Theme of the Week: Christ Formed in You
Bible Verse: Consecrate yourselves, therefore, and be holy, for I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 20:7 ESV
Scripture Reading: 1 Chronicles 16:29, Psalm 29:2, 96:9; Leviticus 20:7
When we gather to worship and begin to sing, we often employ lyrics that celebrate God’s holiness, thank him for declaring us holy, and ask him for greater measures of personal holiness. But do we actually understand what we are singing? Do we really long for holiness? What is holiness?
Our gracious God knows we are almost blind and hard of hearing. And in Scripture, he shouts and draws large, startling pictures to help us understand his holy nature. These pictures reveal two basic characteristics about God’s holiness, which we could call his otherness and his moral perfection.
Holiness, then, is not merely one of many attributes of God. It is the sum and substance of all the attributes. All of God’s perfections are holy perfections.
God calls us to holiness or Christlikeness. But how does he actually make us holy? Only through the gospel. But how does this actually work? Holiness is not mere morality, but the deep, personal transformation of the soul through the renewal of the mind in the truth of the gospel.
David Brainerd was a missionary to Native Americans. Brainerd was a melancholy young man who struggled with sickness, loneliness, and harsh working and living conditions. His greatest struggles were with the corruption remaining within his own afflicted heart. But Brainerd pursued hard after God and holiness, giving himself relentlessly to ministry, and to prayer, fasting, and study. Brainerd called his passion for more holiness a “pleasing pain.”
Pleasing pain? How can pain bring pleasure? Yet this is what Brainerd felt. The pursuit of holiness was pleasing, because Brainerd was irresistibly attracted to the beauty of holiness. But it was painful as well, because of his ongoing struggles with sin.
We feel a mixture of emotions. Fear and trembling, as we consider the transcendent perfection of our holy God, is mingled with delight in the beauty of holiness. Pain, in the agonizing process of putting sin to death, but gladness in gospel-driven growth in grace.
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