Holiness: What does it mean to us?

 What is Holiness


. . . as obedient children,

not fashioning yourselves

according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 

but as he which hath called you is holy,

so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 

because it is written,

Be ye holy; for I am holy

~ 1 Peter 1:14-16.


How do we, “Be ye holy for I am holy?”

Ye is a plural form of you, so we can be assured that everyone who has repented of their sins and put their faith in Christ are being commanded to be ‘as obedient children and be holy.’

God would not command us to do something without providing a way.

He has already told us that those that follow Christ are not to remain in sin and that there is a way out of every temptation leading to sin. ~ 1 Corinthians 10:1-13.


We are not considered servants in God’s eyes. Nor does He consider us His slaves. He looks at us as His children. Like His son, Jesus Christ, we are to be holy, if we continue to grow in His word.


Then said Jesus

to those Jews which believed on him,

If ye continue in my word,

then are ye my disciples indeed;

~ John 8:31


This high honor is given to those who hear and receive the doctrine as taught by Christ and the apostles.  We must learn His ways and retain what we learn by walking in them.

When we become His sincere and diligent disciples we begin to realize what it means to ‘be holy’.

Sin no longer has power over us, we are not longer its servant, and should no longer serve it.

Faith in God for the forgiveness of our sin is where holiness begins.


What is Sin?


If we answer this question incorrectly, we get our whole Christian walk off kilter and may not fully realize what it means to please God and walking holy according to the scriptures.

Sin is a term taken from archery meaning to miss the mark. But what is the mark? The mark is the Law of God.

A more accurate and biblical definition of sin is, ” The willful transgression of a known law of God.”

This is recorded in scripture in various ways.


because the law worketh wrath

for where no law is, there is no transgression.

~ Romans 4:15


Wherefore then serveth the law?

It was added because of transgressions,

till the seed should come to whom the promise was made;

and it was ordained by angels in the hand of a mediator.

~ Galatians 3:19


but if ye have respect to persons,

ye commit sin,

and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

~ James 2:9


Whosoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law:

for sin is the transgression of the law.

~ 1 John 3:4


The bible also says that unrighteousness is sin.

All unrighteousness is sin:

and there is a sin not unto death.

We know that whosoever is born of God sinneth not;

but he that is begotten of God keepeth himself,

and that wicked one toucheth him not.

~ 1 John 5:16-17.

————

Neither yield ye your members

as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin:

~ Romans 6:13a.

By understanding what holiness is not, we get closer to understanding more clearly what holiness is and how we can obey Jesus to, ‘go and sin no more.

The apostles also provide a convicting question, ‘How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?

If we know what the law of Christ is then we know what to do and how to avoid transgression of this law.

We also can learn from what not to do learning by what the apostles mean by ‘unrighteous transgression of the law‘.


What the Law is Not


What shall we say then?

Is the law sin? God forbid.

Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law:

for I had not known lust,

except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

But sin, taking occasion by the commandment,

wrought in me all manner of concupiscence.

For without the law sin was dead.

~ Romans 7:7-8.


The law is not sin. Neither is it the ceremonial commandments. Here Paul is referring to the 10 commandments because they are holy and reveal all manner of sin.

The law is to be written in our hearts the moment they are purified from sin. This transformation by the indwelling Spirit is shed abroad in our hearts enabling us to love God and to love our neighbors as Jesus Commands.



The Biblical Nature of Holiness


Holiness has a composite meaning. Some of the words used in the Bible that clarify the meaning of holiness include; holy, hallow, and sanctify.

There are other words that further break down these components such as purity, dross, and light. All this terminology is used to indicate an absence of sin or corruption in the presence of God.

We will focus on the words that define holiness: sanctify, hallow, holy. These terms also reflect the nature of God and the what He desires to bestow upon us as He transforms us into His image.


The Scriptural meaning of Sanctification and Hallow


The first occurrence of the word sanctify culminates the creation story and the purity in which it existed. There was no sin to be found and Satan had not yet made his presence in creation.

I wrote a post on the possible instance of Lucifer’s fall while in the Garden of Eden. This is based on evidence found in scripture and is further supported by the description of God seeing all that He made in the heavens and the earth was very good in Genesis 1:31.


And God blessed the seventh day,

and sanctified it:

because that in it

he had rested from all his work

which God created and made.

~ Genesis 2:3.


This is the first time any word related to holiness is used in the Bible. God set aside a day and rested. By blessing the day, God is speaking good about setting aside a day of rest from our work. He is also speaking about the nature of our behavior in our work.

In the New Testament, Jesus tells us that He is the Lord of the sabbath, that it was made for us, and the royal commandment of loving others springs from the intention of the sabbath. He alludes to this in the story of in John 9:14.


Entering into rest from our work is a form of sanctification to God and is something we all should strive for with utmost importance.


Entering the promised land was symbolic of entering heaven as noted by Paul in Hebrews. We are given the same warning in Hebrews 4 that the Israelites were given in the wilderness about entering into God’s rest.

Our high priest wants to sanctify us in His rest:

. . . let us hold fast our profession. 

For we have not an high priest which

cannot be touched with the feeling

of our infirmities;

but was in all points

tempted like as we are,

yet without sin. 

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace,

that we may obtain mercy,

and find grace to help in time of need.

~ Hebrews 4:14-16.


We cannot rest in sin and wickedness, only in holiness. He promises grace for believers in time of need when the tides of sin or trouble come upon us like waves on an ocean shore.

Life brings with it all manner of temptations. Come boldly to Him, obtain His kindness, mercy, and strength, and stand against sin and father of lies.

We are to labor so we can enter into the Lord’s rest. We are to be sanctified and blessed in the fruit of His works. This is how we become holy. It is a work of God in us, not imputed to us by doing nothing.


For he that is entered into his rest,

he also hath ceased from his own works,

as God did from his.

Let us labour therefore

to enter into that rest,

lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.

~ Hebrew 4:10-11.


When someone or something is sanctified, he or it belongs to God. He is to do the bidding of God, not the bidding of Satan. That means to live a holy life rather than one stained by servitude to sin.


Sanctify unto me all the firstborn,

whatsoever openeth the womb

among the children of Israel,

both of man and of beast:

it is mine.

~ Exodus 13:2.


And let the priests also,

which come near to the Lord,

sanctify themselves,

lest the Lord break forth upon them.

~ Leviticus 19:22.


This  means that the priests were suppose to completely devote themselves to the Lord. They were to separate from everything inconsistent with living a holy life.

For us, this means we to test everything we come in contact with, test it, and only hold onto those things that are holy. This applies to every act and thought, both inward and outward.


Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 

Abstain from all appearance of evil.

And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;

~ 1 Thessalonians 5:21-23a.


 The Scriptural meaning of Holy


And he said,

Draw not nigh hither:

put off thy shoes from off thy feet,

for the place whereon thou standest

is holy ground.

~ Exodus 3:5.


The first time holy was used was in relation to the place where God called Moses. The ground had a special status because of God’s choice of coming near to it. Moses could not stand on it unless God allowed it.

Holy here stood for a mark of separation or being set apart from things that are not holy and being near to God.

It is important to keep in mind here that there is no neutral ground. Either someone or something is standing for God or against Him. You are either holy or unholy. That is a scarey but true proposition.

He that is not with me is against me: and he that gathereth not with me scattereth. ~ Luke 11:23.


The next occurrence of holy in scripture is related to sanctification of the sabbath.

And in the first day there shall be an holy convocation,

and in the seventh day

there shall be an holy convocation to you;

no manner of work shall be done in them,

save that which every man must eat,

that only may be done of you.

~ Exodus 12:16.


Now we see the intimate relation between sanctify and holy. Here holy refers to the calling of the Israelites together for service and dedication to God in remembrance of what has done for them.

Applying this today would relate to how we obligated to reverence the assembling of ourselves together and act accordingly while we gather together in church for worship and service in the Lord.

Remember the sanctuary, which comes from sanctify? The holy place? The holy of holies? Everything in the temple and tabernacle was considered holy.

The priest entering the holy of holies once a year would die if he was not properly prepared according to God’s instructions.

We too will not be considered holy if we do not obey the Law of Christ. Here are the scriptural proofs of the law we are to follow:

Brethren, if a man be overtaken in a fault,

ye which are spiritual,

restore such an one in the spirit of meekness;

considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. 

Bear ye one another’s burdens,

and so fulfil the law of Christ.

~ Galatians 6:1-2.

————-

Charity suffereth long, and is kind;

charity envieth not;

charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, 

doth not behave itself unseemly,

seeketh not her own,

is not easily provoked,

thinketh no evil;

~ 1 Corinthians 13:4-5.

————

forbearing one another, and forgiving one another,

if any man have a quarrel against any:

even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 

And above all these things put on charity,

which is the bond of perfectness. 

And let the peace of God rule in your hearts,

to the which also ye are called in one body;

and be ye thankful.

~ Colossians 3:13-15


Scripture is full with descriptions of the Law of Christ. Below is one of the best descriptions that describes this law outside of scripture that have read:

“Love is longsuffering.” It suffers all the weaknesses of the children of God, all the wickedness of the children of the world; and that not for a little time only, but as long as God pleases. In all, it sees the hand of God, and willingly submits thereto.

Meantime, it is “kind.” In all, and after all, it suffers, it is soft, mild, tender, benign. “Love envieth not”; it excludes every kind and degree of envy out of the heart. “Love acteth not rashly,” in a violent, headstrong manner; nor passes any rash or severe judgment.

It “doth not behave itself in decently”; is not rude, does not act out of character. “Seeketh not her own” ease, pleasure, honour, or profit. “Is not provoked”; expels all anger from the heart. “Thinketh no evil”; casteth out all jealousy, suspiciousness, and readiness to believe evil.

“Rejoiceth not in iniquity”; yea, weeps at the sin or folly of its bitterest enemies. “But rejoiceth in the truth”; in the holiness and happiness of every child of man. “Love covereth all things,” speaks evil of no man; “believeth all things” that tend to the advantage of another’s character.

It “hopeth all things,” whatever may extenuate the faults which cannot be denied; and it “endureth all things” which God can permit, or men and devils inflict. This is the “law of Christ, the perfect law, the law of liberty.

A Plain Account of Christian Perfection by John Wesley.


Moreover, holiness should be carried over into all aspects of life in the furthering of the kingdom of God.

It is clear that being holy requires transforming our internal nature into one like Christ’s.

This deliverance  from sin unto holiness is the end of salvation when we abide, we will be able to stand on the day of judgment.


Ye have seen what I did unto the Egyptians,

and how I bare you on eagles’ wings,

and brought you unto  myself. 

Now therefore,

if ye will obey my voice indeed,

and keep my covenant,

then ye shall be a peculiar treasure unto me above all people:

for all the earth is mine: 

and ye shall be unto me a kingdom of priests,

and an holy nation.

~ Exodus 19:4-6.


The New Testament reaffirms this holiness unto the Lord we as believers are to live. It also refers to the deliverance from Egypt, which is closely related to sin and corruption.

But ye are a chosen generation,

a royal priesthood,

an holy nation, a peculiar people;

that ye should shew forth the praises of him

who hath called you out of darkness

into his marvellous light: 

which in time past were not a people,

but are now the people of God:

which had not obtained mercy,

but now have obtained mercy.

~ 1 Peter 2:9-10.


For I am the Lord your God:

ye shall therefore sanctify yourselves,

and ye shall be holy; for I am holy:

neither shall ye defile yourselves

with any manner of creeping thing

that creepeth upon the earth.

For I am the Lord that bringeth you up

out of the land of Egypt, to be your God:

ye shall therefore be holy, for I am holy.

~ Leviticus 11;44-45.


This is further explained in the New Testament.

but as he which hath called you is holy,

so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;

because it is written,

Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Seeing ye have purified your souls

in obeying the truth through the Spirit

unto unfeigned love of the brethren,

see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: 

being born again, not of corruptible seed,

but of incorruptible, by the word of God,

which liveth and abideth for ever.

~ 1 Peter 1:15-16, 22-23.



 The Meaning of Hallow


Hallow is used interchangeably with sanctify in scripture as noted below.

For in six days the Lord made heaven

and earth, the sea,

and all that in them is,

and rested the seventh day:

wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day,

and hallowed it.

~ Exodus 20:11.


The connectedness and interchangeability of the three words; sanctify, holy, and hallow signify the meaning of holiness. 

The end of holiness leads to song, praise, and worship of the glory and eternal righteousness of God.


Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name:

bring an offering, and come before him:

worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

~ 1 Chronicles 16:29

————

And when he had consulted with the people,

he appointed singers unto the Lord,

and that should praise the beauty of holiness,

as they went out before the army,

and to say, Praise the Lord;

for his mercy endureth for ever.

~ 2 Chronicles 20:21

————

Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name;

worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness.

~ Psalm 29:2

————

O worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness:

fear before him, all the earth.

~ Psalm 96:9


Some final thoughts from others on holiness:

Only as one responds wholly to the will of God does sin lose its power. Those who are so responding to grace, that grace is exercising increasing influence within the will, and they are prepared for whatever emerges. ~ Thomas Oden

The world, the flesh, and the Devil are put under his feet; thus he rules over these enemies with watchfulness through the power of the Holy Spirit. ~ John Wesley


God bless your journey

~ D

 

Notes from John Fletcher on Christian Perfection


A Servant Should be Like his Master


Now if your Master was tempted

and assaulted to the last;

if to the last he watched and prayed,

using all the means of grace himself,

and enforcing the use of them upon others;

if to the last he fought against the world,

the flesh, and the devil,

and did not “put off the harness” (stop toiling)

till he had put off the body;

think not yourselves above him;

but “go and do likewise.”

If he did not regain paradise,

without going through the most complete

renunciation of all the good things of this world,

and without meekly submitting

to the severe stroke of his last enemy, death,

be content to be “perfect as he was:”

nor fancy that your flesh and blood

can inherit the celestial kingdom of God,

when the flesh and blood which Emmanuel himself

assumed from a pure virgin,

could not inherit it without passing under

the cherub’s flaming sword:

 I mean, without going through the gates of death.


Perfection is not yet Complete in Wisdom


Perfect love does not imply perfect knowledge;

but perfect humility,

and perfect readiness to receive instruction.

Remember, therefore,

that if ever ye show  that ye are above being instructed,

even by a fisherman

who teaches according to the Divine anointing,

ye will show that ye are fallen

from a perfection of humility

into a perfection of pride.


Perfection is not Angelic; it is Perfected in Weakness


Uninterrupted transports of praise,

and ceaseless raptures of joy,

do not belong to Christian, but to angelical perfection.

Our feeble frame can bear but a few drops

of that glorious cup.

In general, that new wine is too strong for our old bottles;

that power is too excellent for our earthen, cracked vessels;

but weak as they are, they can bear a fulness of meekness,

of resignation, of humility,

and of that love which is willing to “obey unto death.”

If God indulge you with ecstacies, and extraordinary revelations,

be thankful for them: but

be “not exalted above measure by them;”

take care lest enthusiastic delusions mix themselves with them;

and remember that your Christian perfection

does not so much consist

in “building a tabernacle” upon Mount Tabor,

to rest and enjoy rare sights there.

as in resolutely taking up the cross,

and following Christ to the palace of a proud Caiaphas,

to the judgment hall of an unjust Pilate,

and to the top of an ignominious Calvary.


Perfection is a Call to Suffering


Ye never read in your Bibles,

“Let that glory be upon you which was also upon St. Stephen,

when he looked up steadfastly into heaven,

and said, Behold! I see the heavens opened,

and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”


But ye have frequently read there,

“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus,

who made himself of no reputation,

took upon him the form of a servant,

and being found in fashion as a man,

humbled himself,

and became obedient unto death,

even the death of the cross.”


 See him on that ignominious gibbet!

He hangs; abandoned by his friends,

surrounded by his foes, condemned by the rich,

insulted by the poor! He hangs;

a worm and no man, a very scorn of men,

and the outcast of the people!


 All that see him laugh him to scorn!

They shoot out their lips and shake their heads, saying,

He trusted in God, that he would deliver him;

let him deliver him, if he will have him!”

There is none to help him:

one of his apostles denies, another sells him;

and the rest run away.

“Many oxen are come about him:

fat bulls of Bashan close him on every side;

they gape upon him with their mouths

as it were a raging lion; he is poured out like water;

his heart in the midst of his body is like melting wax;

his strength is dried up like a potsherd;

his tongue cleaveth to his gums;

he is going into the dust of death;

many dogs are come about him;

and the counsel of the wicked layeth siege against him;

his hands and feet are pierced; you may tell all his bones;

they stand staring and looking upon him;

they part his garments among them,

and cast lots for the only remains of his property,

his plain, seamless vesture.

Both suns, the visible and the invisible, seem eclisped.

No cheering beam of created light gilds his gloomy prospect.

No smile of his heavenly Father supports his agonizing soul!

No cordial, unless it be vinegar and gall,

revives his sinking spirits!

He has nothing left except his God.


Perfection is Matured by Loving Others


But his God is enough for him.

In his God he has all things.

And though his soul is seized with sorrow, even unto death,

yet it hangs more firmly upon his God by a naked faith,

than his lacerated body does on the cross by the clenched nails.

The perfection of his love shines in all its Christian glory.

He not only forgives his insulting foes

and bloody persecutors, but,

in the highest point of his passion,

he forgets his own wants,

and thirsts after their eternal happiness.

Together with his blood, he pours out his soul for them;

and, excusing them all, he says,

“Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”


O ye adult sons of God,

in this glass behold all with open face

the glory of your Redeemer’s forgiving, praying love;

and, as ye “behold it, be changed

into the same image from glory to glory,

by the loving Spirit of the Lord.” 


Perfection: Humble, Pure, and Honest


“Be therefore clothed with humility,

let it not only fill, but cover you all over.

Let modesty and self diffidence (distrust, doubt)

appear in all your words and actions.

Let all you speak and do show that you are little,

and base, and mean,

and vile in your own eyes.

As one instance of this,

be always ready to own any fault you have been in.

If you have at any time thought,

spoke, or acted wrong,

be not backward to acknowledge it.

Never dream that this will hurt the cause of God:

no, it will farther it.

Be therefore open and frank

when you are taxed with any thing:

let it appear just as it is;

and you will thereby not hinder,

but adorn the Gospel.”

~ John Wesley


Inspiration Moments: Make no provision for the flesh.


Owe no man any thing,

but to love one another:

for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 

For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery,

Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal,

Thou shalt not bear false witness,

Thou shalt not covet;

and if there be any other commandment,

it is briefly comprehended in this saying,

namely,

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 

Love worketh no ill to his neighbour:

therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

And that, knowing the time,

that now it is high time to awake out of sleep:

for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 

The night is far spent, the day is at hand:

let us therefore cast off the works of darkness,

and let us put on the armour of light.

Let us walk honestly, as in the day;

not in rioting and drunkenness,

not in chambering and wantonness,

not in strife and envying. 

But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,

and make not provision for the flesh,

to fulfil the lusts thereof.


Cast all your sin, all your desires, even your whole soul before the Lord.

Are you presenting your body as a living sacrifice to God?

For this is what is expected of you.

It is the only thing that is acceptable to God.

Holiness is your reasonable service.

We are to prove ,and this takes time, what the perfect will of God is.

It can only happen through the transforming power of His Spirit.


For we are unto God a sweet savour of Christ,

in them that are saved, and in them that perish: 

to the one we are the savour of death unto death;

and to the other the savour of life unto life.

And who is sufficient for these things? 

For we are not as many,

which corrupt the word of God:

but as of sincerity, but as of God,

in the sight of God speak we in Christ.

~ 2 Corinthians 2:15-17.


We as believers are admonished by the promises of God for us as obedient children. We also must heed the warnings of God when we do not walk according to His holy word.

We cannot allow any belief, any bias, or any doctrine taught us that teaches contrary to or corrupts any part of the whole divine counsel of God.

He is calling us to Him. To His ways, to the beauty of His holiness.


A Note From Paul

I write not these things to shame you,

but as my beloved sons I warn you

For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ,

yet have ye not many fathers:

for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. 

Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. 

For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.

What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod,

or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?

~ 1 Corinthians 4:14-16, 20-21.


If we believe in Jesus and follow His word, we also follow all that our father in the faith Paul taught us. More than half of the New Testament (14 of 27 books) were written by him.

It would be wise beyond measure to take every word, every thought, every intention given to us in gospel to heart and plead to God that He may grant us the grace to follow all He wishes to bestow upon us all the days of your life.

What is the gospel? It is every word found in the Bible that points toward Christ and teaches the principles of God in Him.

I would rather Paul come to me with a rod of correction than the Lord’s terrible wrath of judgment.


For if we sin wilfully

after that we have received the knowledge of the truth,

there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 

but a certain fearful looking for of judgment

and fiery indignation,

which shall devour the adversaries.

~ Hebrews 10:26-27.


 Be reconciled to God and sin not, for this is the teaching and doctrine taught by Paul Romans.

For he hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin;

that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

~ 2 Corinthians (excerpts)


Afterward Jesus findeth him in the temple,

and said unto him,

Behold, thou art made whole: sin no more,

lest a worse thing come unto thee.

~ John 5:14.


Likewise, I beseech all my readers. If you love the Lord with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself; in this we can cease from sin and live truly for Him alone.

Some of you reading can attest to this already. Others desire it desperately, and perhaps most mock the entire idea. For the corruption of the scriptures has been working at full measure for nearly 2,000 years.

If you continue in His word, then you are his disciples indeed; and you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’

Free from serving sin and free to serve the Lord in righteousness.

For we cannot serve God and mammon (the world).

That would be hypocrisy.


But the wisdom that is from above is first pure,

then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated,

full of mercy and good fruits,

without partiality, and without hypocrisy. 

And the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace

of them that make peace.

~ James 3:17-18.


Once More, Follow only those things received and taught by the holy apostles, because they are the very words and instructions from God.


Rejoice in the Lord alway: and again I say, Rejoice. 

Let your moderation be known unto all men.

The Lord is at hand. 

Be careful for nothing;

but in every thing by prayer

and supplication with thanksgiving

let your requests be made known unto God. 

And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding,

shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. 


Finally, brethren,

whatsoever things are true,

whatsoever things are honest,

whatsoever things are just,

whatsoeverthings are pure,

whatsoever things are lovely,

whatsoever things are of good report;

if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise,

think on these things. 


Those things, which ye have both learned,

and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:

and the God of peace shall be with you.

~ Philippians 4:4-9

Lessons from Judas and Peter


Sins of Two of the Apostles


Fortunately we see only four prominent examples of the apostles sinning in scripture. This is a pretty good track record since we have 13 apostles living upwards of 60 years after Christ. I only count the original 12 and Paul, those chosen by Jesus, not Matthias who was chosen by lots.


Sin is defined as all unrighteousness as well as a willful transgression of a known law of God. It is the opposite, all that it contrary to the holiness God disposes upon us.

We will look at four records sins, one from Judas and three from Peter.


Judas conspired to commit the murder of Jesus. He did not repent from this sin and turn back to God.  As a result, he perished.


This one is pretty cut and dried since he was prophesied to betray Christ long before it happened.

And I said unto them, If ye think good,

give me my price; and if not, forbear.

So they weighed for my price thirty pieces of silver. 

And the Lord said unto me,

Cast it unto the potter:

a goodly price that I was prised at of them.

And I took the thirty pieces of silver,

and cast them to the potter

in the house of the Lord. 

~ Zechariah 11:12-13.

————

Yea, mine own familiar friend,

in whom I trusted,

which did eat of my bread,

hath lifted up his heel against me.

~ Psalm 41:9.


We know that Peter sinned three times. Twice before the Holy Spirit came upon him at Pentecost and once after. These three examples are very instructive to the Christian.

It shows us that even the greatest disciples can fall and we can sin after maturing and living for God for many years. Initial salvation does not negate the possibility of falling back into willful sin or even perdition.

It also shows us that sin can be persistent problem requiring a level of diligence and fervent clinging to God if we are to prevent the practice of sinning over again and again which leads to not being truly repentant of our sins.

This should change how we live as Christians. The change that repentance brings cannot truly become real unless we allow God to have His way in all our ways.


Here is the first account of Peter’s willful transgression.

Now Peter sat without in the palace:

and a damsel came unto him, saying,

Thou also wast with Jesus of Galilee. 

But he denied before them all, saying,

I know not what thou sayest. 

And when he was gone out into the porch,

another maid saw him,

and said unto them that were there,

This fellow was also with Jesus of Nazareth. 

And again he denied with an oath,

I do not know the man. 

And after a while came unto him

they that stood by, and said to Peter,

Surely thou also art one of them;

for thy speech bewrayeth thee. 

Then began he to curse and to swear,

saying, I know not the man.

~ Matthew 26:69-74.


Not only did Peter lie three times that he knew not Jesus, he also cursed and swore an oath. These are all willful and known laws of God for the Jew.


Peter lied because he did not want to suffer persecution from others but we are exhorted to expect persecution as a follower of Christ. We should never sin to avoid it.


Yea,

and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus

shall suffer persecution.

~ 2 Timothy 3:12.


Do you lie in thought, word, or deed or seek to avoid persecution? Worse yet, do you lie as a habit?

There is freedom from the tyranny of this sin (and all others) if you seek Him with all your strength.


Peter’s second willful transgression . . .

And he saith unto them,

But whom say ye that I am?

And Peter answereth and saith unto him,

Thou art the Christ. 

And he charged them that they should tell no man of him. 

And he began to teach them,

that the Son of man must suffer many things,

and be rejected of the elders,

and of the chief priests,

and scribes,

and be killed,

and after three days rise again. 

And he spake that saying openly.

And Peter took him, and began to rebuke him. 

But when he had turned about

and looked on his disciples,

he rebuked Peter, saying,

Get thee behind me, Satan:

for thou savourest not the things that be of God,

but the things that be of men.


What was Peter’s sin? Loving the things in the world, which is a form of idolatry; another well-known law of God. This can happen to us through the lust of the eyes, lust of the flesh, or pride of life.


If any man come to me,

and hate not his father, and mother, and wife,

and children, and brethren, and sisters,

yea, and his own life also,

he cannot be my disciple.

~ Luke 14:26.


So likewise, whosoever he be of you

that forsaketh not all that he hath,

he cannot be my disciple.

~ Luke 14:22


Peter had to learn a hard lesson. Unfortunately, he did not do that it until much later in life; approximately 15 years later.

God wants to revive our heart and make it like His; Pure and free from the desire to sin unto unrighteousness.

We as Christians are called to submit ourselves to God, resist the devil, and savour the things that be of Him.


And whosoever doth not bear his cross,

and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

~ Luke 14:27


We cannot and do not want to do this in our sinful nature. We naturally want to sin against God. Only a soul broken, contrite, and sacrificed can have this genuine desire taken away and replaced with a heart of Christ.

Christ died for us; so we should to be dead to the sin.

When we repent and turn from sin, the Holy Spirit will quicken us in truth, righteousness, and everlasting life.


Peter’s third willful transgression happened after Pentecost . . .

But when Peter was come to Antioch,

I withstood him to the face,

because he was to be blamed. 

For before that certain came from James,

he did eat with the Gentiles:

but when they were come,

he withdrew and separated himself,

fearing them which were of the circumcision. 

And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him;

insomuch that Barnabas also

was carried away with their dissimulation. 

But when I saw that they walked not uprightly

according to the truth of the gospel,

I said unto Peter before them all,

If thou, being a Jew,

livest after the manner of Gentiles,

and not as do the Jews,

why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?

~ Galatians 2:11-14.


Peter was a respecter of persons transgressing the royal law of loving our neighbor as ourselves. He was living in hypocrisy.

This sin brings with it repercussions to those around us as does all forms of disobedience.

It also brings with it eternal punishment if we fail to repent, remain in sin, and disobedience to God.

Here is one example of a sin that is linked to eternal judgment. I now fear forsaking God by disobeying this command.


. . . not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together,

as the manner of some is;

but exhorting one another:

and so much the more,

as ye see the day approaching.

For if we sin wilfully

after that we have received the knowledge of the truth,

there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins, 

but a certain fearful

looking for of judgment and fiery indignation,

which shall devour the adversaries

~ Hebrews 10:25-27.


Likewise, when we live in holiness, this affects others too and is very pleasing to God. It matters not if those around us are displeased or offended by our obedience.

What matters is that we are seeking to please God and obeying the royal commandments rather than pleasing others by advocating or tacitly approving worldly iniquity in order to keep or seek others’ approval.

That was Peter’s sin. Is it yours?


When our spiritual leaders sin, we are often led into sin by their thoughts, words, and deeds. That is why it is so important to find a church that does not tolerate or teach any acceptance of sin inside or outside the church.

What should the church from the top down teach us? To fulfill the whole law and the prophets.


If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture,

Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well:

but if ye have respect to persons,

ye commit sin,

and are convinced of the law as transgressors.

~ James 2:8-9.


And every man that hath this hope in him

purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

Whosoever committeth sin

transgresseth also the law:

for sin is the transgression of the law.

And ye know that he was manifested

to take away our sins;

and in him is no sin.

.~ 1 John 3:3-5.


Have you let your hope in Him purify your soul? Have you let Him truly take away your sins? Are you in a church that can foster this process. You will not find this in any large mega-church or in most smaller churches, but in little, little flocks that preach biblical holiness in love. At least this has been my experience for 30 years.


For if the word spoken by angels was stedfast,

and every transgression and disobedience

received a just recompence of reward; 

how shall we escape,

if we neglect so great salvation; 

~ Hebrews 2:2-3.


Like the prodigal son God seeks to make you holy.


‘clothes me with the garments of salvation,

he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness,

as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments,

and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.’

~ Isaiah  61:10.


Will you let Him make you holy, keep you from sin?

Do you yearn to be free indeed?

Free to love others as yourself?

Free to love God with all your heart, mind, and strength?