Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14
We are called to spiritual completeness, and we are called to empty ourselves before God and men, to humble ourselves as empty vessels to be filled with the Spirit of God.
Steps to Personal Holiness
STEP 1 – HUMBLE OURSELVES BEFORE GOD AND MEN.
God calls men to be humble:
If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. II Chronicles 7:14
The steps to personal holiness (being sin-less and separated from wickedness) are clear:
- Humble ourselves (personal humility);
- Pray (communicating with God);
- Seek God’s face (personal devotion to God – obedience); and
- Turn from our wicked ways (repentance).
God guides the humble in what is right:
You save the humble but bring low those whose eyes are haughty. Psalm 18:27
Good and upright is the Lord; therefore he instructs sinners in His way; He guides the humble in what is right. Psalm 25:8-9
For the Lord takes delight in His people; He crowns the humble with salvation. Psalm 149:4
This is the one I esteem, saith the Lord, He who is humble and contrite in spirit, and trembles at My Word. Isaiah 66:2b
This is what the high and lofty one says who inhabits eternity: “I live in a high and holy place but also with him who is contrite [crumbled, bruised, beaten to pieces, crushed, humble, or smitten] and lowly in spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly and to revive the heart of the contrite”. Isaiah 57:14
Jesus says: “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light. Matthew 11:28-29
Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another with love. Ephesians 4:2
You adulterous people, don’t you know that friendship with the world is hatred toward God? Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God. Or do you think scripture says without reason that the spirit he caused to live in us envies intensely? But he gives us more grace. That is why scripture says: “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. James 4:4-6
Humble yourselves before the Lord and he will lift you up. James 4:10
SUMMARY: God seeks the humble, contrite, or broken heart that He might mold it and fill it with His Grace. The admonishment is clear: we must humble ourselves before God and Men to receive the blessings of a loving and gracious creator.
STEP 2 TO ACHIEVING PERSONAL HOLINESS – PRAYER
God’s supernatural power can be released through prayer. Many talk about prayer but what, truly, does scripture say about successful prayer?
Those who walk in faith and obedience to Christ can expect to receive answers to their prayers.
Jesus said: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6
- Contact with God through prayer begins when we accept Jesus into our lives as Savior and Lord.
Praying with a clean heart is vital to successful prayer:
The psalmist said: “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. “ Psalm 66:18
The Lord is far from the wicked but He hears the prayer of the righteous. Proverbs 15:29
We must come to God with a forgiving heart if we are to receive the Christian’s legacy of power in prayer. An unforgiving spirit is a frequent hindrance to prayer:
Jesus says: “When you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive him, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.” Mark 11:25
- We must have a believing heart if we expect God to answer our prayers. We must have faith and
in the exercise of our faith we develop trust that God is hearing our prayers and is attentive to our requests:
Jesus says: “If you believe, you will receive whatever you ask for in prayer.” Matthew 21:22
According to your faith will it be done to you. Matthew 9:29
SUMMARY: Pray with adorning hearts, confessing sin, thanking God for the blessing He has abundantly poured upon us, and in supplication, we are to pray for everything in specific terms.
STEP THREE TO ACHIEVING PERSONAL HOLINESS – SEEK GOD’S FACE – A LIFE DEVOTED TO GOD.
Examples of men who were known as men devoted to and obedient to God:
Noah: (Genesis 6)
* Noah was known as a righteous man.
* Blameless among the people of his time.
* Noah walked with God.
* Noah was obedient to God.
* Called the Servant of God (Genesis 26:24
* Called God’s friend (II Chronicles 20:7 and Isaiah 41:8)
* Found to be righteous (Genesis 15:1)
David, Daniel, and Joseph of the Old Testament
Joseph of the New Testament and many less notable men of the Bible
What were the common characteristics of these men?
* They were righteous in God’s eyes,
* They were obedient to God,
* They were humble men.
SUMMARY: God commands men to be righteous, obedient, and humble.
STEP FOUR TO ACHIEVING PERSONAL HOLINESS – TURN FROM WICKEDNESS (REPENTANCE)
Repentance: a Hebrew, primary root word meaning to turn back (hence, away); to bring back; to call to mind; bring back home; come back again; draw back; recall; recompense; reverse or return.
God’s commands can not be more clear in this area:
If my people, who are called by My name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways… II Chronicles 7:14a
…yet, when they come to themselves in the land where they were carried captive, and repent, and make supplication to You in the land of those who took them captive, saying, “We have sinned and done wrong, we have committed wickedness. I Kings 8:47
As seen in the above verse, Solomon, in his second temple dedication prayer, prayed for mercy from the Lord when the people:
* sinned (missed the mark),
* did wrong (deliberately disobeyed), and
* acted wickedly (failed to conform to the true standard of God).
Elihu, in his fourth speech, says of the Lord God:
He makes them listen to correction and commands them to repent of their evil. Job 36:10
Therefore this is what the Lord says: If you will repent, I will restore you so that you may serve Me. Jeremiah 15:19
Ezekiel’s prophetic message to the house of Israel on individual accountability and the need to repent:
Therefore, O house of Israel, I will judge you, each one according to his ways, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent! Turn away from your offenses; then sin will not be your downfall. Rid yourselves of all the offenses you have committed, and get anew heart and anew spirit! Why will you die, O Israel? For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord, “Repent and live!” Ezekiel 18:16-32
The ministry of John the Baptist was a ministry characterized by a call to personal repentance.
The ministries of Paul, Timothy, James, and John were ministries which were characterized by a call to turn from wickedness and accept the truth of God’s redemptive love through Christ.
Jesus preached repentance in Luke 13: 1-5:
There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mingled with their sacrifices. And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? “I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.
Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”
Jesus spoke to the seven churches in Asia Minor in Revelation, but first to the church in Ephesus, the church pastored by Paul and Timothy and the first church established in Asia:
Yet I hold this against you: you have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place. Revelation 2:4-5
SUMMARY: It is not enough to seek forgiveness from sin. God commands repentance, a rejection of wickedness, a rejection of worldly pleasures and return to Him, who through His abundant grace, pours out the blessings of heaven upon us.
OVERALL SUMMARY – ACHIEVING PERSONAL HOLINESS:
God has called His people to:
- Humble ourselves before God and men,
- Pray for forgiveness of sins, with adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication,
- Seek God’s face – become devoted and obedient to Him and His commandments, and
- Repent (turn away, reverse, reject wickedness).