Intentional holiness

Since therefore Christ suffered in the flesh,arm yourselves with the same way of thinking, for whoever has suffered in the flesh has ceased from sin, so as to live for the rest of the time in the flesh no longer for human passions but for the will of God. For the time that is past suffices for doing what the Gentiles want to do, living in sensuality, passions, drunkenness, orgies, drinking parties, and lawless idolatry. With respect to this they are surprised when you do not join them in the same flood of debauchery, and they malign you; but they will give account to him who is ready to judge the living and the dead. For this is why the gospel was preached even to those who are dead, that though judged in the flesh the way people are, they might live in the spirit the way God does.

Pastor Steven Cole, in the conclusion of a sermon from 1 Peter 4:1-11 “Intent on Holiness”

ermineThe ermine, a small animal known for its snow-white fur, lives in the forests of northern Europe. God has put into this animal an instinctive drive to protect his glossy coat from becoming soiled. Hunters capitalize on this trait. Instead of setting a mechanical trap, they find the ermine’s home in a cleft of a rock or a hollow tree and daub the entrance and the interior with tar. Then their dogs start the chase, and the frightened ermine flees toward his home. But finding it covered with tar, he won’t enter, even to save his life. He will face the yelping dogs who hold him at bay until the hunters capture him rather than soiling his white fur. For the ermine, purity is more dear than life. Is it for you?

You won’t become holy by osmosis if you hang around church buildings or Christians long enough. It won’t happen spontaneously as you float downstream through life. You must arm yourself with the decisive intent to be holy. The motivation comes from thinking on Christ’s suffering and His imminent return as Judge. The means toward holiness are suffering, struggling against sin, and separating from those who would drag you back into it. May God make us all intent on holiness!


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