Holiness is not a popular message today. One of the reasons it’s not popular is because of the misconception people have of holiness. Many still equate holiness with rules and restrictions. But living holy is not about what you wear and how you dress, or about the length of your hair, or even the outward blessings you may have. Holiness is the character of God. It’s the nature and love of God.
Jesus was the perfect example of holiness. He was holy because he was ruled by love in all things. Every thought, word, and deed he ever did was motivated by love. Every act of His life was a contribution to the glory of God. Even the miracles He performed were not so much to prove His own deity, but out of a love and compassion for humanity. How wonderful and burden destroying is His love!
Understand that Jesus did not preach the gospel and heal the sick because He was trying to earn points from the Father. He didn’t lay down His life and forgive His enemies so He could earn wages from the Father and make it back to heaven. He never did anything for money, popularity, or to gain a name or an advantage for Himself. Simply put, everything Jesus said and did was out of love and for the glory of God alone regardless of public opinion. That, my friends, is holiness!
Have you ever met someone you knew who was hiding something and not telling you the truth? Hiding is a manifestation of sin and pride. The first thing Adam and Eve did when they sinned in the beginning was to hide. This is just the opposite of holiness. Holiness has an unveiled and open face. It doesn’t hide because it has nothing to hide. In the day of reckoning and accountability and the revealing of all things, nothing can be hidden from the fire of His holiness.
Pride hides. Holiness is transparent. The more transparent a person is the greater holiness he is walking in. When people have ulterior motives and a certain self-seeking agenda, they will twist their words or an event to their own advantage; they will use people for their own gain, courting words to their own favor, often shading the truth to put themselves in the best possible light and to protect themselves. Almost every human being has something they hide. The only ones who don’t are the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. Our goal should always be the image of Christ; to be like Him, to be pure and transparent, to be holy, and to love with a pure love.
Many profess belief in the Bible but don’t really believe that its words will have any bearing on their eternal destiny. The Bible has much to say about works. Certainly we aren’t saved by works, but they shall determine our eternal reward. After all, it is written that faith without works is dead. Works are the way we prove the sincerity of our faith. But I’ve met so many people in my years of walking with the Lord who seem confident that no matter how they live their lives on the earth they will somehow make it to heaven and even receive their eternal reward.
“Now if anyone build on this foundation with gold, silver, and precious stones, wood, hay, and straw, each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. If anyone’s work he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire” (1 Cor. 3:12-15).
What will make each of our individual works clear is the fire of God’s holiness. It will take holy fire to reveal the motives behind our works. Our motives play a big part in determining if our works are gold, silver, and precious stones or wood, hay, and stubble. Some believer’s works shall be burned, and he will suffer loss. Yes, the Bible says loss! We don’t often think that there will be any loss for the believer who makes it to heaven, but the Word of God tells us differently. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want that to be my lot and portion.
Every believer needs to live with a daily consciousness of finishing his race and fulfilling God’s plan for his life. I sort of have this picture in my mind of two graphs in heaven; one represents what I actually did with my life in God, and the other tells me what the fullness of God’s plan and will was for me. And my constant pressing is to shorten the gap between the two.
At this point certain people may be thinking, “that’s alright if I lose my reward because I’ll still make it to heaven, and that’s what’s important”. I’ll be plain here and tell you that this is a loser’s mentality. A wise man considers the afterlife and his eternal reward, but a fool does not. A wise man realizes that his life on earth is very temporal, but eternity is forever. The issue in not just one of salvation, but of your personal love for Jesus and your standing throughout eternity. Will you have a seat close to Jesus for all of eternity?
There’s a reason why the mother of James and John requested that they sit on the right and left hand of Jesus (Mat 20:20-23). There’s a reason why Jesus promised His disciples thrones where they would be judges (Mat 19:28). To those who overcome He grants a seat with Him on His throne (Rev 3:21). There’s a reason why Jesus promised more authority to him who is faithful both here and the hereafter (Lk 16:10-12). Paul spoke of crowns being laid up for him (2 Tim 4:8). He spoke of attaining unto a certain resurrection (Phil 3:11) that included more than just the general resurrection of the righteous.
Heaven is for the saved. No one without the new nature can enter into the holy atmosphere of heaven. But rewards are for the sanctified and for those who refused to deviate from the pursuit of their first love.
On the other hand, hell is for the devil and his demons and for all those who chose to live independently of God.
Let’s live like these things are true.