Holiness simply stated is defined as having the inner strength to be set apart for service unto God. Many profess to being set apart for service unto God, but rarely do they demonstrate the will to abide by the true tenets of its calling. For those separated to God that much has been recorded about their non-yielding stance that has often led to death for many. Therefore, the stakes may be very high, and one must seriously consider if he is willing in advance, to follow the Savior. It could mean certain physical death or giving in to compromise of some sort when faced this ultimate decision.
The legacy left behind by many who have bravely faced such crossroads does not of its self, make our resolve to remain holy any easier, however the commonality of desire is what the Holy Spirit uses to enable that soul in time of need. David tells us in that powerful passage of (Psalm 37:31 NKJV) "The law of his God is in his heart; none of his steps shall slide." What a tremendous statement attributed to one grounded in faith and guided by the Word of God.
Dietrich Bonhoeffer is another example of one committed to holiness in separation for service unto Christ. Born in Breslau, Germany, (now Wroclaw, Poland) into a middle class professional family, he decided at an early age to become a minister of the gospel. He was successful in his quest to earn a doctorate in theology from the University of Berlin, was ordain and eventually ended up back in Germany in 1931 after spending one year studying in New York, City. His strong beliefs ultimately drove him to band together with Martin Niemoller, Karl Barth and others, in setting up the Confessing Church. Bonhoeffer also served as pastor of five German-speaking protestant churches in London between late 1933 and 1935. After returning to Germany once more, he headed an illegal seminary for Confessing Church pastors until the Gestapo closed it down in 1937. They also banned Bonhoeffer from preaching, teaching, and all public speaking. He was arrested in April 1943 and charged with conspiracy after years of active opposition to the Nazi government in Germany. Bonhoeffer, along with several others, was executed by hanging just three weeks before the liberation of Berlin. The quote from one of his more widely read books, The Cost of Discipleship (1937), tells much about his inner strength. "When Christ calls a man, he bids him come and die."
It is not a light thing to strive for holiness moreover; it is one calling children of light to keep our heart and mind on the objective.
Peter tells us "As obedient children not fashioning yourselves according to the former lust in your ignorance. But to he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy. And if ye call on the father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear: forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your father; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamp without spot." (I Pet. 1: 14-19 NKJV)
This call for holiness is not optional though our lives often reflect that attitude.
When confronted by the scribes and Pharisees about eating with publicans and sinners "And Jesus said unto them, Can the children of the bride chamber fast, while the bridegroom is with them? As long as they have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast, But the days will come when the bridegroom shall be taken away from them, and then shall they fast in those days." (Mark 2: 19-20 NKJV)
A clear indication of what is expected from one who would remain in a state of holiness, fasting and prayer.
Author: Findlay City Mission
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