Holiness, Godliness, Usefulness
08/13/2013, by John Kincaid
Lesson 4: 3 Obstacles to Holiness (Part 1)
Why do we often feel like failures in our struggle? Why don’t we achieve more holiness? Why is it often difficult to see any difference between Christians and unbelievers? Why does the church appear to be conformed to the world, not to God?
Our Self-Centered Attitude
The way we look at sin is self-centered, not God-centered. We want victory over sin because of the impact it has on us, with little thought that our sins grieve God. God wants us to obey His commands. Obedience cares about God; victory cares about me. This subtle difference is at the root of our struggles. Victory results from our obedience. We must learn to say to God, as David said, “Against you, you only, have I sinned” Psa.51:4
Our Lack of Effort
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Gal.2:20
Paul said that he was crucified, he no longer lives, and now he lives by faith. If an unbeliever saw this verse, they would be confused. Is Paul alive or not? But even believers get confused. If we “live by faith”, does that mean no effort to be holy? Should we sit back with our arms folded, trusting the Holy Spirit to change us in His timing?
J.C. Ryle, Bishop of Liverpool, wrote that “faith in Christ is the root of all holiness”. “But surely the Scriptures teach us that in following holiness, the true Christian needs personal exertion and work, as well as faith.” We can break sinful habits if we accept our responsibility.
About This Series
The goal of this series is to become more useful in serving the Lord Jesus Christ, as an instrument in the Redeemer's hand. The theme verses for the series are Ephesians 4:22-24, Philemon 11, 2 Timothy 2:21
- to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds,
- and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.
- Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.
- Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from what is dishonorable, he will be a vessel for honorable use, set apart as holy, useful to the master of the house, ready for every good work.