March 23, 2020
- By Ed Powell
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"He hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him in love." Ephesians 1:4
"Holiness of life" is rarely taught and even more rarely understood. Many today shy away from the subject of holiness. Even some Christians view "holiness" as something reserved for "religious fanatics," for people who are not in tune with the times or are not living in the reality of today.
Basically, the problem is the result of two things. First, they do not know what "holiness" is. Unfortunately, many have seen examples of so-called holy people who were projecting an image that is everything but holy, certainly different than the holy life that Paul describes. Secondly, they are not willing to make the commitment that will result in a holy life.
Holiness of life and character is the outward display of the in-living Christ. It displays the virtues of righteousness that God implants in us as a "new creation in Christ." It is surrendering the control of our life and will to His lordship. Holiness is found in the Christians who have been renewed in the Spirit, whose thoughts, desires, and decisions will manifest His abounding love to all. Their whole outlook on life, their motives, their very method of thinking, their attitudes and priorities, are founded upon a godly perspective. They live under the sovereign control of God. This should be the most reasonable thing we can do (Romans 12:1,2).
To this end we have been chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. God has not "requested" that we be holy; He has commanded us to be so. "Be ye holy, for I am holy." Is there anything as effective, as powerful, as fruitful as a life lived in the power of the Holy Spirit and displaying before all a life of righteousness and holiness?
Dr. Raymond Edman, in his booklet "How They Were Won," gives a brief account of John Bunyan, the author of "Pilgrim's Progress." He was won to Christ because two people embraced the grace and command of God "to live holy and righteously in the power of the Holy Spirit."
Bunyan was a man of such degradation, drunkenness, and despicable character that he was known as an "outcast from society." He was so debauched before his conversion that he could neither read nor write. He married a poor girl who knew "something" about Christ, and they lived in abject poverty. At night she would read "Foxe's Book of Martyrs" about holy men who paid for their faith with their lives. Through his loving wife and "Holy Mr. Gifford," the pastor of the small church in Bedford who reached out in godly love to the "meanest man in town," John Bunyan accepted Christ as Savior.
The Holy Spirit transformed the "derelict of humanity," who spent 12 years in jail as a result of his intense preaching. While there, God opened up his life to write of his "spiritual warfare" in his 29th book, "Pilgrim's Progress," a worldwide bestseller, second only to the Bible. The effects of John Bunyan's life are inestimable.
Millions have come to Christ through his writings, because God's hand was upon two humble Christians who dared to live lives of "holiness" and reached out in love to one in desperate need. Oh that we might live the life to which we have been called! "He hath chosen us, that we should be holy and blameless before Him I love."
© 2007 by Ed Powell. Used by permission.
This page was reprinted by permission from: http://www.litmin.org/dare.php=1&row=&date=2020-03-23
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