Posted by Jerry White on May 4, 2015
By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples.
John 15:8 (ESV)
“Practical holiness is put before us in the Scriptures under the figure of fruit. But what is fruit? It is the deposit of the sap; it is the final result of all the inner activities of the tree—-the outcome of the hidden life, which, beginning with the root, passes through the stem into the branch, and finally manifests itself in bud, blossom, and fruit. When the fruit is formed and ripened, the great purpose of the tree’s activity and growth is reached; the life has completed its cycle.
Fruit therefore illustrates that side of the spiritual life that is sacrificed for the good of others. Fruit is ‘the produce of the branch, by which men are refreshed and nourished. The fruit is not for the branch, but for those who come to carry it away….A fruit-bearing tree lives not for itself, but wholly for those to whom its fruit brings refreshment and life. And so the branch exists only and entirely for the sake of the fruit. To make glad the husbandman is its subject, its safety, and its glory’ (AndrewMurray)….
Practical holiness therefore is not something that has to be manufactured. something more than even a perfect pattern is needed in order to be conformed to the image of God’s Son, for holiness is no mere question of imitation….
So it is possible to perform duties and do good works and call them fruit. ‘If you were to tie half a dozen bunches of grapes on your old umbrella, that would not make a vine. You may tie them on very carefully, but they will not grow. But that is just what multitudes of people are trying to do’ (Canon Wilberforce).
Practical holiness is not something that begins by doing, but by being. It is not something to be built up, as you build a house, by adding brick to brick. I is not ‘a mosaic of moralities, nor a compilation of merits, nor a succession of acts. It is a growth’ (Bp. Huntingdon).
Evan H. Hopkins
The Law of Liberty in the Spiritual Life, 74-75 (1952 edition)
Posted by Jerry White on Aug 31, 2014
“You know, the great work of Jesus is to take away sin. And how does He take it away? Many Christians just look upon Him as taking it away on the Cross. Others get a step beyond that, and say: He takes it way from heaven; He cleanses and keeps me. But the true taking away of sin is this: if the light comes in, the darkness is expelled. It is the presence of Jesus, indwelling by the Holy Spirit, that can make us holy. And the disciples—-what a change came over them! See now how boldly, time after time, they can speak in the presence of those who threaten them with death. ‘We must obey God rather than men,’ they said. They go to prison, and there they can sing praises to God at midnight. Oh, the wonderful change in their life that the Holy Spirit wrought!
And what does that teach us? We very often speak about the self-life, and the life of the Holy Spirit. Have you said to God—-perhaps you have said it often—-‘Lord, how can I be rid of this self-life?’ Well, has it been discovered to you? Has God’s finger reached the deep place of your heart, and have you been brought to say: O God, my failure is all my self-confidence, self-will, self-pleasing? There is that accursed self that will have its say in everything, and there is no power that can expel that but the power of the presence of Jesus.
You may get troubled about some theological definition, as to how it is all done, as to how much sin there remains, and how much there is cast out, but the all important thing to believe is this: that though you cannot explain and expound all, the Spirit of holiness which will be given is the holiness of Jesus in your heart—-and be content with that. Filled with the Spirit, you have within you the power of the holiness of God to do the blessed work of sanctification.”
Andrew Murray (1828-1917)
Absolute Surrender (1962 edition)
Progress on Book of Postings
Our plan to print a book of 104 postings is progressing well. The postings are ready, having been carefully proofed. My wife and I have almost completed obtaining necessary copyright permissions. As soon as this task is done, we will arrange the postings and extra pages, obtain our own copyright, plus ISBN, and go to press. Printing will not take long. I will announce on this site the book’s availability as soon as possible and explain how copies may be purchased.
Posted by Jerry White on Jul 4, 2013
“I must speak candidly to you, brothers and sisters in Christ, about the perverse behavior of the pagans. For though we live right among them in this world, we must resist all the pull to imitate them.
Earlier, I cautioned you not to imitate the pagan men, who make themselves smooth and who paint themselves in order to attract other men. Nor to imitate their women, who lust for other women….
Now I offer another serious warning: They have so perverted and degraded sexuality that it is no longer the sacred intercourse between man and woman which God intended.
Sexuality is treated like a common act—no different than buying fruit in the street. Lewdness fills their plays and entertainment. Men and women brag about their sexual conquests, as if each encounter is a trophy to be exhibited. Lechery has become like a public institution—for though the society is founded on so-called ‘right philosophical principles,’ yet everyone knows where to find a prostitute. And the authorities look the other way.
Here is the sorriest part of this wickedness: These people so eager to enjoy their sexual ‘freedom,’ create children from their many encounters. And when an infant is not wanted, it is abandoned, according to the pagan customs, in the street outside the home of the mother. The pagan priests, who move like carrion up and down the city, accept the child as a ‘servant to the gods.’ And the child is raised in debauched fashion.
So it comes about that the men of our day wind up lying with their own sons and daughters—unaware that they have even brought a child into the world….
These things the pagan lawmakers of our day allow. People sin legally, though of course the authorities will not call it sin. ‘People have the right to indulge in pleasures. Who are we to prohibit them?’”
Clement of Alexandria, (155-220 A. D.), THE INSTRUCTIONS
You Give Me New Life
Devotional Readings Arranged and Paraphrased by David Hazard
Therefore go out from their midst and be separate from them, says the Lord.
2 Corinthians 6:17 (ESV)
Posted by Jerry White on Jun 9, 2013
“While speaking to adult Christian groups in evangelical churches, several years ago, I (Neil) would make the following statement: ‘Christian maturity is understanding the principles of the Bible and trying as best we can to live them.’ I then asked how many people agreed with that statement. Nearly everybody did. Then I told them I disagreed with almost every aspect of that statement! It’s true that it’s understanding the principles of Scripture that is essential for Christian maturity, but that in itself is not Christian maturity. Christian maturity is Christlike character. If you know all the principles but don’t have the character, then you are only a ‘resounding gong or a clanging cymbal’ that is without love (1 Corinthians 13:1). Also, trying as best you can to live the Christian life will probably bear no fruit because apart from Christ you can do nothing. Only by God’s grace can you live the Christian life.
Progressive sanctification is a supernatural work. Clearly the victory over sin and death through Christ’s crucifixion and resurrection was God’s victory and not ours. Only God can redeem us from the power of sin, set us free from out past, and make us new creations ‘in Christ.’ Even though we have become a partaker of the divine nature due to Christ’s nature due to Christ’s presence in our lives, we still need to be dependent upon God to supply the power to conform us to His image. Becoming a Christian does not mean that we have more power in and of ourselves. It means that we are inwardly connected to the only source of power that is able to overcome the laws of sin and death, which is the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:2). That we are tempted to misunderstand this truth or perhaps unconsciously forget it in our attempt to grow as believers is seen in Paul’s sharp question to the Galatians: ‘Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort?’ (Galatians 3:3).”
Neil T. Anderson
The Common Made Holy, 257-258
If you long to become like Jesus in character so that He is seen through your personality day by day, there is only one way: You must consciously and deliberately trust Him to be who He is through you. Otherwise you live out of your self-life (flesh). What a waste!
Posted by Jerry White on Jan 7, 2013
I am the LORD your God. Consecrate yourselves therefore, and be holy; for I am holy.
Leviticus 11:44 (ESV)
Being reminded of God’s will is vital for continuing spiritual health. The Bible contains many accounts of professing believers in both Old and New Testaments who either lost sight of God’s desire, commands, and instructions for His people or they rebelled because of their own sinful desires. Their rebellious disobedience is a warning for us (1 Cor. 10:1-13). God says we are to pursue holiness (Hebs. 12:14). Without it we will not see the Lord.
I still agree with words I wrote in a book nearly forty years ago (You Shall Be Holy):
“What does it mean to be holy? Often when we hear about being holy our impression is vague and other-worldly. It is difficult for some to see it in relationship to normal and practical every day living. The ambiguous notion is held that to be holy is a full time endeavor only attainable by those who retreat from the world to live in a monastery. Equally so, when some think of a holy man, the almost unconscious thought is of a man with solemn countenance who has given up the affairs of normal, everyday life to spend all his time seeking God. Happiness is not apparent, and seriousness marks his entire being.
Such a notion regarding a holy life is foreign to God’s Word. Man’s self-striving attempts to be holy will lead to such a state as we have described, but it will be an unnatural condition. Holiness of life by the means of God’s grace, however, grants fullness of love, joy, and peace, even in the usual routine of daily tasks. The provision of holiness by the Lord frees a man to be the unique person he is in Christ—relaxed, natural, and manifesting through his personality the beauty of the Lord. This gift of holiness is more than external conduct. It begins as a deep inward reality and flows upward and out through the life as living water refreshing all whom it touches. It is not calculated but spontaneous. There is always an eternal freshness about it, and wherever such a life goes, it is as though it brings a fragrant atmosphere with it. The most commonplace things become enriched by what seems to be a heavenly touch, and the beauty of the Lord is beheld.”
Posted by Jerry White on Nov 11, 2012
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14 (ESV)
“The Christian should never complain of want of ability and power. If we sin, it is because we choose to sin, not because we lack the ability to say no to temptation.
It is time for us Christians to face up to our responsibility for holiness. Too often we say we are ‘defeated’ by this or that sin. No, we are not defeated; we are simply disobedient! It might be well if we stopped using the terms ‘victory’ and ‘defeat’ to describe our progress in holiness. Rather we should use the terms ‘obedience’ and ‘disobedience.’ When I say I am defeated by some sin, I am unconsciously slipping out from under my responsibility. I am saying something outside of me has defeated me. But when I say I am disobedient, that places the responsibility for my sin squarely on me. We may, in fact, be defeated, but the reason we are defeated is because we have chosen to disobey. We have chosen to entertain lustful thoughts, or to harbor resentment, or shade the truth a little.
We need to brace ourselves up, and to realize that we are responsible for our thoughts, attitudes, and actions. We need to reckon on the fact that we died to sin’s reign, that it no longer has any dominion over us, that God has united us with the risen Christ in all His power, and given us the Holy Spirit to work in us. Only as we accept our responsibility and appropriate God’s provisions will we make any progress in our pursuit of holiness.”
The Pursuit of Holiness, 84-85
Our desire to walk in holiness before the Lord is in direct proportion to our love and reverence for Him. We can say right things with our lips and tongues but still not love Him so that with deep passion we forsake all that grieves Him and diligently pursue all that pleases Him. So easy is it to deceive ourselves into thinking that all is well when in fact our souls are merely lukewarm. Genuine love for the Lord Jesus causes you to wage war against sin and pursue holiness in daily practice. The issue is love for Him—deep love.