A Devotion for 23 January 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
44 For I am the LORD your God: ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves, and ye shall be holy; for I am holy: neither shall ye defile yourselves with any manner of creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.
Leviticus 11:44 (KJV)
13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed. 14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Hebrews 12:13-14 (KJV)
Justification unto life is the sole function of the Holy Ghost drawing the sinner to the Throne of Grace. But once that one has arrived at that point, his behavior must reflect the nature of the change wraught in him. That is HOLINESS and that, too, is the act of the Holy Spirit, acting through the changed will of the saved, to follow that perfect will of God and not the old self-will of man. Holiness is the objective of the process of sanctification whereby the justified man or woman forsake that old fleshly will (self-will, or erroneously termed free will) and accepts upon the crown of his heart the perfect will of God. All our acts in following that perfect will of God will be sinless, and all of those acts following the will of the flesh will be SIN. “An high look, and a proud heart, and the plowing of the wicked, is sin.” Proverbs 21:4 (KJV) If you are following that sinful will that possessed you ever before you came to Christ, you are walking in sin. You must have surrendered that will of the flesh and received the Will of God in its stead if you will walk a life of growing sanctification and holiness. “20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.” Romans 6:20
We are not justified by our good works, but by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. But our living and walking in the Light of God’s Holy Will and Word give increasing evidence of the verity of our salvation to both man and angels. A good man’s life is centered on Christ. He is the good tree of the forest that brings forth his fruit in due season. A bad tree will not bear good fruit! “What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.” Romans 6:21
At the very moment of justification by God we are made free of sin. Now we must walk according to that new will that has been imparted, by the grace of God, to a new heart. The habitual malaise of sin will at first keep getting in the way of our righteous walk; but the habits of righteousness shall gradually overcome those old failures of fleshly inclination and rule supreme in our heart’s desire. I am not professing that we can live a perfect life without moments of failure; but our falling out from the march of righteousness will not be of fleshly intent but a weakness of the flesh which the Spirit will, more and more, enable us to overcome. That is, in its simplest sense, the process of sanctification leading to holiness. “But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Romans 6:22 (KJV)
We have a new lamp to guide our feet when we walk after the Spirit and not the flesh. “For when we were in the flesh, the motions of sins, which were by the law, did work in our members to bring forth fruit unto death. But now we are delivered from the law, that being dead wherein we were held; that we should serve in newness of spirit, and not in the oldness of the letter.” Romans 7:5-6 (KJV) This by no means abrogates the Christian duty to obey the Law of God – in fact, it makes it more bidding, but more possible to uphold due to the most powerful force known on earth – the Power of Love for God (to keep the first Table of the Law; and the same Power to Love of our fellow man in keeping the second Table of the Law.)
Can you cite a greater force on earth than Godly Love? “33 Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. 34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. 35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:33-39 (KJV) What survives even death? It is the kind of love that is united with Christ.
God is Holy. In fact, He is threescore Holy! God is a Trinity, and each Person of the Godhead is likewise HOLY! “And one cried unto another, and said, Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” Isaiah 6:3 (KJV) God will brook no lack of holiness beyond the Gates of Splendor. Holiness is like a garden tilled and sowed. It must be diligently weeded and watered to ensure the seed have the nutrients and environmental essentials to germinate. The fertile seed of the Holy Ghost, imparted at justification, must lead to growth in godliness and character as evidence of the first principle of justification. Though we falter and fail, stagger and stumble – we must love righteousness and hate evil. We are thereby made more and more holy in our walk, shunning that which offends the sovereignty of our Lord, and embracing those things which are Holy in His Will and Purpose. An illustration:
“In the Temple, every “little” ornament even of the mighty structure that crowned the cliffs of Zion was “holy” to the Lord. Not the great courts and inner shrines and pillared halls merely, but ALL! Not a carven pomegranate, not a bell, silver or golden, but was “holy.” The table and its lamps, with flowers of silver light, tent and staves, fluttering curtains and ascending incense altar and sacrifice, breastplate and ephod, mitre and gem-clasped girdle, wreathen chains and jeweled hangings – over all was inscribed “holy”; while within, in the innermost shrine, where God manifested Himself above the Mercy Seat, was the Holiest. Thus the utter holiness of that God with whom they had to do was by every detail impressed upon the heart and conscience of ancient Israel.” Alexander Balloch Grosart (18 June 1827 – 16 March 1899)
Likewise, all the acts of the Christian professor must be refined by holiness of purpose and attitude as that one grows in sanctification and holiness of God. Our worship, too, must reflect a solemn holiness acceptable to God. Mere songs of entertainment, ungodly displays of ministerial pride and humor, and any less than holy prayer and preaching of the pure Word of God will not suffice for the holiness test. The opinions of man, most often preached from pulpits across America today, are mere pabulum for the conscience and not the Bread of Heaven and Water of Life God demands from the pulpit. Not only the words of our hymns, but the music too, must reflect a high reverence for God and His Holiness.
The believer enjoys a high Counsel for his walk in holiness – the Holy Spirit of God. When we venture off the Narrow Way, He intervenes with love and correction. That correction may seem a hard chastisement but in the end, will look marvelous in hindsight. “ 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
10 For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.” Hebrews 12:9-13 (KJV)
Read below the counsel of that great Bishop of Liverpool, Bishop J.C. Ryle, on holiness:
“True sanctification does not consist in outward formalism and external devoutness. This is an enormous delusion, but unhappily a very common one. Thousands appear to imagine that true holiness is to be seen in an excessive quantity of bodily religion – in constant attendance on Church services, reception of the Lord’s Supper, and observance of fasts and saints’ days – in multiplied bowings and turnings and gestures and postures during public worship – in self-imposed austerities and petty self- denials – in wearing peculiar dresses, and the use of pictures and crosses. I freely admit that some people take up these things from conscientious motives, and actually believe that they help their souls. But I am afraid that in many cases this external religiousness is made a substitute for inward holiness; and I am quite certain that it falls utterly short of sanctification of heart. Above all, when I see that many followers of this outward, sensuous, and formal style of Christianity are absorbed in worldliness, and plunge headlong into its pomps and vanities, without shame, I feel that there is need of very plain speaking on the subject. There may be an immense amount of “bodily service,” while there is not a jot of real sanctification.”
It is my prayer that our thoughts will be holy, our intentions holy, our walk holy, and our faith holy and devoted to God alone.