What Holiness Is Not and Is

Hebrews 12:10

First of all, holiness is not necessarily a state in which there is perpetual, rapturous joy. Isaiah 53:3 tells us that Jesus was “a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief,” and Paul tells us that he, too, had continual sorrow and great heaviness.

Joy is the normal state of a holy man, but it may be mingled with sorrow and grief and perplexities and heaviness on account of manifold temptations. The low-water mark, however, in the experience of a holy person is one of perfect peace; the high-water mark is up in the third heaven somewhere; however, this third heaven experience is not likely to be constantly maintained.

Holiness is not a state of freedom from temptation. This is a world of trial and conflict with principalities and powers, darkness and terrible evils, and the holy soul who is in the forefront of the conflict may expect the fiercest assaults of the devil. Our blessed Lord was tried and tempted for forty days and forty nights by the devil, and the servant must not be surprised if he is as his Master was.

Holiness is not a state of freedom from infirmities. It does not produce a perfect head, but rather a perfect heart.

Holiness is not a state of freedom from affliction. The saints of all ages have been chosen “in the furnace of affliction” (Isaiah 48:10). It is not God’s purpose to take us to heaven on flowery beds of ease. That would not develop strength of character.

Holiness is not a state in which there is no further development. When the heart is purified it develops more rapidly than ever before.

Holiness is not a state from which we cannot fall. It is only those who endure to the end who shall be saved. But while we may fall, thank God holiness is a state from which we need not fall.

Finally, holiness is a state of conformity to the divine nature. He [the believer] is like God, not in God’s natural perfection of power and wisdom and omnipresence, but in patience, humility, self-control, purity of heart and love. As the drop out of the ocean is like the ocean, not in its bigness, but in its essence, so is the holy soul like God.

Samuel Logan Brengle, Heart Talks on Holiness

 

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