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Part of series, “What Is Holiness?—Volume 1”
Our proclamation tonight is taken from Isaiah chapter 57 verse 15 and 66 verse 2.
Thus says the High and Lofty One
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy:
“I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
To revive the spirit of the humble,
And to revive the heart of the contrite ones.
This is the one I esteem,
He who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at My word.
Now I just have to mention two pieces of material that are available from our ministry which I think could be of significant help to those of you who are pastoring a flock. The first is called Self Study Bible Courseand I think it was first born about 1959 as a Bible Correspondence Course in East Africa. But ultimately it became a self-study Bible course. And there’s instructions, there’s direction to passages of Scripture, there are questions and there are guides to where to find the answer. But you have to fill in the answer for yourself. So it obligates people to search the Bible for themselves. There also is a coordinated system of memorizing. I was speaking about how important it is to have the Scripture in our hearts and minds, and this is one very practical way. Once you give people a taste for Scripture memorization, many of them will go on doing it automatically.
And then the second one is kind of a more advanced study called In Search of Truth. The by-line is a step by step guide to security and personal fulfillment. The history of this is that we decided that we would produce the Self Study Bible Coursein Hebrew for the Jewish people. But when I began to look at it I realized that there’s a difference. It became so real to me that Paul says; “There’s a gospel of the circumcision and a gospel of the uncircumcision.” The message is the same, but the approach is different. You can’t approach Jewish people who’ve had a history with Abraham and Moses and David and all their literature just as if they didn’t know anything about God. So with a friend of mine who’s a Messianic Jewish pastor, we worked on the first five chapters to introduce by way of Abraham and Moses. And my friend said to me afterwards, after he had worked this through, he said, “After I’ve worked on those five chapters, there is no way I could ever doubt that Jesus is the Messiah." So there are those two which are available and we invite you to check on them for yourself.
Now you’ve all been so wonderfully responsive and encouraging that I’m encouraged this evening to embark on an awesome question: What is holiness? I’m amazed at my chutzpa. Do you know what chutzpais? No you don’t. What is chutzpa? There’s no way to tell you what chutzpais. But my nerve, to use an American slang phrase, or my audacity, or my presumption, to even approach this question. But I felt that I was prompted by God. The Hebrew language is a very interesting language. It’s interesting because it’s entirely built on words of three letters. All the roots in Hebrew are three letters. And it’s like God is saying, “I’m a triune God and this is where it begins.” I mean, everything about Hebrew speaks about God. The word for holyin Hebrew is Kadosh. There’s a chorus that a lot of people sin today, Kadosh, Kadosh, Kadoshwhich has the three letters - ____which is the Qsound, _____which is the Dsound and _____which is the SHsound. Let me comment on this strange fact that I don’t know all the historical reasons, but the Old Testament Scriptures came to us by way of a Greek culture. And Greek is a totally unsuitable language to present Hebrew in because Greek has no shsound. So the who was Jeshua becomes Jesus. You get a totally inadequate picture of what the Hebrew Scriptures say when they’re presented in the light of Greek linguistics and culture.
So the question is then What Is Holiness?First of all let me tell you what it is not. This is very important because I think basically many Christians have an idea that holiness is a set of rules about where you may go and what you may eat, how you may dress. And that has nothing to do with holiness. And Paul is very emphatic about that. In Colossians chapter 2 verse 20 and following,
Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulation—
“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle.” [That’s the religious version of holiness, subjecting yourself to regulations. And then he goes on,]
which all concern things which perish with the using—and it’s according to the commandments and doctrines of men?
These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no use against the indulgence of the flesh.
And this is so profoundly true. The more you focus on the things you must not do, the more power they have over you. You must not lose your temper, you must not lose your temper, you must not lose your temper. What is the next thing you do? You lose your temper because you are focusing on the wrong thing.
Now this traditionally, at least in Britain and America, has been for many people the picture of what holiness is. It turns people off. If that’s holiness, I don’t want to have anything to do with it.
Now let me prove to you that is not the holiness which the Bible speaks about because in Hebrews chapter 12 and verse 10, speaking about the discipline that God as a Father deals with His children, it says,
For they [our human fathers] indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but God for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
Obviously that has got nothing to do with a set of rules. God isn’t holy because He has a set of rules up in front of Him which He checks His own conduct with. It has nothing to do with Biblical or divine holiness.
Now I’m just suggesting—for a moment you can consider this—that holiness is the essence of what God is, and what only God is. No one and nothing else is holy. And everything about God is holy. So in order to have any kind of understanding of holiness we have to have an understanding of God: who He is and what He’s like. So I’m going to give you a list. It works out there are seven things which satisfies me. I’m sure I’m on the right foot. Of the, what we call the attributes of God or things that the Bible says God is, and I believe holiness is the summation of all God’s attributes. It cannot be explained, it cannot be defined, it can only be revealed. There is no other way by which we can come to understand holiness except by direct revelation from God.
Theses are the things. First of all, God is light. 1 John 1 verse 5, John says,
This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that God is light and in Him is no darkens at all.
So God is light. Not merely that He created light or sends light forth, but He Himself is light. And then a little further on in the same epistle, the first epistle of John chapter 4 and verse 8 and verse 16.
He who does not does not know God, for God is love.
[And verse 16,] And we have known and believed the love that God has for us, God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God and God in him.
So God is both light and love. Now John Wesley’s suggested definition of holiness was perfect love, which is a wonderful thought but I don’t believe it’s adequate as a definition. And then there is this, as it were, this tension between light and love. Light scares you, love draws you. I think there is this tension in our relationship with God. We want to come close to Him, but we cannot face the light.
Then God is a God of justice and judgment. This is absolutely part of His nature. In the Song of Moses, Deuteronomy 32, Moses starts by emphasizing this. Moses says in Deuteronomy 32 verses 3 and 4,
For I proclaim the name of the LORD:
Ascribe greatness to our God.
He is the Rock, His work is perfect;
For all His ways are justice,
A God of truth and without injustice;
Righteous and upright is He.
Many, many people accuse God of injustice sometimes in our own situation or circumstances. But the Bible says, “There is no injustice in God.” He is totally just. He is a God of truth. And then I like to quote also the words of Abraham in Genesis 18, when he was pleading with the Lord about Sodom. Genesis 18 verse 25. Abraham is speaking to the Lord and he says,
“Far be it from You to do such a thing as this, to slay the righteous with the wicked, so that the righteous should be as the wicked; far be it from You! Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”
And that is who God is. He’s the judge of all the earth and He always does right. There is no injustice, no iniquity with Him. We’re often tempted to believe He’s unjust, but the Scripture affirms emphatically that is not true.
Then I think something that contemporary Christianity hardly makes room for but is very important, God is a God of anger and wrath. Nahum chapter 1 is really a remarkable presentation of this. Nahum chapter 1 just begins in a very abrupt way. There’s no sort of nice introduction. It says, Nahum chapter 1 verse 2,
God is jealous, and the LORD avenges;
The LORD avenges and is furious.
The LORD will take vengeance on His adversaries,
And He reserves wrath for His enemies;
So, there we are. The Lord is angry, He’s furious, He avenges Himself. It’s part of His divine eternal nature. And if we leave that part out we are not presenting a true picture of God. Today the contemporary attitude is, “Well if God should judge at least He has to get our approval before He does it.” It’s not so. Those who think that way are going to get a rude shock, but it will be too late.
In Revelation 14 verses 9 and following. This is the judgment on the antichrist; verses 9-12.
Then a third angel followed, saying with a loud voice, “If anyone worships the beast and his image, and receives his mark on his forehead or on his hand,
“he himself shall also drink of the wine of the wrath of God, which is poured out full strength into the cup of his indignation. He shall be tormented with fire and brimstone in the presence of the holy angels and in the presence of the Lamb.
“And the smoke of their torment ascends forever and ever; and they have no rest day or night, who worship the beast and his image, and whoever receives the mark of his name.”
And notice they shall be tormented in the presence of the Lamb. This does not fit the contemporary picture of gentle Jesus meek and mild. But it’s part of His divine eternal character. He is a judge. I think about the Apostle John. At the Last Supper he reclined with his head on the chest of Jesus and whispered in His ear, he came so close. But in Revelation chapter 1 when he had a vision of Jesus as the Judge he fell at His feel like one dead. You see there’s many, many sides to the character and personality of God and of Jesus. And judgment and wrath are a part of His eternal nature. And the judgment that He administers is eternal. “They shall be tormented forever and ever.”
There is a theory current that God is too merciful ever to impose eternal punishment on anybody. So if people don’t get reconciled with God ultimately they will be annihilated. That’s not Scriptural. That’s untrue. And furthermore, it’s very dangerous. I would never entertain such a thought, because in the end of the book of Revelation, right near the end in the last chapter, the last two verses but two, the Lord is speaking and he says,
I testify to everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: If anyone adds to these things, God will add to him the plagues that are written in this book;
and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part from the Book of Life, from the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.
And if anything is clearly written in this book of Revelation, it is that there is eternal judgment. So I don’t want to take that away. I don’t want my name to be taken away from the Book of Life. It’s a very important issue for us today. Humanism is so self-righteous, so, I would say sloppy. It doesn’t present an accurate picture of the way things are. In fact, this is just a comment by the way, but we are reaching a stage in society when society is much kinder to the criminal than to the victim. Why? We don’t want to be judgmental. Why don’t we want to be judgmental? My opinion is, secretly in our hearts we know if there’s judgment for him then there’s judgment for me. So I don’t want it on him, I’ll arrange it otherwise. But God doesn’t play that game.
Then another of the great attributes of God is mercy and lovingkindness. The word that’s translated lovingkindnessis not translated the same, I think it says steadfast loveif I’m not mistaken. The Hebrew word hesed. Studying it I came to the conclusion that what it really means is the covenant-keeping faithfulness of God.It’s God’s faithfulness to His covenant and that’s one of His great attributes. In Psalm 51 verse 1, this is a prayer of David, as you know, in a time of deep distress when his soul was hanging in the balance. Thank God he knew to whom to pray and on what basis to pray. It’s this prayer of repentance after his sin with Bathsheba and Uriah had been uncovered. He says,
Have mercy upon me, O God,
According to Your lovingkindness;
According to the multitude of Your tender mercies,
Blot out my transgressions.
“According to Your lovingkindness” is your covenant-keeping faithfulness. You’ve committed yourself to forgive if I meet the conditions. I’m appealing to you on that basis. How important it is to be able to approach God on that basis. It occurs in various other Psalms. For instance 106 the 1stverse.
Praise the LORD!
Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good!
For his mercy [His lovingkindness, His faithfulness to His covenant] endures forever.
And in Psalm 107 I think it occurs six or seven times. So that is another aspect of God’s eternal nature, His mercy. The writer of Hebrews says,
Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy in time of need and grace to help.
So the first thing we need is mercy but then we need grace. And let’s see what the Bible says about grace. One thing about grace is that it cannot be earned. If you can earn it it isn’t grace. So religious people have a real problem because they think they’ve got to earn everything. Consequently they tend to turn down the grace of God. If it is of grace, it is not of works. Paul said, “If it is works, it is not of grace.” There are two things there in that passage you can’t earn. You can’t earn mercy and you can’t earn grace. The writer of Hebrews says, “Let us come boldly to the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.” We need mercy for the past and grace for the future. Because it’s only by God’s grace that we can become the kind of people and live the kind of life that he requires of us. So God is a God of grace.
And finally in this little list, He is a God of power. The whole Bible is full of the records of His power. Let’s look at Psalm 93. Psalm 93.
The LORD reigns,
He is clothed with majesty;
The LORD is clothed,
He has girded Himself with strength.
Surely the world is established, so that if cannot be moved.
Your throne is established from of old;
You are from everlasting.
The floods have listed up, O LORD,
The floods have lifted up their voice;
The floods lift up their waves.
The LORD on high is mightier
Than the noise of many waters,
Than the mighty waves of the sea.
Of course there are countless other passages that depict the power of God. Let me just recapitulate the seven, I would say, aspects of God’s eternal nature. Number 1, light. Number 2, love. Number 3, justice and judgment. Number 4, anger and wrath. Number 5, mercy, lovingkindness, covenant-keeping faithfulness. Number 6, grace. Number 7, power. And I believe God’s holiness is all of that. It’s the total being of God. It’s the only word that’s used three times of God both in the Old Testament and in the New. In Isaiah chapter 6, the seraphim cry,
“Holy, Holy, Holy, is the LORD of host.”
And in Revelation chapter 4 the living creatures and the elders fall down and cry,
“Holy, Holy, Holy.”
I think there’s a significance in the three-fold repetition. I think Holy is the Father; Holy is the Son’ Holy is the Spirit. And no one else is holy. God is unique in His holiness. And we can only understand or become partakers of holiness in so far as we relate to God.
Now, Ruth and I have recently been reading the Book of Job together which is always an experience. And as we finished I said to Ruth, “No one can explain God.” I mean, It’s very important to understand that. It is impossible to explain God. He is unexplainable. And He is totally sovereign. My definition of sovereignty is this, He does what He wants, when He wants, and asks no one’s permission. Again, contemporary culture has the attitude, “Well, if God is going to do something He needs my permission.” They will experience a rude awakening.
Now as I was meditating on Job I considered the amazing way that God dealt with Job. I mean, in a sense He handed him over to Satan and said, “You can go so far Satan, but no further.” And the amazing thing is he was the most righteous man in his generation. So what was it that God was after with Job? Let’s look at just a few simple statements. First of all Job consistently maintained his own righteousness. Job 23, in the midst of all his pressures and his troubles, he said in verses 10 through 12,
But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold. [I think that’s a marvelous statement.]
My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food.
Now all of Job’s so-called friends tried to convince him he’d done something wrong. He really deserved what was coming upon him. Job emphatically and totally rejected that. And then God Himself bore testimony to Job’s righteousness. That’s even more amazing. Job chapter 1 verse 1,
There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job and this man was blameless and upright, and one who feared God and shunned evil. [And further on in verse 8,]
Then the LORD said to Satan,
I mean this is an amazing thing. First of all that Satan had access to the presence of the Lord. But I have reconciled myself to that fact. He does at times. And then the Lord pointed Job out to Satan. He said, “Have you ever met a man like this, Satan?”
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil?”
And of course Satan had a nasty thrust. He said, “Well, look what he gets for it. You take care of him in every way. You provide for everything.” So the Lord said, “Well, you can take it all away, but don’t touch him.” And the devil came back in chapter 2 verse 2,
The LORD said to Satan, “From where do you come?” So Satan answered the LORD and said, “From going to and fro on the earth, and from walking back and forth on it.”
Then the LORD said to Satan, “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, one who fears God and shuns evil? And still he holds fast to his integrity, although you incited Me against him, to destroy him without cause.” [It’s most remarkable.]
So Satan answered the LORD and said, “Skin for skin! Yes, all that a man has he will give for his life.
But stretch out Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh and he will surely curse You to Your fact!”
And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, he is in your hand, but spare his life.”
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of His had.
Incidentally that’s very clear evidence that Satan can be the cause of sickness. I’m not saying he’s the only or always the cause of sickness, but he is one cause of sickness. In spite of all that, at the end of it all when Satan had been allowed to do everything except take Job’s life, this is the Lord’s own testimony about Job. Job 42:7-8.
And so it was, after the LORD had spoken those words to Job, that the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, “My wrath is aroused against you and your two friends, for you have not spoken of Me what is right, as my servant Job has.
Now therefore, take for yourselves seven bulls and seven rams, go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you. For I will accept him, lest I deal with you according to your folly...”
So at the end of it all, the Lord still said Job was perfectly righteous. “You religious hypocrites with all your religious talk about God never bringing trouble on anybody, you need to repent.” But Job, God did not demand repentance of him. But listen to what Job himself says after he had had a personal revelation of God. In Job chapter 42 beginning at verse 4.
“Listen, please, and let me speak;
You said, ‘I will question you, and you shall answer Me,’
“I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear,
But now my eye sees You.
Therefore I abhor myself,
And repent in dust and ashes.”
So there was a man who was righteous on every testimony, but when he came into the presence of the Lord he said, “I abhor myself.” What had he encountered? I believe he had seen something of the Lord’s holiness. And by contrast with His righteousness, he had to repent. He had to humble himself. And that I believe was the purpose of God in all His dealings with Job. He was moving to bring Job to the place where He could confront Job with a revelation of Himself. To me that makes the book meaningful. It also means, to me it means it makes life meaningful because we go through a lot of difficult experiences. Many times we don’t understand them, but I believe God is using them all to bring us to a place where we will know Him better and be better qualified to serve Him.
And Job, I think Job is probably the earliest book historically in the Bible. So the Bible starts out with this conundrum, why does a man like Job have to suffer in spite of all his righteousness, acknowledged by everybody accept his critics? They are so typical really of religious people. I don’t want to spend time on them.
Now I believe this has an application possibly to each one of here. There are things that happen in our lives which we cannot understand. “Lord, why? Why did you take my wife? Why did my wife leave me? Why have my children turned out such a disappointment?” There are many such issues that we have with God. And we go through a suffering. Paul and Barnabas told the Christians, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” Any road that bypasses the tribulations doesn’t lead to the kingdom of God. I’m glad you’re with me. It would be awful to have you on the front row in an _______________________.
I don’t really like pointing out other people’s faults. I’m not interested in doing that, but this version of the gospel that says everything you’re going to prosper all your life is all right. It’s true. But they don’t define prosperity the right way. That’s the problem. Prosperity is not driving a Mercedes and having a swimming pool in your back yard. Prosperity is successfully fulfilling the purpose of God. The two people I think of, Joshua. God said to him, “Then you shall make way prosperous, then you shall have good success.” Joshua did not enter the Promised Land like some of us on a tour in an air-conditioned bus. He was a soldier. He marched. He spent nights in the open air. His life was in danger. But his way was prosperous because he achieved the task God assigned to him. That is prosperity. Prosperity is successfully accomplishing what God has assigned to you to do. And usually there is a lot of opposition, and difficulty, and danger. And that’s not going to cease. If anything, it’s going to increase. The world is not getting a nicer place. It’s getting nastier and nastier day by day.
The other person who really amuses me is the Apostle Paul because in Romans chapter 1 he announced that he was praying that he might have a prosperous journey by the will of God to Rome. So he traveled in a luxury liner first class. No, he was a prisoner in chains. Not only that, but the ship he was traveling on was in the most amazing storm. For two weeks they neither saw the sun nor the stars. They thought—they gave up all hope. Eventually they were landed on the shore of Malta just outcasts. I mean nothing but the clothes they were in if they were in any. That wasn’t the end because right there he was bitten by a poisonous snake. You call that a prosperous journey? Yes, by God’s standards. Because everything Paul went through was necessary to equip him for what he was going to do when he got to Rome.
This is my opinion that God arranged everything that happened in the book to bring Job to the place where he could have a fact to face revelation of God. That was thesupreme objective. Now let’s think what God expended to do that for one man. Turn to Job chapter 1. You’ll find out what Job had when he started and he lost if all. Job 1:3,
Also, his possessions were seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and a very large household...
And all of that just went. Not only the animals, but the servants who were looking after them. That was part of God’s dealings with Job. So Job 1:14-15 says,
a messenger came to Job and said, “The oxen were plowing and the donkeys feeding beside them
“when the Sabeans raided them and took them away—indeed they have killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped.”
So all five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred female donkeys went, plus all the servants looking after them. They all perished. And then in verse 16,
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “The fire of God fell from heaven and burned up the sheep and the servants, and consumed them; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
So seven thousand sheep perished. And incidentally the fire of God was at the command of Satan. That’s remarkable. It doesn’t mean God sent it. It means that’s what they call the fire of God. So, I mean Satan has got a lot more resources than most of us understand. He was in control. Only one servant survived. In Job 1 verse 17,
While he was thus speaking, another also came and said, “the Chaldeans formed three bands, raided the camels and took them away, yes, and killed the servants with the edge of the sword; and I alone have escaped to tell you?”
So eight thousand, three thousand camels perished and all the servants but one. And then in Job 1 verses 18-19,
While he was still speaking, another also came and said, “Your sons and daughters were eating and drinking wine in their oldest brothers house, and suddenly a great wind came from across the wilderness and struck the four corners of the house, and it fell on the young people—and they are dead; and I alone have escaped to tell you!”
So there Job lost seven sons and three daughters. I always tell people if the wind strikes all four corners of a house at one time you can know Satan is behind it. And we need to take note of the fact that Satan could do these things if God released him. Furthermore in Job 2 verse 7,
Then Satan went out from the presence of the LORD, and struck Job with painful boils from the sole of his foot to the crown of his head.
So you make a little summation of what was sacrificed in order for God to get His way with Job. Five hundred oxen, five hundred female donkeys, and the servants that looked after them, seven thousand sheep and only one servant was preserved, three thousand camels and only one servant, and then all Job’s children, seven sons and three daughters. All with the permission of the Lord. I mean, I have asked myself many, many times what was God after. And as I understand, He was after revealing Himself to Job and preparing Job for the revelation.
And that really shows me that God estimates things differently, because one man was so important to God that He was willing to sacrifice all those things. And God is never unjust. He’s never unrighteous. But He has an aim, a purpose. And I want to say this because I think it could apply in a lesser measure to some of you here. You might wonder, “Well, why has this happened? Why have I had to go through these things? Why did God let this happen? And other people don’t seem to have the same problems that I have.” Nobody here ever felt like that, I’m sure. I think in many cases the reason is the same reason for Job. You have experienced nothing on the order of what Job experienced. But never the less God has permitted you to go through all sorts of trials and things you didn’t welcome, and things that seemed hard and difficult to understand, because He wants to bring you to the place where He can reveal Himself to you.
As I’ve studied the Bible I’ve come to the conclusion that is the highest that God has to offer. It’s the revelation of Himself. And we have to be prepared for that revelation. A lot of things have to be adjusted in us. Our priorities may have to change before we can receive the revelation. And what is the revelation? It’s His holiness. You see there was Job a perfectly righteous man by human standards. When he had a revelation of the Lord he said, “I repent in dust and ashes. I abhor myself.” That’s the difference between God’s holiness and the best he can do. That’s why holiness is not a set of good works. Holiness is the impartation of God in whatever measure we can receive it.
I want to point out one thing to you. Well we’ll read it in Job 42 verse 12, Job 42:12.
Now the LORD blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning; for he had [double the number of sheep] fourteen thousand sheep, [double the number of camels] six thousand camels, [double the number of yoke of oxen] one thousand, [double the number of female donkeys]...
Everything was doubled except one thing, his children. He only got back the same number he had before. This is a wonderful thought. I remember when a dear friend of ours suddenly lost his eldest daughter in a boating accident. And God spoke to him and said, “You haven’t lost her. She’s gone ahead.” And Job had not lost his sons and daughters. He didn’t need double. He got double when he got the same number. You could have said, “Well, Job wasted a lot of energy on all his intercessions for his family. They were all wiped out in one accident." But they weren’t wiped out. This is so important for many of us to realize. We haven’t lost them if they were in Christ. They’ve gone ahead of us. And if we keep the faith, we’ll end up where they are. I say if we keep the faith, because personally—this is maybe controversial—I don’t take it for granted that I’ll get to heaven. I have to fulfill the conditions until the last moment. But by God’s grace I trust I will and I trust all of you will too. But don’t take it for granted. Don’t become casual of self-righteous.
So that’s in connection with the revelation of holiness. I believe it’s a revelation. It cannot be explained. It cannot be defined. And God can only reveal Himself in that way in the measure in which we are prepared for the revelation. Some of you have been through things which you didn’t understand. Many times you’ve cried out to God, “Why?” I can’t explain why, but it can well be that God was in all of those things, because He wants to bring you to the place where you can have a revelation of His holiness. Amen. Amen.
I think it would be appropriate if we just spent a little time letting God remind us of our past. The things we’ve been through. The disappointments we’ve suffered. And then say to God, “Well, God, what did you have in mind that you allowed those things to happen?” There’s no one here, I would imagine, who hasn’t experienced disappointments in life. I basically, I’ve had a very favored life. I’ve had disappointments, but not many. But I’ve learned to identify with others who had bitter disappointments, and things they couldn’t understand. And I have to tell you; I cannot give you the answer. There’s only one person you can get the answer from and that is the Lord. But if you are willing to believe His absolute righteousness, His unfailing love and mercy, then you can have a different perspective on the things that have troubled you and tormented you, and you can come out like Job, a victor. Amen?