August 2, 2023

August 2, 2023

Author: Pastor Gordon Cook
August 02, 2023

“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

1 Peter 1:13-16

In the Sunday school hour, we've been going through a book by Jerry Bridges, Trusting God, it's a wonderful book, our men have been doing an excellent job. If you haven't listened to those messages, I would encourage you to download them. The big stress is upon the sovereignty of God.

Pastors are often asked by other people, “If you could recommend 5-10 books to read, what books would you recommend and do you have a favorite list of 10 books?” And I don't, but I think there's maybe 3 or 4 books that I would put up there. One is certainly by Dr. Packer that we've gone through in the Sunday school hour, Knowing God. And I put Jerry Bridges’ book Trusting God right up in the top 5 of my best book list. There's another book by Jerry Bridges, in fact it probably had the most significant influence upon me when I was just graduated from Bible college. I was attending a university and I had picked up this book by Jerry Bridges and it is titled The Pursuit of Holiness. I think it was my first time I got introduced to John Owen and the whole matter of mortification of sin. He has a chapter on the holiness of God and he has a chapter on the holiness of Christ. But the main drift of the book is Pursuit of Holiness, pursuing holiness and dealing with our own personal battles with remaining sin.

When you and I think of holiness we should be thinking of God, we should be thinking of Christ, we should be thinking of ourselves, but we should also be thinking of the cross. This past Sunday we focused upon the centrality and the efficacy of the cross and I mentioned four victories or four triumphs of the cross. Remember what they were: reconciliation, he has brought us back to God; propitiation, he has propitiated, he absorbed the wrath of God; justification, our forgiveness, our status, our acceptance is based upon or secured by Christ's work on the cross; and then redemption, he has set us free from the tyranny of sin and the devil.

But I didn't mention this, he died for our sanctification. Jesus died for our holiness, he died to make us holy. There's several texts of scripture that we could use to prove that. I think Romans 6 would be a great place to go in terms of what we call definitive sanctification or positional holiness. Remember what Paul says in that chapter, “Sin will no longer have dominion over you,” and then he talks about how we died with Christ, and we were risen by Christ’s resurrection. So we died with him and we rose with him. But that is dealing with sanctification, our definitive break with sin is because of what Christ accomplished on the cross.

There's more to that in terms of the cross. Because of the cross we not only are positionally holy, but we are progressively holy. Text of scripture, Hebrews 10:14, “For by a single offering He has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.” It's being sanctified, it’s an ongoing process. We're not perfectly sanctified, we are definitively sanctified, but we are being sanctified, progressively, growing in holiness. So Jesus died to make us positionally holy, definitively holy, the radical break with sin, progressively holy. We are constantly growing in holiness because he died to make us holy.

But then there's the third thing, ultimate holiness, complete final holiness and the text of scripture is Colossians 1:22. Listen to what Paul says here, “He has reconciled you in his body of flesh by his death in order (for this purpose), to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him.” He's thinking of that final day when we will stand before God and be perfectly holy. So when we think of the cross we need to think of redemption, we need to think of propitiation, but we also need to be thinking of our sanctification, he died to make us holy. That's something we should pray for whenever we sit under gospel preaching, whenever we read our Bibles, whenever we get looking at the cross again, “God make me holy.” As Peter says, “Holy in all manner of life and all my relationships, in all my activities, whether I'm at home, at school, at church,” and I think Jesus had that in mind as well when he talked in that prayer of prayers, “Thy kingdom come.” He was talking about holiness there when God's rule and reign becomes more extensive. God is progressive, we are becoming more like Jesus, progressively holy, he's ruling more and more in our lives. So we can never ever stop praying that prayer because we are never perfectly holy, at least not in this present life. But let's remember that when we think of the cross.