04 Details of Holiness

By John Thiel, Preparation for the Close of Probation Conference, Study 4, mp3

The close of probation must find us holy. We cannot see God unless we have holiness, unless we are without spot and blameless. What details are contained in this term of holiness? What is holiness? This we need to know if we are going to settle into the truth both intellectually and spiritually so that we cannot be moved. We need to know the intelligent entities that reside in the word that creates holiness in us.

1 Peter 1:15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 

These are quite important expressions. We are to be holy in all manner of conversation.

1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.

Without any mistaken understandings the word of God calls for a state of holiness which is the state of God Himself. This is what God’s word tells us, and we are in need of intelligently receiving that holiness. The submissive, intelligent mind will respond to these words and say, “Yea, Lord, tell us, speak that holiness to us. Speak further. Tell us, what is the holiness that You have directed for us to attain to by Your word?”

It is not a conclusive evidence that a man is a Christian because he manifests spiritual ecstasy under extraordinary circumstances. Holiness is not rapture: {AA 51.2}

What is it?

…it is an entire surrender of the will to God; it is living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God; it is doing the will of our heavenly Father; it is trusting God in trial, in darkness as well as in the light; it is walking by faith and not by sight; it is relying on God with unquestioning confidence, and resting in His love. {AA 51.2}

That is a lot of qualifications of what holiness is. Holiness is:

Entire surrender to the will of God: when we are in that position, then Jesus can say, He that is holy, let him be holy still. And if we live in entire surrender to His will, we will also be

Living by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. That is holiness as well. Then, because our will has been surrendered, we will be doing the will of our heavenly Father, Trusting God in trial, when trials come upon us that make it difficult for us to do what is right. Just trust Him in darkness as well as in light. Walking by faith and not by sight, Relying on God with unquestioning confidence,VAnd resting in His love. That is holiness.

Holiness is wholeness for God; it is the entire surrender of heart and life to the indwelling of the principles of heaven. {DA 555.6}

You can see this constant repetition of entire surrender.

The righteousness of Christ is not a cloak to cover unconfessed and unforsaken sin; it is a principle of life that transforms the character and controls the conduct. {DA 555.6}

The righteousness of Christ is holiness, wholeness for God.

Holiness is constant agreement with God. {UL 197.6}

When it says, Let him be holy still, the man is in constant agreement with God. Why? Because he is entirely surrendered to God; he places his will on the side of God and he lives by every word that proceeds out of God’s mouth, because he is holy. It becomes a very simple process once we truly understand this. Everything we read from God’s word, whether it be the Bible or the Spirit of Prophecy, which is a plain indication of what is to be, it is the creative word of God that is simply to be received, and, with gratitude from the heart, to be surrendered to. No opposition to it, none at all. No reasoning like, This is a bit hard, I don’t know. It is not holiness to reason like that. We are simply to take the word even if I don’t understand what the word is meant to do for me. I just simply say, Yes, Lord! This is what I am to do. Full stop. That is what we were reading in the words of A. T. Jones (See General Conference Daily Bulletin (1893), February 20, p. 299.4). He said, Whether I understand it or not. There are a lot of things I can’t understand. It is simple faith.

The Ten Commandments

Let us apply what we have been learning regarding submission, abandonment, and death to self. According to the Spirit of Prophecy we know that the Ten Commandments are the transcript of God’s character. They are here identified by the Spirit of Prophecy in a very interesting way:

Satan is ever at work endeavouring to pervert what God has spoken, to blind the mind and darken the understanding, and thus lead men into sin. This is why the Lord is so explicit, making His requirements so very plain that none need err. {AG 350.4}

We have an enemy who wants to twist everything up for us. That is why God is so explicit.

God is constantly seeking to draw men close under His protection, that Satan may not practice his cruel, deceptive power upon them. He has condescended to speak to them with His own voice, to write with His own hand the living oracles. And these blessed words, all instinct with life and luminous with truth, are committed to men as a perfect guide. . . . {AG 350.4}

To a person who is totally submissive and surrendered the Ten Commandments become instinct with light and luminous with truth; they become our perfect guide because we are surrendered. That is when they become beneficial to us, when we are surrendered. What is the relation of the human being to the commandments of God?

Proverbs 3:1 My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: 2 For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.

That is the intent for those laws.

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. 6 In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.

The abandonment that is needed to be holy is an abandonment to what we read in the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments become a personal submission to God’s will. Therefore the Ten Commandments are the transcript of character to the person who is abandoned. To a person who is not abandoned, the Ten Commandments have a different impact – they tell him how sinful he is; they give him condemnation because he has been disobedient. But a person who has been a sinner and has surrendered himself to God, has now a different response mechanism in him. He is now open to whatever God says, That’s it. The Ten Commandments are a detail of holiness to the person who is holy in the sense that he is surrendered.

In a state of surrender we come to the Ten Commandments and we are living in agreement with them, just simply say, Yea, the Lord hath said, so it is. Nothing inside of me responds in any other way than surrender. That is the Ten Commandments. Then we come to another expression in reference to God’s will.

Statutes and Judgments

Leviticus 18:4 Ye shall do my judgments, and keep mine ordinances, to walk therein: I [am] the LORD your God. 5 Ye shall therefore keep my statutes, and my judgments: which if a man do, he shall live in them: I [am] the LORD.

A person who is totally surrendered comes the Ten Commandments and also to God’s statutes and judgments so that he can be holy. What is meant by His statutes? He places a slight difference upon His laws and then upon His statutes and judgments and ordinances.

Every chapter and every verse of the Bible is a communication from God to men…. If studied and obeyed, it would lead God’s people, as the Israelites were led, by the pillar of cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night. {AG 350.5}

What are His statutes and His judgments? Every verse of the Bible is to be studied and obeyed. We have the statutes of God all through Leviticus, all through the Old Testament, and even then a redirection of the New Testament to these important laws. These are statutes and judgments – the food that God has given, the clothing, the social code, the relationships. These are all spelt out for us in the statutes and judgments. This is holiness.

The Deportment

Here are the characteristics of holiness:

Galatians 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

In others words, it is equal to God’s law. These are the characteristics of deportment. It has to do with love, with joy, with peace, longsuffering, gentleness and goodness and faith, meekness and temperance – these are all expressions of deportment. Here is another dimension and detail of holiness:

Love

John 15:12 This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.

What sort of love is this? A love that is a holy love, the love that Jesus had. “As He loved.” Love suffereth long, and is kind; love doth not behave itself unseemly. This is 1 Corinthians 13.

1 Peter 4:8 And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.

Holiness is a love that is prepared to make of none effect the sins of others. If I am holy, I am not going to capitalise on your sins. This is the deportment of holiness.

We must confess Christ openly and bravely, exhibiting in our characters His meekness, humility, and love, till men shall be charmed with the beauty of holiness. {ML 189.5}

Charmed with the beauty of holiness – what is holiness? Holiness is a revelation of the character of meekness, humility, and love. And men will be charmed by that. That is holiness. As we contemplate these details we appreciate that they are something that is to be imbued into our hearts by total surrender. The Ten Commandments, the different identifiable points of God’s statutes and judgments, the deportment of meekness and gentleness, the love that covers a multitude of sins – these are all the different items of holiness.

The Lord Jesus acts through the Holy Spirit; for it is His representative. Through it He infuses spiritual life into the soul, quickening its energies for good, cleansing it from moral defilement, and giving it a fitness for His kingdom. Jesus has large blessings to bestow, rich gifts to distribute among men. He is the wonderful Counselor, infinite in wisdom and strength; and if we will acknowledge the power of His Spirit, and submit to be molded by it, we shall stand complete in Him. What a thought is this! In Christ “dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in him.” {SD 282.2}

Isn’t that what we need to be prepared for at the close of probation? To be complete in Jesus. The work of the Holy Spirit is the work of creating in us these beautiful, spiritual fruits. He will so distribute these gifts to us that the energies for good will be brought into existence, the cleansing from moral defilement will take place, and we will be given a fitness for His kingdom. That is the work of the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the High Priest according to the order of Melchisedec. There are two priests; one is Jesus, the other one is the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit works within us what Jesus works in the heavenly sanctuary, both to produce in us a purity and a fitness so that when probation closes the Holy Spirit has finished His work in us, and those holy details, the Ten Commandments, the statutes, the food, the clothing, the social code, the love and all the fruits of the Spirit have been confirmed in us. All this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

The lives of professing Christians who do not live the Christ life are a mockery to religion. Every one whose name is registered on the church roll is under obligation to represent Christ by revealing the inward adorning of a meek and quiet spirit. They are to be His witnesses, making known the advantages of walking and working as Christ has given them example. The truth for this time is to appear in its power in the lives of those who believe it, and is to be imparted to the world. Believers are to represent in their lives, its power to sanctify and ennoble. {AG 247.3}

God’s people in the closing work of this earth’s history are to demonstrate the power of God in their life and character.

They are to show forth the power of the grace that Christ died to give men. . . . They are to be men of faith, men of courage, whole-souled men, who, without questioning, trust in God and His promises. . . . {AG 247.3}

That statement is a beautiful summary of it all. The trust, the resignation, the understanding of every detail that comes from God through His law, His statutes and judgments, and through the fruits of the Spirit – they all come into focus in the holiness of the person who is being moved upon by the Holy Spirit.

Diligent Application

This is all very beautiful, but there is our part to play. As these commandments are given we resign ourselves to what God says, and we are in perfect agreement with everything because we simple say, Yes, amen, that’s it. The heart is open to that and through the work of the Holy Spirit and of Jesus it is imprinted on our mind because we surrender ourselves totally to this. This requires diligent application. There is a part to play on our side.

2 Peter 1:5 And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; 6 And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; 7 And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity. 

Here are some more details of the principles of holiness. We are to be diligently applying ourselves to these things. “Add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge,” etc.

2 Peter 1:8 For if these things be in you, and abound, they make [you that ye shall] neither [be] barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.

That is where we want to be.

2 Peter 1:10 Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do these things, ye shall never fall: 11 For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.

Does this not resonate with the very subject of our conference? If we are diligent in our co-partnership with all that God is doing to us, as we open our hearts to that in all diligence making our calling and election sure in those details of holiness in the right approach through abandonment and surrender – not through anxious self-motivation, then we will be fitted for a place in the kingdom of heaven. For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. The apostles knew what they were talking about. There wasn’t any theological debate over whether you had to do any works or not. They made it quite plain that it is through the diligent application to what the Holy Spirit and what God is doing to us.

If you read from verse 2 to 4 you can see what they are saying in regards to the input of God and our participation with Him.

2 Peter 1:2 Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of God, and of Jesus our Lord, 3 According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that [pertain] unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue: 4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

Then because we have received the grace of God through the knowledge of God – knowing that we can trust Him as the Creator – and having trusted Him and let Him really take over by the work of Jesus Christ, we receive the divine nature.

With that divine nature having escaped the corruption that is in the world we can apply ourselves to the details of holiness. To all the instruction that God gives we simply say, Yes. We don’t resist Him in any sense; we permit all His beautiful revelations to take their step-by-step process of growth and God can make things grow very quickly.

I love the illustration of the little rain that falls down in a desert. While other plants take a season to grow, when there is just a little bit of rain enough to moisten the soil, the plants and the flowers go up and in just about a day or two, they are there with their full-flowering display. That is what God can do in this dearth-like wilderness of our human hearts – He can bring the rain of the Holy Spirit and He can produce very quickly.

A few words more. If Christ is abiding in your hearts by faith, you will as a church have the presence of God. You will learn what it is to have the love of Christ in the heart for your brethren. You will learn how to exercise that love in your families and in the church {21MR 331.3}

If what? If Christ is abiding in the heart. If He is abiding in the heart we will learn that because the divine nature inside of us will give us that enlightenment. As soon as we see our brothers and sisters both in the family and in the church, we will know how to exercise that love.

You will learn how to exercise that love in your families and in the church–first pure, and then peaceable, and then easy to be entreated, full of righteousness and good fruits. {21MR 331.3}  

That is an interesting exercise of mind. You want something a certain way and somebody else wants it a different way – you are going to show a love that is easy to be entreated. Isn’t that sweet? “Oh yes, did you want it that way? That’s alright;” instead of me pushing through my way.

As Christ prayed that the church might be one, you will all try to be one, to see eye to eye, and speak the same words, and have the same judgment, and that there be no divisions among you. You will be united, and Christ will be your strength. {21MR 331.3} 

O for such a thing to happen. It can only happen as we put into action the work of the words we have studied here. If we surrender entirely to God, then this can happen.

We have but a little time of probation left us, and let not one neglect the preparation of the soul for eternity. It is a terrible thing to be lost. Brethren and sisters, be determined that you will labor for unity. This is the grace to cultivate–love, precious love. “By this shall all men know that ye are My disciples, if ye have love one to another.” {21MR 331.4}

We see the seriousness of our time, as Sr. White said. There is little time of probation left, let us not neglect the preparation of our soul for eternity.

The “time of trouble, such as never was” (Daniel 12:1) is soon to open upon us, and we shall need an experience which many are too indolent to obtain. . . . Now, while our great High Priest is making the atonement for us, we should seek to become perfect in Christ. {TMK 354.3}

What does that mean?

Not even by a thought could our Saviour be brought to yield to the power of temptation. Satan finds in human hearts some point where he can gain a foothold; some sinful desire is cherished, by means of which his temptations assert their power. But Christ declared of Himself, “The prince of this world cometh, and hath nothing in me” (John 14:30). Satan could find nothing in the Son of God that would enable him to gain the victory. He had kept His Father’s commandments, and there was no sin in Him that Satan could use to his advantage. This is the condition in which those must be found who shall stand in the time of trouble. {TMK 354.3}

This is what we are to be prepared to gain so that Satan can find nothing in us. He can only find holiness. And what is that? Total agreement with God, doing what God says without any remonstration, permitting the love of Jesus, the nature of His beautiful resignation, to display itself before the people. This is the detail of holiness.

We are to reach out for it, and to make it our own. We are to look at every aspect of God’s word so that we are not left in any shadow of understanding, but that we may have a perfect appreciation of what it is that we need to do in preparing for the close of probation, in reaching for that perfection.

Amen.

Posted on July 15, 2015, in Preparation for the Close of Probation and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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