Righteousness & Holiness

Introduction: My last week in 4 of ‘things worth fighting for.’ Cross, Others, Local church and today righteousness and holiness.

Righteousness and Holiness

Righteousness is one of the chief attributes of God as portrayed in the Hebrew Bible. Its chief meaning concerns ethical conduct (for example, Leviticus 19:36; Deuteronomy 25:1; Psalm 1:6; Proverbs 8:20). In the Book of Job, the title character is introduced as “a good and righteous man”.

Biblical Holiness is not perfection but separation (unto God). Literally, holy living means that the Christian lives a life that is set apart, reserved to give glory to God. It is a life of discipline, focus, and attention to matters of righteous living.

Let me break it down just a little more.

Let’s start with righteousness from a familiar name and character.

Job 1:1-8

God described Job as blameless, upright, fearing God and avoiding evil.

  1. Perfect = complete, one who lacks nothing, sound, wholesome. Morally innocent, having integrity, one who is morally and ethically pure
  2. Upright = straight, correct, right, level, just, fitting, proper
  3. Fears God = fearful, made afraid, reverence, in awe
  4. Avoiding = cuts off, departs, escapes, keeps away from.

1 Thessalonians 5:22

Transition: Discussion / Distinction between righteousness and holiness.

Righteousness and holiness are two words that describe states of moral excellence.

There is a slight difference between the two concepts. Oxford Dictionary’s definition of holiness is “the state of being holy,” and the definition of holy is “dedicated or consecrated to God or a religious purpose; sacred” or “morally and spiritually excellent.”

The Oxford definition of righteousness is “the quality of being morally right or justifiable,” and the definition of righteous is “morally right or justifiable; virtuous.” So, righteousness is the condition of being proven or declared morally excellent, while holiness is the condition of being consecrated or dedicated to moral excellence.

What is righteousness according to Bible?

What we need to understand about righteousness is that while we commit to doing what we know is correct and reverent is that…

‘Is the intentional commitment of doing what we know is correct and reverent.’

This righteousness is passive and comes apart from the Law. A human person is not righteous in God’s eyes because of his choice or commitment, his good works or his piety, his emotions or intellect. Instead, he (Jesus) is righteous because the Father chooses him from the foundation of the world to die for us and we are in him.

In the passive voice, the action’s target is the focus, and the verb acts upon the subject. Or, to put it in the passive voice, the subject is acted upon by the verb.

Blameless and Upright! Yet, He Suffered!
https://patrickoben.com/why-did-job-suffer/

Transition: Let me address holiness now for a moment.

https://www.monergism.com/12-characteristics-persons-who-strive-after-holinessransition:

Holiness – To be separate or separated unto and for God and His purposes.

‘To be holy means to be separated from the world of sin, darkness, and the devil by faith in the Lord Jesus’ (Acts 26.18)

J.C. Ryle – English Evangelical Anglican Bishop

1. Holiness is the habit of being of one mind with God

* It is the habit of agreeing in God’s judgment, hating what He hates, loving what He loves, and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word.

2. Holiness includes an endeavor to shun every known sin and to keep every known commandment.

* A mind towards God, a hearty desire to do His will, a greater fear of displeasing Him than of displeasing the world, and a love to all His ways.

He will feel what Paul felt when he said, “I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Rom. 7:22), and what David felt when he said, “I esteem all Your precepts concerning all things to be right, and I hate every false way” (Ps. 119:128).

3. A holy man will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ. 

* forgiving others, even as Christ forgave us;

* to be unselfish, even as Christ pleased not Himself;

* to walk in love, even as Christ loved us;

* to be lowly–minded and humble, even as Christ made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself.

He will remember that Christ was a faithful witness for the truth; that He came not to do His own will; that it was His meat and drink to do His Father’s will;

* He would continually deny Himself in order to minister to others; that He was meek and patient under undeserved insults; that He thought more of godly poor men than of kings; that He was full of love and compassion to sinners; that He was bold and uncompromising in denouncing sin;

* that He sought not the praise of men, when He might have had it; that He went about doing good;

* that He was separate from worldly people;

* that He continued instant in prayer;

* that He would not let even His nearest relations stand in His way when God’s work was to be done.

4. A holy man will follow after meekness, patience, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, government of his tongue. He will bear much, forbear much, overlook much and be slow to talk of standing on his rights. We see a bright example of this in the behavior of David when Shimei cursed him, and of Moses when Aaron and Miriam spoke against him (2 Sam. 16:10; Num. 12:3).

5. A holy man will follow after temperance and self–denial. He will labor to mortify the desires of his body, to crucify his flesh with his affections and lusts, to curb his passions, to restrain his carnal inclinations, lest at any time they break loose. Oh, what a word is that of the Lord Jesus to the apostles: “Take heed to yourselves, lest at any time your hearts be overcharged with surfeiting, and drunkenness, and cares of this life” (Luke 21:34), and that of the apostle Paul: “I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway” (1 Cor. 9:27).

6. A holy man will follow after charity and brotherly kindness. He will endeavor to observe the golden rule of doing as he would have men do to him and speaking as he would have men speak to him. He will be full of affection towards his brethren, towards their bodies, their property, their characters, their feelings, their souls. “He who loves another,” says Paul, “has fulfilled the law” (Rom. 13:8). He will abhor all lying, slandering, backbiting, cheating, dishonesty and unfair dealing, even in the least things. The shekel and cubit of the sanctuary were larger than those in common use. He will strive to adorn his religion by all his outward demeanor and to make it lovely and beautiful in the eyes of all around him. Alas, what condemning words are the thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, and the sermon on the mount, when laid alongside the conduct of many professing Christians!

7. A holy man will follow after a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others. He will not stand all the day idle. He will not be content with doing no harm; he will try to do good. He will strive to be useful in his day and generation and to lessen the spiritual wants and misery around him as far as he can. Such was Dorcas: “full of good works and almsdeeds, which she did”—not merely purposed and talked about, but did. Such a one was Paul: “I will very gladly spend and be spent for you,” he says, “though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (Acts 9:36; 2 Cor. 12:15).

8. A holy man will follow after purity of heart. He will dread all filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid all things that might draw him into it. He knows his own heart is like tinder and will diligently keep clear of the sparks of temptation. Who shall dare to talk of strength when David can fall? There is many a hint to be gleaned from the ceremonial law. Under it the man who only touched a bone or a dead body or a grave or a diseased person became at once unclean in the sight of God. And these things were emblems and figures. Few Christians are ever too watchful and too particular about this point.

9. A holy man will follow after the fear of God. I do not mean the fear of a slave, who only works because he is afraid of punishment and would be idle if he did not dread discovery. I mean rather the fear of a child, who wishes to live and move as if he was always before his father’s face, because he loves him. What a noble example Nehemiah gives us of this! When he became governor at Jerusalem, he might have been chargeable to the Jews and required of them money for his support. The former governors had done so. There was none to blame him if he did. But he says, “So did not I, because of the fear of God” (Neh. 5:15).

10. A holy man will follow after humility. He will desire, in lowliness of mind, to esteem all others better than himself. He will see more evil in his own heart than in any other in the world. He will understand something of Abraham’s feeling, when he says, “I am dust and ashes,” and Jacob’s, when he says, “I am less than the least of all Your mercies,” and Job’s, when he says, “I am vile,” and Paul’s, when he says, “I am chief of sinners.” Holy Bradford, that faithful martyr of Christ, would sometimes finish his letters with these words: “A most miserable sinner, John Bradford.” Good old Mr. Grimshaw’s last words, when he lay on his deathbed, were these: “Here goes an unprofitable servant.”

11. A holy man will follow after faithfulness in all the duties and relations in life. He will try, not merely to fill his place as well as others who take no thought for their souls, but even better, because he has higher motives and more help than they. Those words of Paul should never be forgotten: “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord”: “Not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord” (Col. 3:23; Rom. 12:11). Holy persons should aim at doing everything well and should be ashamed of allowing themselves to do anything ill if they can help it. Like Daniel, they should seek to give no “occasion” against themselves, except concerning the law of their God (Dan. 6:5). They should strive to be good husbands and good wives, good parents and good children, good masters and good servants, good neighbors, good friends, good subjects, good in private and good in public, good in the place of business and good by their firesides. Holiness is worth little indeed if it does not bear this kind of fruit. The Lord Jesus puts a searching question to His people when He says, “What do you more than others?” (Matt. 5:47).

12. Last, but not least, a holy man will follow after spiritual–mindedness. He will endeavor to set his affections entirely on things above and to hold things on earth with a very loose hand. He will not neglect the business of the life that now is; but the first place in his mind and thoughts will be given to the life to come. He will aim to live like one whose treasure is in heaven and to pass through this world like a stranger and pilgrim traveling to his home. To commune with God in prayer, in the Bible, and in the assembly of His people—these things will be the holy man’s chief enjoyments. He will value everything and place and company, just in proportion as it draws him nearer to God. He will enter into something of David’s feeling, when he says, “My soul follows hard after You”; “You are my portion” (Ps. 63:8; 119:57).

Conclusion: ‘Do you want to attain holiness? Do you feel this day a real hearty desire to be holy? Would you be a partaker of the divine nature? Then go to Christ. Wait for nothing. Wait for nobody. Linger not. Do not think to make yourself ready. Go and say to Him, in the words of that beautiful hymn’,

“Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to Your cross I cling;
Naked, flee to You for dress;
Helpless, look to You for grace.”

Question: What made Job special?

What is God and His Word calling us to be like?

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