Spiritual Success or Distress?
Quarter 3, Lesson 7

Lesson Seven

Surrendering to Holiness

Text: 1 Peter 1:13-21

A man wants to buy some sports equipment that he cannot afford. Each month he sets aside some money to be used for that purchase. He refuses to use any of that money for any other purpose. A woman wants to buy some new living room furniture that she finds especially attractive. The budget will not permit the purchase. Monthly she sets aside some money to be used to purchase the furniture. She refuses to use any of that money for any other purpose.

If you understand dedicating something to a chosen purpose, you understand the concept of holy. The process of making a person holy is called sanctification. A Christian is holy because God used Jesus Christ to sanctify him or her. God's sanctification set the person apart from sin for exclusive use in God's purposes (Titus 2:11-14). The Christian was forgiven [made holy] in order that he or she could live exclusively for God. He or she surrenders self to God's standards, to God's use, to God's purposes, to godly purity, and to godly behavior and relationships.

God's holiness and a Christian's holiness differ. Holiness is a part of God's divine nature. God did not become holy; God is holy. God is holy because He is absolutely, completely free from evil. What does that mean? In every sense, God is the opposite of evil. God is exclusively pure. Evil is God's enemy, an enemy that repulses Him. He has no desire to embrace evil. He is beyond temptation, and He never uses evil (James 1:13). God is holy because He is sinless.

A Christian is holy because he or she is cleansed. Jesus' atoning blood destroyed the person's sins through forgiveness (Ephesians 1:7). Divine forgiveness destroys human sin. Every person who lives in Jesus Christ is holy because he or she exists in God's forgiveness. The Christian is holy only because he or she is forgiven. The Christian is never holy because he or she has not sinned. While God always has been, is, and will be holy, the Christian is holy only because he or she is made holy through God's forgiveness.

Holiness is both a state of existence and a commitment to action. It is evidenced in the absence of evil behavior. It also is evidenced in the Christian's godly actions. A Christian does not demonstrate holiness by doing nothing. Resisting evil acts proves little if the person also rejects godly behavior. A Christian does not demonstrate holiness by godly acts. Performing godly deeds proves little if the person condones ungodly behavior. The Christian who performs godly deeds while refusing to resist evil behavior misunderstands holiness. Human holiness is demonstrated by combining the two: resisting evil and serving good.

Read 1 Peter 1:13-21.

First note that a commitment to holiness involves preparation for mental action, sober decision, human hope, God's grace, and the anticipated return of Jesus Christ.

  1. What were they to do with their minds (verse 13)? What did that mean in that day?

  2. They were to maintain soberness in their commitment (verse 13). What did that mean?

  3. On what were they to fix their hope (verse 13)? When were they to see grace in its completeness?

  4. What kind of children were they to be to God (verse 14)?

  5. To what would they not yield themselves (verse 14)?

  6. Who called them (verse 15)? What impact was His identity to have on them?

  7. What was written (verse 16)? [Remember the Jewish scriptures that we call the Old Testament was the scripture of the first century church. Read Leviticus 11:44,45. The fact that God freed Israel from Egyptian slavery created their motivation to surrender to holiness. The fact that God freed us from evil's slavery creates our motivation to surrender to holiness.]

  8. If we dare call God _________ we should live our earthly lives in the fear of profound reverence (verse 17).

  9. What motivates us to behave in the fear of reverence (verse 17)?

  10. The Christian understands that Satan's ransom was not paid with what (verse 18)?

  11. What was the ransom price for Christians' freedom (verse 19)?

  12. What is the meaning of verse 20?

  13. Why was it possible for them to believe in God (verse 21)?

  14. What two things did God do for Jesus (verse 21)?

  15. What did that do to our faith and hope (verse 21)?

No one is holy by accident. It is not convenient for anyone to be holy. It is not easy for anyone to be holy. Holiness demands that the person resist evil as well as serve godliness. Resisting the evil within our minds and hearts is difficult. He or she who resists the evil within self must (1) identify the evil, (2) honestly label evil as evil, (3) understand what he or she does to encourage the evil, and (4) refuse to justify the evil. Resisting evil in our hearts, minds, actions, behavior, and relationships requires deliberate decisions and choices that reject evil. Serving good requires a similar identification process and similar deliberate decisions and choices. Allowing God to reveal and identify good is a challenge that continues throughout life in this world.

That is difficult! That is costly! That runs counter to our emotions and desires! That requires complicated decisions! That requires undesirable choices! That requires changes in how a person lives! That requires changes in associations and involvement!

To be holy, a person must surrender to holiness. He or she surrenders to holiness because (1) he or she belongs to a holy God; (2) he or she serves a sinless Jesus; (3) he or she values God's grace, Jesus' redemption, and the peace and joy of reconciliation to God; (4) he or she wants to be ruled by God and serve Jesus; (5) he or she rejoices in the freedom created by God's grace and Jesus' forgiveness; and (6) he or she wants God's Spirit to live in his or her life without opposition.

Surrendering to holiness is a sobering matter. He or she surrenders in the awareness this is a surrender to God as the person makes a positive commitment to an eternal destiny. The Christian never forgets what human holiness cost God. God's cost will always exceed our cost.

Link to Teacher's Guide Quarter 3, Lesson 7

Copyright © 2000
David Chadwell & West-Ark Church of Christ

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