The Nature Of True Practical Holiness (1)

1. The nature of true practical holiness

First then, let me try to show what true practical holiness is: what sort of persons are those whom God calls holy?

A man may go great lengths, and yet never reach true holiness. It is not knowledge - Balaam had that; nor great profession - Judas Iscariot had that; nor doing many things - Herod had that; nor zeal for certain matters in religion - Jehu had that; nor morality and outward respectability of conduct - the young ruler had that; nor taking pleasure in hearing preachers - the Jews in Ezekiel's time had that; nor keeping company with godly people - Joab and Gehazi and Demas had that. Yet none of these were holy! These things alone are not holiness. A man may have any one of them, and yet never see the Lord.

What then is true practical holiness? It is a hard question to answer. I do not mean that there is any want of scriptural matter on the subject. But I fear lest I should give a defective view of holiness, and not say all that ought to be said; or lest I should say things about it that ought not to be said, and so do harm. Let me, however, try to draw a picture of holiness, that we may see it clearly before the eyes of our minds. Only let it never be forgotten, when I have said all, that my account is but a poor imperfect outline at the best.

a. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God, according as we find His mind described in Scripture. It is the habit of agreeing in God's judgement, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. He who most entirely agrees with God, he is the most holy man.

b. A holy man will endeavour to shun every known sin, and to keep every known commandment. He will have a decided bent of mind towards God, a hearty desire to do His will, a greater fear of displeasing Him than of displeasing the world, and a love to all His ways. He will feel what Paul felt when he said, 'I delight in the law of God after the inward man' (Rom_7:22), and what David felt when He said, 'I esteem all Thy precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way' (Psa_119:128).

c. A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. He will not only live the life of faith in Him, and draw from Him all his daily peace and strength, but he will also labour to have the mind that was in Him, and to be conformed to His image (Rom_8:29). It will be his aim to bear with and forgive others, even as Christ forgave us; to be unselfish, even as Christ pleased not Himself; to walk in love, even as Christ loved us; to be lowly minded and humble, even as Christ made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself. He will remember that Christ was a faithful witness for the truth; that He came not to do His own will; that it was His meat and drink to do His Father's will; that He would continually deny Himself in order to minister to others; that He was meek and patient under undeserved insults; that He thought more of godly poor men than of kings; that He was full of love and compassion to sinners; that He was bold and uncompromising in denouncing sin; that He sought not the praise of men, when