This topic was prompted by an article from ODB on Mar 8, 2015 by the author David McCasland. He was basing his article on (Heb 12:14) which reads in the NLT version "Work at living in peace with everyone, and work at living a holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord". One Bible dictionary defines holiness as "Separation to God and conduct fitting to those separated". I would think that is a pretty well all inclusive definition that caught my eye. A generation ago there were certain denominations that emphasized "sanctification" leading to "holiness", but unfortunately such is not the case in the present generation. We hear little or no preaching on these subjects from our pulpits today, for various reasons I suppose. Author Frederick Buechner said while writing about a person's character "nothing is harder to make real than holiness". Then he adds "holiness is not a human quality at all, like virtue. Holiness is---not something that people do, but something that God does in them".
The apostle Paul writes in (Rom 6:4) a rather stunning statement about the gift God gives to us. In the NLT version it reads "For we died and were buried with Christ by baptism. And just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glorious power of the Father, now we also may live new lives". Water baptism is the confirming act of salvation and should follow as closely after a person receives Jesus as Lord and Savior as possible, in my opinion. Remember we have an enemy that hates God and will do everything in his power to discourage a new convert to avoid water baptism, because he knows that act of being buried in water and then raised up in newness of life disconnects that person from his kingdom of darkness. The pursuit of holiness occurs daily as we yield ourselves in obedience to the Lord instead of following our old ways of self-gratification. Paul finishes up chapter 6 in the NLT version with "But now you are free from the power of sin and have now become slaves of God. Now you do those things that lead to holiness and result in eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ our Lord", (Rom 6:22-23). Now we can ask ourselves "are we becoming more holy?" By God's grace and power the answer can be a resounding YES!! More and more each day, PTL!! Actually the choice to pursue holiness is a matter of life or death!!
Dave Jamer 14/03/15