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Pathways To Holiness

They are without doubt among the greatest and most glorious chapters of the whole New Testament. They portray our Christian privilege, the privileges of those whom God has ‘made new’, those whom he has ‘justified,’’ that is, declared righteous and accepted in Christ…Now that we are justified, these are the consequences, these are the fruits, of our justification. Having been brought into acceptance with God through trust in Jesus Christ, this is what follows.

John Stott, a former evangelical pastor and leader in Britain, was speaking about Romans 5 – 8 when he wrote these words. Many would agree with him. For these chapters show how justification makes a practical or real difference in the believer’s life. The doctrine being taught here is usually spoken of in one or more of the following terms: holiness, sanctification, or godliness.

Pastor Sunday will start an extended study of these chapters in the morning worship services in February 2016. It is his intent to slow down and thoroughly examine these critical chapters in his exposition of Romans. At the same time we will be offering 10 books on this subject for you to check out of the church library. These books will be available at a table in the church foyer.

As the title of my article states, these books are intended to be “pathways to holiness” for you. The elders believe personal holiness is an important issue for all of us in the church family. The matter is clearly stated in 1 Peter 1:15-16, But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” So use these books as tools to help you grow in your understanding of personal holiness as well as in the practice of personal holiness.

The following is a list of the 10 books and a brief description of their content.

Horatius Bonar, God’s Way of Holiness - This book was first published in 1864. Bonar believed holiness is not a matter of outward observance but is rather the whole Christian life. It finds practical expression in every area of day-to-day living.

Jerry Bridges, The Pursuit of Holiness - Bridges says holiness is the Christian’s joint venture with God. The central issue confronting us is that Christians fail to understand their own responsibility for holiness.

Bryan Chapell, Holiness by Grace - Chapell illustrates the principles of grace, the practices of faith, and the motives of love in living a life of holiness. He writes to help us get our eyes off ourselves and on all that is ours in Christ.

Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness - The aim of this author is to fill the gap between gospel passion and the pursuit of godliness. This is a book for those who are ready to take holiness seriously. The focus is on God’s power to help us grow in personal holiness and to enjoy the process of transformation.

Kelly Kapic and Justin Taylor, Overcoming Sin and Temptation - An updated version of three classic works of John Owen that deal with the nature of our battle with sin. As Owen said, “Be killing sin or sin will be killing you.”

Walter Marshall, The Gospel Mystery of Sanctification - This work was first published in 1692. Its focus is on growing in holiness by living in union with Christ. The writer believes as we do this we will become like Jesus.

J.I. Packer, Rediscovering Holiness - Once the highway to holiness was clearly marked out for Bible-believers. Packer believes this highway has been forgotten. So he clearly marks it out for us and points us to true freedom and joy.

J.C. Ryle, Holiness - Ryle originally published this book in 1879. It’s a thorough study of holiness dealing with its nature, hindrances, difficulties, and roots.

R.C. Sproul, The Holiness of God - Sproul gives us a profound, moving investigation of the character of God. He believes God’s character defines all we are and do as Christians.

Derek Tidball, The Message of Holiness - Tidball believes we are all flawed masterpieces. In one way or another, and to one degree or another, the image of God in which we are formed has become marred and corrupted. Holiness is about the restoration of that image.

As you think about these things consider the words of John Piper, Jesus says, “You will know the truth and the truth will set you free”(John 8:32). The freedom He has in mind is freedom from the slavery of sin (v. 34). Or, to put it positively, it is freedom for holiness. The promises of God’s grace provide the power that makes the demands of God’s holiness an experience of freedom rather than fear. Peter described the freeing power of God’s promises like this: “Through (His precious and very great promises) you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire” (2 Peter 1:4). In other words, when we trust the promises of God, we sever the root of corruption by the power of the superior promise.

So in the coming days as we dig deeper into the doctrine of personal holiness let us pray with Jesus, “Sanctify (us) in the truth, your word is truth”(John 17:17).

Elder Jim Gordon