Holiness - God's Provision for His Children
1 John 3:1-8
After I gave my heart to Christ as a teenager in the 1950's in Alma, Georgia, my pastor invested countless hours in me as we studied the Word of God together. In the spring of my senior year in high school, he asked me to speak to our congregation during a Sunday evening service. My girlfriend, who would later become my wife, along with my mother, who was a relative of most everyone in our county, made sure the church was overflowing with classmates and relatives. The sanctuary was packed, my knees were trembling and my heart was pounding as I stood up to deliver my first sermon.
My text was 1 John 3:1-8. I outlined the passage with three very simple statements:
- God wants to get us out of the sinning business.
- God wants to get the sin business out of us.
- God wants to get us involved in a brand new business.
Many years later I heard an outstanding holiness preacher and scholar speak on the same text. His three points were:
- The practice of sinning must be discontinued.
- The principle of sin must be destroyed.
- The product of salvation must be demonstrated.
Our scripture lesson presents sin as a two-headed monster. We are sinners because of our actions; we are sinful because of our nature. The new birth is a wonderful and glorious experience whereby we are forgiven for committed sins. We pass from death to life, from bondage to freedom, from guilt to pardon, from an outcast to a child of God.
At the new birth, the practice of sinning as a pattern and practice of daily life must come to a halt. The change in our behavior is evident to all who know us. We are indeed a new creation in Christ Jesus. The old has passed away and all has become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17).
Many years ago I read Dr. Donald M. Joy's book, The Holy Spirit and You. I loved his stories that communicated beautifully God's priority, plan, and provision for His people to experience a pure heart and live a holy life. Holiness is from the Father through the Son by the Spirit.
Dr. Joy's analogy of an armed robber in one's home effectively described the principle of sin, the outlaw in the heart. When I read his illustration, I could imagine myself driving home late one evening and discovering that an invader was inside my home and holding my wife at gunpoint. As I waited in fear outside my home, I had to make a decision. I had to do something. But what? Should I simply ignore the problem and hope the criminal would decide to do no harm and quietly exit my home and go away? Should I slowly enter my home, careful not to frighten the outlaw, and try to negotiate with him? Perhaps I should agree for him to live in our home if he would promise to steal only one item per day. Or, maybe, I should rush into my home, tackle the would-be robber, throw him to the floor and hold him down so he could not use his gun. Would I sit on him day after day suppressing his evil intent until one day he overpowered me?
As Dr. Joy clearly explained, the only real solution is to call for help from someone who has the authority and ability to destroy and remove the invader. Hallelujah! God has made provision in Christ to cleanse our hearts from all sin! The cleansing power of the blood of Christ goes deeper than the stain of sin has gone!