Holiness of Heart and Life
September 23, 2019
By Rev. Glenn Ray
As a United Methodist Christian, one of the main objectives in life is to become holy in heart and life. This is the main objective of Christian discipleship. In Leviticus 11:44, God is speaking through Moses to Israel; and God said: “I am the Lord your God; consecrate yourselves and be holy, because I am holy.” In 2 Timothy 1:9, Paul, in explaining to Timothy about his calling, said: “…who has saved us and called us to a holy life — not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace.” So you see from these two passages in particular that God is calling His people to a life of holiness.
So what does that mean for you and me as United Methodist Christians? First, it means that the Christian vocation is a life of holiness. Holiness is loving God with your whole being. The life of holiness is produced by our faith in a redeeming and empowering Heavenly Father. Just as we are justified by faith, we are also sanctified by faith.
Secondly, it means without holiness no person will see God. Hebrews 11:14 says, “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.” Here is Albert Outler’s translation of Wesley’s thoughts on holiness as a prerequisite to seeing God. “None shall live with God but he that now lives to God; none shall enjoy the glory of God in heaven but he that bears the image of God on earth. None that is not saved from sin here can be saved from hell hereafter. None can see the Kingdom of God above unless the Kingdom of God be in him below. Whosoever will reign with Christ in heaven must have Christ reigning in him on earth. He must have “that mind in him which was in Christ” (Philippians 2:5), enabling him to “walk as Christ also walked.” So could we say with confidence that a person living a life of holiness is experiencing already a little bit of heaven on earth? I believe you can because of the Scripture’s assurance and our own personal experience.
Thirdly, it means that holiness is the way to happiness in this world. It is only when you and I give ourselves completely to Jesus Christ that we find ourselves and our purpose in life. When we have that inner peace and security that only Christ can bring, the Spirit molds us into useful and productive individuals. This does not mean that all our problems are solved and that all our days will be pain and worry free. What it does mean is that we have a Counselor who is with us constantly in the power of the Holy Spirit who guides us, encourages us, and gives us hope. This is what the life of holiness gives to those who diligently seek Him and who trust in Him for their very existence.
Life is so exciting when it is lived in the shadow of the Almighty. I want to live so close to Him that His dust is all over me at the end of the day. May it be so for all of us who call ourselves Mt. Bethel Christians — disciples of Christ. I hope to see you in church on Sunday.
– Originally posted August 1, 2014