Holiness Glorifies The Triune God
“I will pray the Father and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever” (John 14:16). Here we have mentioned the three Persons of the Godhead. Here is Jesus, the Second Person of the Trinity declaring that He will pray the Father, the first Person of the Trinity to send the Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of the Trinity. This is only one of hundreds of passages in the Bible that clearly teach the Trinity of the Godhead. This one passage alone is enough to prove the doctrine. This is not a book on theology, but it may be well to state the doctrine of the Trinity. It is claimed that it is mysterious and beyond our comprehension. So is the existence of God beyond comprehension. We behold a thousand things each day that are beyond our comprehension, but we do not deny or throw them away. We like the old Indian’s illustration of the Trinity. He said, “Go down to the river in the winter and you come to snow. Dig through the snow and you come to ice, dig through the ice and you come to water. They are different, but they are all water.” If we can admit this, we should go slow in our failure to understand the fact that there are three in the Godhead.
These three Persons are all interested and more than interested in the work of holiness. Let us see how vitally they are connected with the work of holiness.
God, the Father has always willed that we should be holy. He created man in His own image of righteousness and true holiness. That was what He wanted man to be. But He did not want man to be holy because he was so created. He wanted man to be holy from his own choice. So He gave him freedom of his will. And all those whom He makes holy in all ages are those who are holy from choice.
When man chose sin in place of holiness and became depraved, God instituted the plan of salvation, for a greater purpose than to save man from hell or to bring him to heaven. It was to restore him to holiness. This is the one point to which all revelation tends. This is the end of the commandment. Says Paul: ‘Now the end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart and a good conscience and faith unfeigned.” Consequently we may look on the Bible as the unfolding of the plan to make man holy.
First: God had to hint at the nature of holiness, by symbols and object lessons, because His people had become so ignorant and debased by their bondage in Egypt among the heathen. So he divided the animals into two classes-the clean and unclean, and refused to have any but the clean offered to Him in sacrifice. Then He required the worshipper to be ceremonially clean, who offered sacrifice to Him. Thus He taught them that He was a Being that would accept nothing unclean. Thus gradually He instilled into their minds the idea of His moral cleanness or holiness.
Second: Having thus by symbol taught the idea of moral cleanness or holiness, He commanded them to be holy. Again and again is the command given. He does not give a reason for all His commands, but He does when He commands us to be holy. He says, “Be ye holy for I am holy.” That is sufficient reason for our holiness, because He is holy.
Third: He promises it again and again in His Word. Such passages as, “I the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart and the heart of thy seed that thou mayest love the Lord thy God with all thy heart,” and a host of others clearly give His promises. Zacharias under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit says God took an oath to make us holy. “The oath which he swore unto our father, Abraham, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all the days of our life.”
Fourth: He has made ample provision to make us holy. He gave the Bible for that purpose. “All scripture,” says Paul, “is given by inspiration and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction in righteousness that the man of God might be perfect.” Peter says, “Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises that through them ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” Jesus prayed for His disciple-preachers, “Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth.”
God has given the divers orders of the ministry for the sanctification of man. In Eph. 4:11-13 we have a very important statement. Paul likens Jesus when He arose from the grave victorious over his enemies, to the ancient conquering general, who on his return from war was allowed a triumphal procession through the streets of Rome. As the procession filed through the city, the conqueror threw showers of gold and silver among the crowd. These handfuls of money were called donations or gifts. So Jesus when He triumphed over death gave as donations the different gifts of the ministry. “He gave some [people] apostles; and some prophets; and some evangelists; and some pastors and some teachers for the perfecting of the saints; for the work of the ministry; for the edifying of the church, till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the fullness of the stature of Christ.” Paul says: ‘”Whom we preach warning every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.”
The church is given to help to holiness. As the Methodist Discipline says of the Church, “Among its privileges are peculiar incitements to holiness.” Rightly improved the ordinances of God’s house are helps to holiness. We “believe in the communion of Saints.” So we say in the Apostles’ Creed. The real church is an association of saints to help build up each other in holiness. Is it any wonder that the Apostle says “This is the will of God, your sanctification”?
God the Father planned holiness for mankind far back in the ages of eternity, before the world began, “According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world,” says Paul to the Ephesians.
Holiness in man therefore glorifies the adorable First Person of the Trinity, who created man holy and has provided all needful agencies to make him holy.
Holiness glorifies Jesus Christ, the Second Person of the Trinity. He came to this world to make possible and procure the elimination of sin from the human heart. His blood is the procuring cause of salvation from all sin. Gabriel in announcing His birth said, “Thou shalt call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” His mission was not to save His people in, but from their sins. He lived a holy life as our example. He preached holiness and antagonized the churchmen of the day because they lacked it. He told them they made “clean the outside of the cup and platter but within were full of ravening and excess.” He likened them to putrid sepulchers, white and glistening on the outside only. He prayed for His disciples just as He went to Gethsemane that they might be sanctified.
He died that His church-those who had already been regenerated-might be sanctified. Paul says, “Christ also loved the church and gave himself for it, that it might be sanctified.” John says, “The blood of Jesus Christ, his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” The inspired author of the epistle to the Hebrews says, “Jesus that he might sanctify the people with his own blood suffered without the gate.” If anyone claims to love Jesus Christ and is not moved when he reads that Jesus died that His church might be sanctified, he has made a mistake in supposing he is a follower of Jesus. This, then, was the mission of Jesus to teach holiness, to set the example of holiness and to make an offering of Himself to provide and by His death prepare the way for man to be holy. Therefore holiness glorifies the Second Person of the Trinity.
Holiness glorifies the Holy Spirit, the Third Person of the Adorable Trinity. If language means anything, it means the Bible teaches that the Holy Spirit is a Person as truly as the Father and Son. He has been called the “Executive of the Godhead.” It is His office to actually perform the work in the heart that God the Father has planned and Christ the Son has made possible by His death. The Scripture so teaches.
St. Peter tells us that we are ‘elect according to the foreknowledge of God through sanctification of the Spirit.” St. Paul says, “”God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation, through sanctification of the Spirit.” He comes to cleanse our hearts, that they may be fit temples for His indwelling, for “ye are the temple of the Holy Ghost.” A holy heart is a sample of His office-work. It glorifies the Holy Spirit.
It is therefore in harmony with common sense that we should be holy for it proves that the plans and office work of the Trinity as regards holiness are effective.