how holy our God is.  The first is Isaiah’s account of his call to prophetic ministry:

“And the foundations of the thresholds shook as the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke.  And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” (Isaiah 6:4-5.)

Isaiah was granted a vision of the court of heaven and was instantly overwhelmed with the holiness of God.  Isaiah realized that God is holy and he, Isaiah, was not!  In that moment of stark clarity, Isaiah pronounced an oracle of “woe,” or doom, upon himself. His despairing cry, “I am undone” carries the appropriate force in English as the word in the original Hebrew, which means, literally, that Isaiah was coming apart at the seams.

Here is a second biblical account describing an occasion when one of God’s people recognized the difference between holy God and sinful man: “And when [Jesus] had finished speaking, He said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.’  And Simon answered, ‘Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.’  And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.  They signaled to their partners in the other boat to come and help them.  And they came and filled both the boats, so that they began to sink. But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’” (Luke 5:4-8.)

The disciples had been fishing all night and caught nothing.  Jesus instructs them to let down the nets for a catch.  Exhausted from toiling all night, Peter reluctantly lets down the nets.  Immediately, every fish for miles around swims into the nets, and the stunned disciples frantically call for help from their partners in the other boat!  Instead of leaping and dancing for joy at this miraculous windfall (to be quickly followed by a serious discussion with Jesus about a full partnership in the family fishing business), Peter fell down before the Son of God and confessed his utter unworthiness to stand in the presence of a holy God.

Standing in the presences of pure holiness, Isaiah and Peter both realized that their sin was “sinful beyond measure” (Romans 7:13).  The impact on their lives was immediate and immense.

This is the foundational understanding that we, too,

Must have if we are to pursue holiness and grow in grace.

Our call to pursue holiness is based on the simple fact that God is holy.  The more we think and learn about the perfect holiness of God, the more we will hate the sin.  John Piper sums it up in a powerful way, “I know no other way to triumph over sin long term than to find a distaste for it because of deeper understanding of, and a superior satisfaction with God.”

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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