What is Holiness?


What does holiness look like in everyday life? Is it a monk living in a monastery? Is it taking a vow of poverty? Is it living in a foreign land without the comforts of civilization?

Is it giving up television, movie theaters, dance clubs, and fiction novels? What is the mental picture that comes to mind when you hear the word “holiness”?

I hear myself saying, “Obedience to God in all things.”

How does God want us to be obedient to Him? What set of rules have been given us to follow in the Bible? The Ten Commandments? The Sermon on the Mount? The exhortations of Paul and the Apostles to live a moral life without reproach and free from the appearance of evil?

What does it mean to live a moral life? Honesty? Loyalty? The fruits of the Spirit? Whose set of rules do we live by? The Catholic rules? Orthodox rules? Lutheran rules? Episcopal rules? Baptist Rules? Methodist Rules? Pentecostal rules? Adventist rules? Or are we left to make up our own set of rules?

I hear Jesus saying, ” By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:15

I hear Paul saying, “And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.” 1 Corinthians 13:13

I hear John declaring, “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4: 7

To be Holy is to be like God. What is God’s chief characteristic?

God is love (1 John 4:8)

“Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.” 1 John 4:11

Stephen Beagles (2019)

Justification by Faith–A Message from God


“The present message—justification by faith—is a message from God; it bears the divine credentials, for its fruit is unto holiness.”

~ Ellen White

It is almost guaranteed when I mention Justification by Faith in a church setting, I will get one of two reactions. First, some act as if the language I use is beyond ability to comprehend. This is strange, because many of these people ought to know Justification is a key element of the plan of salvation.

Justification is a common term in the writings of the Apostle Paul. In a biblical context it means declared “Justified” in the divine court of law. It is the same as being “declared righteous” by faith in Christ apart from the works of the law (Romans 3:28). It is a gift from God to those who believe. It is the assurance of salvation by faith in Christ alone.

The second reaction I get is from seasoned Adventists who say, “Yes that is true. But faith without works is dead. Let’s turn our Bibles to James Chapter 2. ”

It is a programmed reaction I have experienced hundreds of times. Few Adventists, who are proud of their protestant heritage, actually take time to meditate on what it means to be Justified by Faith.

Often the major assumption when Justification by Faith is discussed is that we want to get out of keeping the Ten commandments by claiming justification apart from the keeping of the law. This is a false assumption. The Bible clearly states that while we are saved apart from the law, we are still bound to the law as our moral standard of righteousness (Romans 3:31).

Justification will always lead us into a closer walk with Jesus and a cleansing from sin (sanctification) that is rooted in love for God who grants us the assurance of salvation by grace through faith in Christ alone. “We love him, because he first loved us (1 John 4:19, KJV).

(To be continued…)

Stephen Beagles (2019)

Reference

White, E. G. (1958). Selected Messages From the Writings of Ellen G. White, Book 1 (p. 359). Review and Herald Publishing Association.