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II. Give thanks for God’s holiness; because He delivers the righteous ones from the power of sin. That’s sanctification!
Rev. James Smellie explains, “. . . the righteous may well give thanks at the remembrance of God’s holiness, when they remember that, however mysterious and trying God’s dealings toward them may be they are all holy, and designed to promote their holiness.”
Dr. Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., recounts, “As a student I sat through many sermons by speakers who asked the audience the rhetorical question, Do you know what is wrong with Christians? Why is it that we are so far behind our beliefs in practicing a vital, sanctified life? The first time I heard this question I was all ears, for I had no idea what the desired response was. It turned out to be this: it is because we are not willing to let go and let God. The proof for this statement was found in such texts as Ephesians 2:10, ‘For we are God’s workmanship,’ and Philippians 2:13, ‘For it is God who works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure’ (NKJV).
Well, that settled that question. At least it settled it until the next day; when another chapel speaker arrived and rhetorically asked the identical question. Had it not been a dignified and most conservative setting, I might have blurted out yesterday’s answer, but fortunately for my reputation and the reserved decorum of the setting, I was spared what would have been embarrassment and a great deal of theological discomfort. As it turned out, the answer had changed 180 degrees overnight. Now, the problem was not the ‘emptiness of busyness,’ as a substitute for the sovereign working of God; no, the problem now was that too many Christians were lazily sitting around expecting God to do everything when the Scripture said, we are ‘created . . . to do good works’ (Eph. 2:10), and that we should work out [our] salvation with fear and trembling’ (Phil. 2:12).
It took a number of months and years of this kind of switch hitting before I began to realize something (typical case of a slow learner). Both sides were appealing to almost the same contexts or verses. However, each was quoting only that portion of the text that held high the point in the argument they wished to make. My conclusion was staring me in the face: Scripture taught both positions, and one without the other was in danger of becoming lopsided.”
Rev. Charles H. Spurgeon writes, “. . . whatever call a man may have, if he has not been called to holiness, he certainly has not been called to the ministry.”
Dr. Randy Alcorn explains, “Any concept of grace that makes us feel more comfortable sinning is not biblical grace. God’s grace never encourages us to live in sin, on the contrary, it empowers us to say no to sin and yes to truth.”
III. Give thanks for God’s holiness; because He delivers the righteous ones from the presence of sin. That’s glorification!
Rev. James Smellie explains, “. . . the righteous give thanks at the remembrance of God’s holiness, because it is the security and pattern of their own ultimate holiness. You hate sin, O Christian, and long to be delivered from it.” Someone explains, “As believers, we should hate sin as does God. We are ‘sons of the light and sons of the day. We do not belong to the night or to the darkness’ (1 Thessalonians 5:5). We must recognize that God has set us apart; we are ‘a holy nation, a people belonging to God’ (1 Peter 2:9). We cannot become holy on our own, but God gives us His Holy Spirit to sanctify us (2 Thessalonians 2:13). We have His promise that He will help us in our struggle against sin (1 Corinthians 1:8). We hate sin because it separates us from God. We hate it because it lessens our love and dulls our conscience, because it binds us and blinds us. We hate it because it grieves the Spirit of God (Ephesians 4:30).” Romans 12:9b reads, “Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”
Romans 8:30 reads, “Moreover whom He predestined, these He also called; whom He called, these He also justified; and whom He justified, these He also glorified.” Remember, if you are “justified” you will be “glorified”. 1 John 3:1-3 reads, “Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God! Therefore the world does not know us, because it did not know Him. Beloved, now we are children of God; and it has not yet been revealed what we shall be, but we know that when He is revealed, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. And everyone who has this hope in Him purifies himself, just as He is pure.”
Revelation 21:22-27, “But I saw no temple in it, for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. The city had no need of the sun or of the moon to shine in it, for the glory of God illuminated it. The Lamb is its light. And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there). And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s Book of Life.”
Rev. Matthew Henry (1662-1714) comments, “Perfect and direct communion with God, will more than supply the place of gospel institutions. And what words can more full express the union and co-equality of the Son with the Father, in the Godhead? What a dismal world would this be, if it were not for the light of the sun! What is there in heaven that supplies its place? The glory of God lightens that city, and the Lamb is the Light thereof. God in Christ will be an everlasting Fountain of knowledge and joy to the saints in heaven. There is no night, therefore no need of shutting the gates; all is at peace and secure. The whole shows us that we should be more and more led to think of heaven as filled with the glory of God, and enlightened by the presence of the Lord Jesus. Nothing sinful or unclean, idolatrous, or false and deceitful, can enter. All the inhabitants are made perfect in holiness. Now the saints feel a sad mixture of corruption, which hinders them in the service of God, and interrupts their communion with him; but, at their entrance into the holy of holies, they are washed in the laver of Christ’s blood, and presented to the Father without spot. None are admitted into heaven who work abominations. It is free from hypocrites, such as make lies. As nothing unclean can enter heaven, let us be stirred up by these glimpses of heavenly things, to use all diligence, and to perfect holiness in the fear of God.”
Are you giving thanks at the remembrance of God’s holiness? God commands and commends holiness! Leviticus 11:44b reads, “. . . you shall be holy; for I am holy. . .” 1 Peter 1:13-16 reads, “Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy.’”
Revelation 22:10-11 reads, “And he said to me, ‘Do not seal the words of the prophecy of this book, for the time is at hand. He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.’” Revelation 22:14-15 reads, “Blessed are those who do His commandments, that they may have the right to the tree of life, and may enter through the gates into the city. But outside are dogs and sorcerers and sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and whoever loves and practices a lie.” Beware, the same God who commends holiness condemns un-holiness.
Dr. John Owen (1616-1683) writes, “. . . [God] cannot pass by sin absolutely unpunished: for it is contrary unto his holiness, and therefore he cannot do it; for he cannot deny himself.”
Dr. J.C. Ryle issues the following solemn warning: “Beware of manufacturing a God of your own—a God who is all mercy, but not just,—a God who is all love, but not holy,—a God who has a heaven for every body, but a hell for none,—a God who can allow good and bad to be side by side in time, but will make no distinction between good and bad in eternity. Such a God is an idol of your own, as really as Jupiter or Juggernaut,—as true an idol as any snake or crocodile in an Egyptian temple,—as true an idol as were ever moulded out of brass or clay. The hands of your own fancy and sentimentality have made him. He is not the God of the Bible, and beside the God of the Bible there is no God at all.”
Acts 4:12 reads, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” The name? Jesus! Psalm 97:12b reads, “. . . give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.”
Give thanks for God’s holiness!
Pulpit, Smellie, 71.
Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Revive Us Again (Geanies House, Fearn, Tain, Ross-shire, Scotland, UK: Christian Focus Publications Ltd., 2001), Accessed: 10/31/15 http://www.amazon.com/Revive-Us-Again-Biblical-Principles/dp/1857926870#reader_B00HUWQRGM .
Charles H. Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students: First Series (New York, NY: R. Carter & Brothers, 1890), 15.
Randy Alcorn, The Grace and Truth Paradox: Responding with Christlike Balance (New York, NY: Waterbrook Multnomah, an imprint of the Crown Publishing Group, a division of Random House, 1009), 82.
Pulpit, Smellie, 72.
“Why does God hate sin?” Accessed: 10/31/15 http://www.gotquestions.org/God-hate-sin.html .
Matthew Henry, The Miniature Commentary being Short Comments on Every Chapter of the Holy Bible: Matthew To Revelation (London: The Religious Tract Society, 1840), 496.
The Works of John Owen, D.D., eds. William H. Goold and Charles W. Quick (Philadelphia, PA: Leighton Publications, 1869), 11:111.
John Charles Ryle, Consider Your Ways: Being a Pastor’s Address to His Flock (Ipswich: Hunt & Son, 1849), 26-27.