Holiness

Over the last year or so God has been really teaching me regarding His holiness and how I view sin. With the study of Moses and the Israelites, reading through Leviticus and Numbers, God’s holiness is prominent throughout these books. Then a ladies group I’m in read through Jerry Bridges’ The Pursuit of Holiness┬átogether. Quite the convicting book! We don’t often think about how horribly awful our sin is to a holy God. One of the areas that God has been showing me is in the area of television and movies. Sexual innuendo is rampant throughout most TV shows these days. And celebration of sex outside of marriage is commonplace. These are not okay to a holy God. Jesus died a horrible death to pay for these sins that we casually watch on our TV screens. I have found that I no longer have interest in most movies or TV shows now as they portray sin as a normal part of life and even celebrate it.
The battle to be holy is constant and relentless, particularly in the world we live in. Guarding our minds is a challenge. Philippians 4:8 tells us to think about the following things: “whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” In the battle for holiness, this is a good reminder. What we read, what we watch, the things that we dwell on – are these things that are helping us to be more holy? If not, shouldn’t we eliminate them from our lives?

Some quotes to consider from the book Holiness by J.C. Ryle:
“It is a solemn thing to hear the Word of God saying, ‘Without holiness no man shall see the Lord’ (Heb. 12:14).”

“Surely that man must be in an unhealthy state of soul who can think of all that Jesus suffered, and yet cling to those sins for which that suffering was undergone.”

“He sees his own many sins, his weak heart, a tempting world, a busy devil; and if he looked only at them, he might well despair. But he sees also a mighty Savior, an interceding Savior, a sympathizing Savior – His blood, His righteousness, His everlasting priesthood – and he believes that all this is his own. He sees Jesus and casts his whole weight on Him.”

“If any reader of this message really feels that he has counted the cost and taken up the cross, I bid him persevere and press on. I dare say you often feel your heart faint and are sorely tempted to give up in despair. Your enemies seem so many, your besetting sins so strong, your friends so few, the way so steep and narrow, you hardly know what to do. But still I say, persevere and press on.”

“The nearer he draws to God and the more he sees of God’s holiness and perfections, the more thoroughly is he sensible of his own countless imperfections.”

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Review of Precepts study – Hebrews, Part 1

I have wanted to do a Precept study for years. I’ve done the Kay Arthur inductive study guides and enjoyed them but longed to dig deeper and do an actual Precept study. It just never worked out to be part of one. Earlier this year when I knew I would not be doing Bible Study Fellowship (BSF) in the Fall, I was eager to finally join a Precept study at a church a few miles from our home. However, they were going to be doing part 2 of Hebrews. So I decided to do part 1 on my own over the summer so I wouldn’t be lost. As I did the study over the summer, I came to the realization that I would not be able to keep up with the Precept study in the fall, as I would be leading a ladies’ study on Wed. mornings and for 6 weeks be also teaching a Sunday School class (not to mention a 2 weeks missions trip). At that point, I decided to continue doing the study even though I wouldn’t be able to continue with it in the fall.
Starting off, I absolutely LOVED the Precept study of Hebrews. The first few weeks involve reading through the whole book of Hebrews several times. This is how Bible study should be! Immersing yourself in the book, getting the full context. But as the study progressed and started digging into the individual chapters, there began to be a lot of cross-referencing. Now cross-referencing is important while studying the Bible; it’s important to compare Scripture with Scripture. But this seemed to be excessive and unnecessary. I finally began skipping some of the cross-referencing, feeling like it was taking away from the Hebrews passage rather than adding to it. As I neared the end of the study, I also noticed that it seemed like the cross-references were being used to push a particular meaning on the passage and to try to steer the studier towards a particular interpretation, rather than letting the text speak for itself. That is a problem with study guides, the theology of the writer can bleed through and affect the person studying.
I wouldn’t necessarily not recommend a Precept study at this point, but I’m not eager to do another one. I would caution when doing one to be mindful of an agenda or particular interpretation being pushed on the passage. It’s important to know how to study the Bible for oneself so one isn’t dependent on others or on study guides to study the Bible. For a brief overview of the inductive study method, here is a series of posts on How to Study the Bible.

Living in the Now

My life is pretty good. I have a wonderful husband, a great home, a cute kitty and many other wonderful blessings. Yet sometimes I still struggle with being discontent. I think this is partly due to the fact that this world is not my home. I was made for more. My heart longs for heaven and perfection. But while I am still on this earth, as a Christian, I’m called to be content with where I’m at. It is the tension of living between the now and the not-yet of my future home.