Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 16 No. 3 March 2014
Page 10

Holy Like God?

Paul Clements

Paul ClementsCan we be holy like God? Peter says we can (1 Peter 1:15). The instruction is: You be holy like God is holy. If we are to develop holiness in our lives and become like God, we must come to know God. How can we be holy like Him if we do not know Him, or if we do not know His way and His revealed will?

The “elect” (Christians) were sanctified (made holy, agiasmos, Gr.) by the Holy Spirit when they purified their souls in obedience to the truth and washed their sins away (1 Peter 1:2, 22; Acts 22:16). We learn in 1 Peter One that a function of the Holy Spirit in the election process is to separate (make holy) the sinner through obedience and through the sprinkling of the blood of Christ (1 Peter 1:1-2). This sanctification (setting apart) is to the spiritual realm, in the church and in Christ. The Spirit accomplished this by revealing, through the word of truth, the means by which one obeys the Lord and takes advantage of the true grace of God and appropriates to himself the benefits of the shed blood of our Lord.

Yet, in 1 Peter 1:15, believers are told to be holy. The typical first reaction is, “I thought we were already sanctified and made holy.” In the context of 1 Peter 1:13ff, the sanctification of the believer is the focal point. Verse 13 tells us that considering what had been said regarding salvation, the elect were to gather up their thoughts, restrain the improper ones and focus on the grace of Christ. As Christians, we belong to obedience, like a child and his parents, so we are not to go back to past sins done in ignorance (v. 14). We have been sanctified, so like God is holy, we are to become holy. The word be in the phrase, “be ye yourselves also holy” (ASV), doesn’t mean simply being, but rather “to become.” We are to strive to have the manner of life that “lives up to” our sanctification, our holy calling (2 Timothy 1:9). The design of God’s calling is holiness, the sanctification of the whole life to him (1 Thessalonians 4:3, 7). God is our perfect pattern of holiness. We are to emulate God in “all manner of living” (2 Peter 3:11).

God is holy. He is described in Scripture as “the holy one of Israel” (Isaiah 1:4). God is holy in that He is separate, transcendent (above all things common) and far beyond the limits of the ordinary (Isaiah 45:5, 11, 22). God is also holy in that He is pure (Habakkuk 1:12-13). His words are pure (Psalm 12:6). Everything about God is pure.

The Homosexuality Debate

Dean Kelly

Dean KellyI am going to continue to do my best to love everyone, no matter what. I know a lot of people who have given themselves over to the practice of sin. [One note: yes, every person has sin in his or her life; the big difference is that some are trying to remove that sin from their lives, and others have just given in to it; some even flaunt it, and often defend it.] No matter what anyone says (even the Canadian Supreme Court), it is not only possible to love the sinner and hate the sin, but it is an imperative for Christians. We must hate the sin with which we struggle in our own lives. To love someone does not mean that we support their sin, but that we care about them as a person. Compromise and caring are not synonyms.

My morality is not based on what is legal or not. Don’t misunderstand me; I am opposed to homosexual marriage on a moral basis. [Again, note: the decisions on this subject are the government making a moral decision. Someone says, well isn’t the defense of marriage act the government making a moral decision? Yes, it is, but I will not let the proponents of “gay marriage” get by without pointing out that they are asking the court to legislate morality. The gay activists are determined to make sure that their morality is forced on all other Americans. I know they argue that simply allowing “gay marriage” isn’t forcing their morality on others, but when you put it into the context of things like the push to start “educating” even our kindergarten children (see info on the proposals in California, and their approved reading materials) to be pro-homosexual, and to overrule the moral teachings of parents, that is forcing their morality. That is evidenced over and over in our society. It is not just treating homosexuals well that they want, it is agreement with their position that is often being pushed.] The point I want to make, however, is this. There are several things that are legal, but immoral in our country. I will simply illustrate with one: it is not illegal in America to have sexual relations with someone besides your mate. It is immoral. The legality of it does not make it moral. So, no matter what the government rules or decrees, it will not change what is moral or immoral.

It is interesting how those who cry tolerance the loudest are most often the most intolerant. Just this morning I saw a post in which the person made it clear that he believes that anyone opposed to homosexual marriage is basically equal to a Nazi. I still love the one who posted that, but I am shocked at the total intolerance of anyone who takes a different position than his. I have a three-year-old grandson. He still is young enough that when he says “share,” he means when someone gives him something, not the other way around. To many it appears that tolerance means you tolerate my view, not ever I tolerate your view. Am I intolerant? If by that you mean do I take a stand that there is a moral standard that is not set by society, but rather by the Creator, then I guess I am. If by that you mean that I do not believe that others can state their opinions without being lambasted by me, then no I am not intolerant. I may disagree strongly, but I will try to treat you with respect, even when I believe you are dead wrong.

Yes, Mr. O’Reilly, I will continue to “thump my Bible.” I believe that what is moral and immoral is set forth by the Creator in His Word. When properly understood and handled, we can know what is right and wrong. That code of morality will not change with government, with family relationships, with generations or with whatever may come. I will thump my Bible as I am accused of by Mr. O’Reilly, and will do so without shame or compromise, and yet do so with a love and concern for others. You see, it does not matter what Bill O’Reilly thinks, what congress thinks, etc. It only matters what God thinks, and He has told us that in that Bible I will continue thumping.

Biblical Christianity is under attack, and we will soon be denied freedom to speak our convictions. Just read the attacks on Facebook, and the ugly, horrid comments being made about Christians. If those same comments were made about homosexuals, someone would be arrested! I truly believe that before very long I will face being put in jail for writing what I am writing now, or for speaking it from the pulpit. Already the Supreme Court of Canada has ruled that it is hate speech to speak out against homosexuality as immoral (even on a biblical basis) and that it is impossible to “love the sinner and hate the sin.” So, there is no freedom of speech to preach the biblically based conviction on this matter in Canada anymore. I do not doubt that will follow here. I am determined to preach the whole counsel of God, popular or unpopular, legal or illegal – not for the purpose of being a rebel, not for the purpose of attacking others, but because I am concerned about every person’s soul, including mine. If that conviction one day lands me in jail, so be it.

[Editor’s Note: When ordered to no longer preach or teach in the name of Jesus (Acts 4:18-20; 5:40), the inspired text records, “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’” (Acts 5:29 NKJV). In every area where the law of the land, which otherwise we are obligated to obey (Romans 13:1-7), directly contradicts the Word of God, especially Christians must be prepared to “obey God rather than men” irrespective of the consequences. However, remember that Christians are not only to refrain from sin, but we are supposed attempt to persuade others from committing sins themselves. “And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them” (Ephesians 5:11). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]

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