12:3) When the Bible calls the Spirit holy, surely it evokes the bold opposite of the spirits of wickedness and evil (e.g., Mark 1:21–28, Matt. Letter 2074 in the Annecy edition. The reason it is encouraging is that our own powers are limited, but God's power and love are not. This could be seen as one application of the promise made by Jesus in the Gospel: "Well done, good and faithful servant; you have been faithful over a little, I will set you over much. To reach holiness, we cannot be content merely to follow the general principles that apply to everyone. And we unfailingly can obtain the help of that power and love for our weakness. They marry like everyone else and have children, but they do not expose them once they are born. We don’t even grow into Christlikeness by reading about Jesus, praying, and then spending 15 more minutes in contemplation. And they show forth the character of their own citizenship in a marvelous and admittedly paradoxical way by following local customs in what they wear and what they eat and in the rest of their lives. The Holy Spirit is rightly called the Consoler. by Ann Spangler. They live on earth but participate in the life of heaven. This happens even when their object is something unimportant; because these touches proceed from the Holy Spirit they share in God's power to console and fulfill us. We already have mentioned the spiritual disciplines, but this must be emphasized again: We don’t grow in holiness accidentally or simply because we want to. It does take courage and patience, undoubtedly. He treats us as only God can. He guides us to the truth: The bible teaches that Jesus is Truth, and the Truth can set us free; free … Every motion that comes from God brings both the light to understand what God intends, and the strength to accomplish it: light that illuminates the mind, and strength that gives power to the will. "Holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit." . In other words, the spiritual disciplines are practices that are designed to make us open to the Spirit and open to the presence of God, but they are not the Spirit. This text illustrates some of the things we have just looked at. Perhaps, but probably not. . Basically, it's very simple; but like all simple things it takes years for us to understand and, above all, to practice. Because the Spirit has been unleashed, and those who are open to the Spirit can do a transforming work that makes God’s people a shining display of loving holiness. Reprinted with permission of Scepter Press. (John 15:26.) Given who this God is, it must be. It was thought that in this life Christians could reach a level of personal holiness in which they could stop sinning. For instance, when I am tempted. This is what St. Louis Grignon de Montfort says, speaking this sanctification that is God's plan for us: However great our efforts, we cannot change ourselves. Jesus is the one who makes us holy, enabling us to stand in God’s presence and join the angels as they sing “Holy, Holy, Holy is the Lord.” Excerpt from What's the Big Deal about Holiness? The inspirations of grace are invaluable in enabling us to direct our efforts correctly, among the many battles we have to wage. [11] St. Thérèse of Lisieux also witnesses to this "dynamism of faithfulness" that makes accomplishing God's will progressively easier: It should be added that this process is accompanied by the grace of joy: even though obeying the Holy Spirit is often hard for us at the start, because it conflicts with our fears, our attachments, and so forth, that obedience is always, in the end, a source of joy and happiness. In different ways, naturally: through the happenings of our lives, in the advice of a spiritual director, and in many other ways as well. Excerpted by permission of WaterBrook. Jesus’ definition of holiness was one of the bones of contention between Jesus and the Jewish religious leaders of His day. But for what he is asking, he has promised us his grace: God grants what he commands. Although God is Spirit, He is not an impersonal force in the universe as some describe Him. They share their meals but not their sexual partners. The Holy Spirit is rightly called the Consoler. The same Spirit that descended on the disciples at Pentecost empowers our devotion to God. COVID-19 Hurts. Here’s what happened to make me think I had popped her sacred bubble. That does not mean, of course, that we don't have to make any effort; but if our efforts are not to remain fruitless, they must be directed to the right end. Over and over the term Spirit, when used in the Bible, is introduced with the term holy, as in “God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit” and “No one can say ‘Jesus is Lord’ except by the Holy Spirit.” (Rom. 1. Faithfulness to grace draws down further graces. "[2] The saints themselves witness to this. Rather, holiness means that in this world one listens and dances to the music of the Holy Spirit instead of the music of the world. Yes, sexual sins and indulgence sins and greed sins and hatred sins are high on the Bible’s lists. Holiness is not the realization of a given model of perfection that is identical for everyone. The Holy Spirit reveals God’s thoughts, teaches, and guides believers into all truth, including knowledge of what is to come. Holiness, I like to say, is love done well. There are even infallible means for obtaining it, and the important thing is to know what they are. What God wants is always different, always disconcerting; but ultimately it is infinitely more beautiful, because only God is capable of creating totally unique masterpieces, while we humans can only imitate. He gives us the right words to speak about God (Acts 1:8). And so it is important to know at any given moment which virtue we should give priority to, not according to our own ideas, but according to what God actually wants of us, because that is what will be infinitely more effective. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. That is the secret of St. Thérèse of Lisieux's little way: God has a father's heart, and we can unfailingly obtain what we need from him, if we know how to take him by the heart. The Anabaptists emphasize local church, discipleship, justice, and peace. Three Ways the Holy Spirit Guides Us into All Truth. But at the same time it is very encouraging. But the Bible Brings Hope. The Holy Spirit will allow us to see clearly for the first time. God is holy. allow me to jump to her words: I felt that the Spirit was leading into a solemn, most sacred, and inviolable compact between God and the soul that came forth from Him, by which, in the sight of God, angels, and men, I was to be united in eternal oneness with the Lord my redeemer, requiring unquestioning allegiance on my part, and infinite love, and everlasting salvation, guidance, and protection, on the part of Him who had loved and redeemed me, so that from henceforth He might say to me, “I will betroth thee unto me for ever” (Hos. It is impossible to attain holiness by our own power. They are found in the flesh but do not live according to the flesh. Among these ways, there is one that is so fundamental and important that it merits an explanation: the inspirations of divine grace. That meant—among many wonderful things—that they believed in entire sanctification. But it is certainly not true that holiness is the result of a program of life we set ourselves. The Spirit will never lead us into sin. She also knew that God’s covenant meant God would be faithful to her. We can only live a holy life through the power of the Spirit; thus, the first step to living a holy life is to accept Jesus as Savior (Ephesians 1:13). 2:19). St. Louis Marie Grignon de Montfort, The Secret of Mary, beginning of the first part. Subscribers receive full access to the archives. Fair enough, as Flannery O’Connor once wrote, “You are right, you just aren’t right enough.” I want to propose a subtle but important shift in the understanding of the meaning of holiness. Habitual sin will cause us to miss what the Holy Spirit wants to say to us through the Word. God has commanded us to be holy. The New Testament exhortation that we be filled with the Holy Spirit has found thousands of receptive hearts." Does everyone receive them? How does God the Holy Spirit guide us to Holiness By making the truth clear to us, reminding of of Jesus' teaching, helping us to understand Gods word, and helping us to avoid sin. For these disciplines to do their proper work, we need to practice them as we are open to God’s Spirit. His website can be found here. We should fight, not to attain holiness as a result of our own efforts, but to let God act in us without our putting up any resistance against him; we should fight to open ourselves as fully as possible to his grace, which sanctifies us. St. Francis dc Sales says, likewise: And that is the fundamental dynamism that can lead us little by little to holiness, our faithfulness to grace drawing down other graces. Published by WaterBrook, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. Being in tune with God’s will, turning from and confessing sin, and making a habit of prayer and the study of God’s Word will allow us to recognize—and follow—the Spirit’s leading. We could translate the word holy as “devout” and we would be accurate. . All we have to do is peacefully recognize and admit the fact of our weakness, and place all our trust and hope in God alone. To be holy is characterized by simultaneous devotion to God and separation from everything that is not godlike or Christlike. Various questions arise from this. The whole of Scripture teaches us that it can only be the fruit of God's grace. To unlock this article for your friends, use any of the social share buttons on our site, or simply copy the link below. . When God inspires us to do something (if it really is God who is the source of that inspiration), at the same time he supplies the ability to do it, even if it is beyond our capacity or scares us at the start. Best of all, as followers of Christ, a part of God's holiness now resides in us as well, making it our mission to go out and spread the holiness … 11:44) and “It is God’s will that you should be holy [or sanctified]” (1 Thess. What the Holy Spirit is up to is bringing the whole life of Jesus Christ into the whole of our personalities so that the whole love of God can be relayed to the whole world. Are you open to the Spirit who brings a new holiness? When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. 4:7–8), May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. It is worth looking at the last of these questions first. Holiness is the result of the Spirit’s work in us, and that same Spirit is engaged in our deepest hearts in a battle between what is good and what is evil. Third, behind it all, we need to remember that we do not make ourselves holy. Why? To share this article with your friends, use any of the social share buttons on our site, or simply copy the link below. The secret of holiness could be described as discovering that we can obtain everything from God, on condition that we know "how to get hold of him." But remember that God’s deepest will is for us to love God and to love others. "[8] One can deduce a fundamental "spiritual law" from it: We will obtain the grace to be faithful in the important things that at present we find impossible, by dint of being faithful in the little things within our grasp, especially when those little things are the ones that the Holy spins asks of us by calling to our hearts with his inspirations. The aim of the following sections is to put us on the right track. At the same time, God's holiness is a gift, able to heal a broken and impure world. How can we recognize and distinguish these motions of the Spirit? Christians are commanded to “walk in the Spirit” and be “filled with the Spirit”. We don’t become more loving by praying 15 minutes following 15 minutes of Bible reading. God calls us to perfection, but he is not a perfectionist. So we see that separation from the world is the impact or result, not the source, of holiness. The Holy Spirit will guide us. This is what he says in the Spiritual Canticle: This daring expression about the power that our love and trust can exercise over God's heart contains a beautiful and very deep truth. CTWeekly delivers the best content from ChristianityToday.com to your inbox each week. There is more happiness in giving than in receiving. He shocked the smugly self-righteous Jews by calling those “blessed” whom they regarded as accursed (5:3-12). But the holiness of the Father, Son and Spirit is all about love. Nowhere do they inhabit cities of their own, use a strange dialect, or live life out of the ordinary. The Spirit of God alone can give us this illumination. No individual knows what his own holiness consists of. These inspirations are necessary even to know God's general will for us. Therefore, anyone who rejects this instruction does not reject a human being but God, the very God who gives you his HolySpirit. That means you are not sinless.”. Just a minute amount of the unction of the Holy Spirit can fill our hearts with more contentment than all the riches of the earth, because it shares in God's infinity. It takes a lifetime and beyond to become holy. In this verse, the Spirit of truth is a reference to the Holy Spirit because He is the one who guides us into all truth. Here I bring our attention to an individual from the Holiness wing who expresses the beauty of holiness. Holiness is only revealed to us by degrees, as we journey on, and it is often something very different from what we imagine, so much so that the greatest obstacle on the path to holiness may be to cling too closely to the image we have of our own perfection. That’s what new holiness looks like. Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. Devotion to God doesn’t mean isolation or withdrawal, as one finds among some sects. Jesus tells us: "Apart from me, you can do nothing. When you drive 66 m.p.h. The first reason for this is that if we aspire to perfection, we have so many things to tackle, so many commandments and virtues to practice, that it is impossible for us to fight on all fronts. They live in their respective countries, but only as resident aliens; they participate in all things as citizens, and they endure all things as foreigners. The Helper will guide us into all the truth, convicting us of sin, of righteousness, and judgement. God is holy and God wants us to be holy. Here we find another great law of the spiritual life: what is really able to satisfy our hearts is not so much the gifts we receive as the good that God inspires and that we practice. It gives us the power to produce spiritual fruit that we could not produce on our own. Here is how it went: “Grandma, do you believe in entire sanctification?”, “Grandma, I just heard you gossiping, and gossiping is sin. He can become sad or angry, and others can insult Him and blaspheme against Him (Is 63:10; Mt 12:31; Ac 7:51; Eph 4:30; Heb 10:29). Those practices are prayer, meditation and contemplation, Bible reading, and a solid diet of good Christian influences, including movies and books. Browse 60+ years of magazine archives and web exclusives. But every act of loving God, others, self, or creation is holiness. Excerpted from Open to the Spirit: God in Us, God With Us, God Transforming Us; Copyright © 2018 by Scot McKnight. If we realize that we will save ourselves a great deal of discouragement and fruitless struggle. God is holy; he is set apart and wholly separate from sin. 2 Corinthians 3:16-18 “But whenever a person turns to the Lord the veil is removed. What are some ways that we, as disciples of Christ, can we respond to Gods call to Holiness How we should discern and receive these inspirations will be discussed later. Her response was priceless. We don’t become holy because we spend 15 minutes in the Psalms every day. Her name is Phoebe Palmer. First, we need to practice the spiritual disciplines that promote presence with God, because contact with God is transformative. (1 Thess. How can we foster their presence in our spiritual life? Most Christians believe that during this life we grow in holiness. For charity, as the bond of perfection and the fullness of the law,(229) rules over all the means of attaining holiness and gives life to these same means. . Only God can get to the bottom of our defects, and our limitations in the field of love; only he has sufficient mastery over our hearts for that. Every foreign territory is a homeland for them, every homeland foreign territory. Granted, there are times when I wish the Holy Spirit would control me. To make us holy, the Spirit leads us on the pathways of Scripture, prayer, and the other means of grace. Father Ravier, introducing the essential points of the spirituality of St. Francis de Sales, says: "Inspirations are one of the means the Holy Spirit uses to guide each person at every moment. (1 Pet. The partnership of the believer and the indwelling Holy Spirit in all that is undertaken for God is absolutely essential to achieve the will of God. Come, Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful. We all have the power to become holy, simply because God lets himself be won over by the trust we put in him. I was there when my grandma listened in on such a conversation, then watched as she later called a friend and repeated the overheard conversation. For God, each person is absolutely unique. For many Christians our public discourse has been reduced to standing up for the issues we believe in and standing against the issues we oppose. The ability to discern and follow them is one of the most important points of the devout life": Francis de Sales, Lettres d'amité spirituelle (Bruges: Desclée de Brouwer), p.  818. Holiness is first and foremost devotion to God. because God chose you as firstfruits to be saved through the sanctifying work of the Spirit and through belief in the truth. And the Holiness tradition brings an emphasis on surrender, turning from worldliness, and deepening one’s personal spiritual life. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, believers are saved, filled, sealed, and sanctified. How can we discover what it is? We won't have the grace to do what God is not asking of us. Hebrews 12:14 Here’s another way to say it: anything that is not loving—of God and of others and of self and of all God’s creation—is unholy. Jesus called the Holy Spirit the Helper. We will get to see ourselves, what dwells in our flesh, through the Spirit in the light of God’s Word. Father Jacques Philippe. We have to surrender and allow the Holy Spirit to open our eyes. In the same Spirit help us … This point will be discussed further on. 12:43, Luke 11:26). He is the author of The Eight Doors of the Kingdom: Meditations on the Beatitudes, Called to Life, Real Mercy: Mary, Forgiveness and Trust, Searching for and Maintaining Peace: A Small Treatise on Peace of Heart, Interior Freedom, Fire & Light, Time for God, Thirsting for Prayer, and In the School of the Holy Spirit. These spiritual disciplines are simultaneously denials of other influences, since playing video games or surfing the internet is not as profitable as praying. St. John of the Cross expresses it elsewhere in other terms: "What touches God's heart, and triumphs over it, is firm hope. “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit … I Was Filming a Dangerous Action Scene When I Gave My Life to Christ, Polarized Americans Still Support Religious Freedom, Complete access to articles on ChristianityToday.com, Over 120 years of magazine archives plus full access to all of CT’s online archives. The Holy Spirit also helps Christians in their weakness and intercedes for them. How a film and television stuntman met the Lord in the air. First Peter 1:15 teaches, "As he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct." It is accompanied by an outpouring of grace that enlarges our hearts and makes our souls feel free and happy to travel along the Lord's paths: "I will run in the way of thy commandments, when thou enlargest my understanding! Two Bible verses immediately come to mind: “Be holy, because I am holy” (Lev. Here is a little story from Sister Faustina, again taken from her Diary. “Holy Spirit”- Francesca Battistelli. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. It can happen that we make superhuman efforts to improve on one point, while God is asking us for something else. Holiness is the result of the Spirit’s work in us, and that same Spirit is engaged in our deepest hearts in a battle between what is good and what is evil. St. Thérèse of Lisieux, Autobiography, Manuscript A, folio 48. Lord, by the light of the Holy Spirit you have taught the hearts of your faithful. There is a widespread but mistaken idea that holiness is the work of human beings: that what we need is to have a clear program of perfection, set to work with courage and patience, and achieve it little by little. With its slow, quiet … This opening of ourselves demands a great deal of humility because it means renouncing our tendency, born of pride, to want to manage by ourselves; it means accepting our own poverty and so on. We proudly declare what is righteous and right and decry what is not. From start to finish, from inside to outside, from top to bottom, the work of becoming holy—of sanctification—is the work of God through the Spirit, as these Bible verses make clear: [To Christians] who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of theSpirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood. God's holiness is a powerful force that must be treated with the utmost respect. It is the emergence of an absolutely unique reality that God alone knows, and that he alone brings to fruition. My grandma made the claim that she was entirely sanctified and no longer sinned. St. John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle B, strophe 32, I. This does not mean that all is lost if at any time we are unfaithful to them. Devotion to God entails the rejection of devotion to the world. So what does it mean to call the Spirit holy? When the touches of the Spirit, enlightening us and impelling us to act, are well received, they pour into our hearts not just light and strength but solace and peace, that often fills us with consolation. The word holiness means to be in God’s presence as one “devoted to God,” and because of devotion to God it also means “to be separated from the world.” This dual meaning strikes the right biblical balance. Richard of St. Victor says: "Thou anointest my head with oil, my cup overfloweth," we read in Psalm 23 [22]. We may journey without constraint, our hearts not confined but expanded. Open to the Spirit: God in Us, God with Us, God Transforming Us, When A Word Is Worth A Thousand Complaints (and When It Isn’t), Why There Are So Many ‘Miraculous’ Stories of Bibles Surviving Disaster, Ravi Zacharias’s Ministry Investigates Claims of Sexual Misconduct at Spas. Act of loving God, the Spirit ” - Francesca Battistelli claim that she was entirely and. Only he can forward with additional allegations against the late Christian apologist disciplines are simultaneously denials of other influences since. To put us on the Bible and start all over again teaches ``. We love God and separation from the world is not the realization of a holiness church. I bring our attention to an ideal as by inner faithfulness to God 1:2 ), may himself... Others and carry on the Bible ’ s consider four key truths about the leadership of the holy wants... Jewish religious leaders of his day they could stop sinning, he is set apart wholly! 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