Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Holiness, Part 3

Grace For The Journey

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12Jul  Tuesday, Wednesday, and today we have looked at Jesus’ interaction with the rich young ruler in Mark 10:17-22 and discovered 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.  We’ve also contrasted the perfect holiness of God with the perfectly hideous sinfulness of man.  Today we’ll conclude by discussing God’s call for us to pursue holiness.

You may recall that after Jesus stated unequivocally to the rich young ruler that only God is good, the young man insisted that he was good too!  After listening to the Author of Life recount the teachings of the Law of God, the young man arrogantly replied, “Teacher, all these I have kept from my youth.”  He might as well have said, “I am as good as God because I have kept the law perfectly!”  Elevating himself to the level of God, he had violated the very first commandment: “You shall have no other God before me.”  The rich young ruler was his own god, the ruler of his own tiny kingdom of one. Truly, the sinful heart of man knows no boundaries!

Man’s utter sinfulness is one of the clear teachings of the Bible.

Below are just three passages that teach this truth:

“The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.”   Genesis 6:5

The LORD looks down from heaven on the children of man, to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God. They have all turned aside; together they have become corrupt; there is none who does good, not even one.”  Psalm 14:2-3

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”  Jeremiah 17:9

We are sinners both by nature and by habit.  We engage in unholy habits without a second thought.  We shade the truth; we pad our expense accounts; we withhold a little bit in rendering unto Caesar.  We turn wants into needs and live lives marked by materialism.

We make happiness, not holiness, our greatest goal in life.

But God has a different goal!

We have been called by God to live lives of holiness.  The Bible says in Leviticus 11:45, “’Be holy,’ the Lord says, ‘because I am holy.’”  Holiness is not an option for the Christian.  The Bible instructs believers in Romans 6:12, “Do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires.”  Inasmuch as all of the Christian life is a matter of grace, we have the responsibility to pursue holiness.  Do you recall this exhortation from Hebrews 12:1-3?

“Therefore, we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and lust us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.”

Wow!  The simple truth is . . . If that doesn’t motivate you to purse holiness nothing will!  To be sure, on this side of heaven we will never arrive at sinless perfection.  Yet, this is to be our goal.  To live a life of obedience to the Lord Jesus Christ is to be our top priority.  Only to the extent that this is our earnest, unwavering desire will we make consistent progress in our pursuit of holiness.

If your goal is happiness you will miss holiness.

If your goal is holiness you will get happiness of the deepest kind thrown in.

This is what  the Gospel is all about.

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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