‘Seeking to be Holy’  


I’ve been reading “The Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges and it has made me wonder if personal holiness is being emphasized enough in the church today. Rather than focusing on God and His holiness, our attention appears to be more on ourselves and our individual happiness. Unfortunately, this way of thinking has several tragic consequences.

One consequence of not actively pursuing holiness is that it could be an indication that many are not truly saved. Jesus said: “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’” (Matthew 7:21-23) The Apostle John wrote, “Little children, let no one deceive you. He who practices righteousness is righteous, just as He is righteous. He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God. In this the children of God and the children of the devil are manifest: Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God…” (1 John 3:7-10) The desire to continue to live is a strong indication that salvation never occurred. 

Another consequence of not actively pursuing holiness is that it can hinder others from coming to Christ. Again, to quote Jesus, “You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” (Matthew 5:13) Salt was a valuable commodity in ancient times, used for preserving food and enhancing its flavor. By calling His followers “the salt of the earth,” Jesus was saying that they were to be a preserving influence in the world, protecting it from moral decay and making the gospel more attractive. However, if salt loses its saltiness, it becomes useless and cannot fulfill its intended purpose. In the same way, if we as Jesus’ disciples fail to live up to our calling, we will hinder our effectiveness in reaching others for Christ.

As I read Bridges’ book, I am reminded of the importance of holiness. Nowhere in his writing does he suggest that our pursuit of holiness earns us salvation or increases God’s love for us. Rather, he urges us to strive for holiness so that we might fulfill God’s purpose for our salvation. The Bible teaches us from the very beginning that we have been made in the image of God. Since God is holy, we should aspire to be holy as well.

God bless you, Brethren.

* Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is taken from the New King James Version.

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