Holiness & Glory

ist2_1003869_colored_sewing_threads_000Holiness and the glory of God seems to be the topic of many excited discussions today, and not without good reason. 

During the Toronto outpouring in 1994 there was considerable prophecies of a coming wave of the Spirit that would be manifest by fire and holiness.

Have those days arrived? If they have not yet arrived there is certainly the conviction among many, that a new move of God is dawning.

The Bible is very clear about its stance on holiness; “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord .” (Heb 12:14)

It is useful to make some current observations about holiness before pressing the theme of holiness and glory any further

  • God is taking the Church into a new, deeper understanding, expression and experience of the Holiness of God.To be correct, God is not taking us into anything that he has not already demanded of the historical Church – his intent is always that his Church should be holy and pure, and without spot and blemish. Each generation at some point hears the call of God to a renewed, consecrated and more sanctified walk before God, often in response to the manifest presence of God, demonstrated in his unique and unsearchable holiness.

  • We’re called to live holy lives – the holiness of God is a demand of us, put in place by our lifestyle. (1 peter 1:13-16)Whilst God requires us to be holy, holiness itself is a work of God in our own hearts put into effect by his grace. God does not bring about a great work of salvation and regeneration and then expect that we fend for ourselves trying to be holy of our own strength or merit. We need God’s help – and he is pleased to give it. All we contribute is the willing cooperation of our hearts with the ongoing work of the Spirit, and even this is not because of duty, but because we delight to serve Him.

The great challenge 

Many great books have been written on the subject of holiness – but perhaps one of the greatest expressions of what it means to meet the holiness of God is seen in Ps 51. David staggers under the weight of an encounter with the prophet Nathan who has just confronted him about his adulterous affair with Bathsheba.

It is an uncomfortable, but honest and vulnerable moment. In your own dealings with God you may have encountered similar moments about areas of your own life (though perhaps not about an affair but certainly about other heart issues).

Holiness is not something you see but something you encounter. For David, as he stands in the presence of God he is encountering the heavy, holiness of God, and the thing that he is overwhelmed by is his own sin and guilt – but notice there is no condemnation.

Perhaps the most important thing to David, is the need to deal with his sin to restore fellowship with God – but he is aware that his sin cannot be dealt with lightly. God is terrible in his holiness, absolutely perfect and when it comes to righteousness, in a category of his own with no contemporaries. Whoever comes before God must be holy, the trouble is only God can make something holy, and for mankind, such holiness means belonging to God and becoming like the God to Whom we belong.

Nothing in us makes us holy; belonging to Him makes us holy. We have been set apart for Him, for His pleasure, and for His purpose.

David desperately wants relationship to be restored. It’s not about what other people may think about him – that is nothing but the giant idol of pride. No, David is clear, “Restore a clean heart in me – don’t, don’t, don’t take Your Spirit from me” The most precious anointing of God’s Spirit is so valuable – but is accompanied by holiness.

The basic idea in holiness is not moral purity(just being right with God) but relationship – set apart for God. Belonging to God we cannot belong to the world; being dedicated to Him we cannot be devoted to anything else.

If we are separated to God then we are also separated from the world. If we are called to be holy even as He is holy, then the character of God must be considered. Thus the character of God becomes the standard of our own character, we become like the God to Whom we belong.

King David’s approach in Ps 51 is perhaps one of the greatest prophetic messages to us in our day and age – and it is banging on the doors of the church. How can anyone stand before God? David knows the answer is clean hands and a pure heart. (Ps 24) The only thing we can do to clean our hands and have pure hearts in the Church today is to acknowledge in repentance the affairs and flirtations of our heart with the things of this world, and receiving by faith God’s lavish grace and free gift of salvation. The real purpose behind God’s saving grace is holiness, not heaven, and the gospel does not just bring hope once – we live on it as the very bread of heaven.

This will have been a difficult read for many because there is so much that needs to be said. It is my express opinion that a tangible expression of the unsearchable, majestic holiness of God is going to sweep through the church in an unprecedented manner in coming days, but here is a further challenge. All through Scripture, whenever we see the holiness of God being fully realised, we see staggering, majestic, unspeakable glory. The church is about to see the most amazing outburst of God’s glory.

Read, fast and pray through Ps 51, it’s your conscription to see, experience and encounter the holiness and glory of God as it thunders across the earth.

The days are coming.

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