Continuing my series going through RC Sproul’s “The Holiness of God.”
Chapter eight, Be Holy Because I am Holy
It’s been a while since I’ve revisited reading this book, any book for that matter but that is a different story. For now just suffice to say, it is good to be reading again. This chapter hit a particular chord with me. Dr. Sproul uses this chapter to speak of the “sainthood” of believers. I put that in quotes to do somewhat of a similar thing Dr. Sproul does. He disassociates it from the Catholic idea of sainthood.
In the Catholic doctrine of sainthood it is something bestowed upon believers who have died and certain parameters attained. In the biblical and protestant understanding (Paul calls all believers saints) anyone who is a believer in Christ is in fact a saint. They are called to be, by God in fact. It’s from the same root word used of God, the word for holy. To be a saint is to claim association with and being set apart to God.
The first thing that resinated with me in this chapter is the phrase and the idea with it, “Be holy because I am holy.” Some time ago I took a somewhat Christianized Nazarite vow. I refused to cut my hair for almost 5 years. Everyone in my church family had never seen me otherwise and didn’t know too much about it. Since cutting my hair, few aren’t privy to the information. Having one’s hair in a style you absolutely find excruciating is a great reminder to always “be holy for I am holy.”
The other thing that resinated doesn’t have much to do with being holy, just an example Dr. Sproul gives from his own life. He references smoking cigarettes earlier in his life and uses it as an example of the difference between happiness and pleasure. It struck me because they haven’t been giving much pleasure as of late. It isn’t much of a sin issue, but I have been really struggling with when to just give them up. It’s a vice of little importance but great significance to my everyday life. I used to say I would stop (not quit) whenever I got married.
Seeing as that is a forgone conclusion in my mind, the last few months have seen me just considering quitting smoking altogether. This would be solely or the sake of the children at my church and my nephews. I don’t want them to see it as a good and prosperous thing (which I constantly tell any who see me doing it, that it is not such).
Onto the questions…
- What does it mean to you to be holy, to live a holy life?
It means to life in a way that is distinctively Christian; that others see me and how I live and can’t help but ask questions as to why I do what I do. God has purchased my life and set me apart to rise above the pattern of the world and it’s desires.
- How are you trying to renew your mind?
This is a tough one. Admittedly I hadn’t quite done this until about 5 years ago. Since that time it has been a constant battle to simply view everything from a Christian theological perspective. I guess now I would say going back to school and pursuing a doctorate (Lord willing).
- How do you respond when you realize that God has justified you by transferring to your account all of Christ’s righteousness?
Absolute amazement, I don’t quite grasp how much it means, not just in an emotional sense, but in a practical sense. I have always been someone who feels indebted to others, and wants to give everything I can to them regardless. But with the subject of justification I know there is nothing more to give except obedience.
- What fruit has the Holy Spirit been developing in your life?
Patience. Primarily in the realm of just slowing down and letting the Lord put me where he wants me to have the most benefit to others.
- In what ways do you want to grow in holiness?
More time spent in the scriptures.