Holiness: Part 1

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84 Responses

  1. Xenia says:

    This is good, very good. Thank you.

  2. Nonnie says:

    Yes, very good. So as I read it I am seeing that a holy man will love his neighbour and love God, with all that is in him. At the same time, I am assuming that when we fall short of this, we will cry out, “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.”

  3. Rob Murphy says:

    I like this. I’ve been really challenged in my study time about Jesus – ‘be holy as (or in the manner of) Jesus – and what Jesus DID, what was His practice in setting His person into such unity with the Father. Sometimes I’ve had a tendency to relegate Jesus’ temptations to 40 days in the wilderness, when in fact I’ve thought lately that perhaps He withdrew from the crowds seemingly in the midst of very good works (feeding, healing, teaching, etc) because He was facing temptation, and His holiness was His utmost priority ( I always do what pleases the Father).
    Each of these points are seen completely lived out by Jesus. That’s really something to think about for me.

  4. Michael says:

    Thank you, Xenia!
    We shall see if we can get some discussion going…

  5. Michael says:

    This quote staggered me in it’s clarity and truth:

    “Without the holiness of God, sin has no meaning and grace has no point, for it is God’s holiness that gives to the one its definition and to the other its greatness. Without the holiness of God, sin is merely human failure but not failure before God, in relation to God. It is failure without the standard by which we know it to have fallen short. It is failure without the presumption of guilt, failure without retribution, failure without any serious moral meaning.

    And without the holiness of God, grace is no longer grace because it does not arise from the dark clouds of judgment that obscured the cross and exacted the damnation of the Son in our place. Furthermore, without holiness, grace loses its meaning as grace, a free gift of the God who, despite his holiness and because of his holiness, has reconciled sinners to himself in the death of his Son.

    And without holiness, faith is but a confidence in the benevolence of life, or perhaps merely confidence in ourselves. Sin, grace, and faith are emptied of any but a passing meaning if they are severed from their roots in the holiness of God.”

    David Wells

  6. Michael says:


    Yes…this isn’t about our justification (in Protestant circles), it’s about what a justified person will aspire to in the power of the Holy Spirit.

  7. J.U. says:

    Michael, You are a great teacher. Thank you for this.

  8. Xenia says:

    If we love God we want to imitate Him. If we don’t want to be like Him (as much as is humanly possible and with His help) then we don’t really love Him, we love ourselves more. Loving ourselves more than we love God is a good definition of sin and of course, we all love ourselves more than we love God. However, the Christian realizes this and tries to overcome it, again, with God’s help. God does all the heavy lifting but He does expect us to do our part, for our own good. I think a good definition of a holy person is one who has come to really love God more than he loves himself. This is very difficult but God knows our frailties. He’s not expecting perfection from us- only One is perfect. He is looking for hearts that want to be like Him and make the effort. Yes, Christianity involves effort.

  9. Michael says:


    Packer, Ryle, and myself will write in agreement with your # 8.
    That’s Part 2.

  10. Michael says:

    Thank you…I’m not a great teacher, but I know where to find them. 🙂

  11. Xenia says:

    Michael, do you think the Protestant doctrine of imputed righteousness can cause some people (obviously not all people) to say things like “I am perfect in Christ, I don’t have to try to live a holy life, I am already holy in God’s eyes.” This doctrine had a very negative effect on me at one disastrous point in my life. Would you say that some people misuse or misunderstand this doctrine or would you say that the doctrine itself is somewhat problematic?

  12. Michael says:


    Historically, all the churches that sprang forth from the Reformation have had to deal with antinomianism at some point and to some degree.
    While I am staunchly Reformed, I will loudly admit that the doctrine has been misunderstood and misused and continues to be to this day.

  13. Nonnie says:

    Well, I certainly don’t believe i am perfect in Christ. I believe that HE is perfect and by His grace, I am His and He can work all things together for good on my behalf. ALL by His grace.

  14. Michael says:

    One of the reasons I chose Ryle and Packer is that they are both staunch believers in the imputed righteousness of Christ…and both believe in holiness and holy living.
    The two doctrines are not enemies…they are complementary.

  15. Super busy, hope to get in here later. Just wanted to say I appreciate the articel!

  16. Michael says:

    Before we go too much further…
    These articles are not meant to smite anyone with a doctrinal hammer.
    I think this is a neglected doctrine and one I need to think more deeply about…but my whole intent is to help others think through these things, not convert anyone to my way of thinking.
    This is where we can shine…we have representatives here from the Reformed camp, the Orthodox camp, the Lutheran camp, and the evangelical camp.
    We can learn from each other and appreciate what each brings to the table.

  17. Xenia says:

    To some degree all Christians have to believe in imputed righteousness because otherwise, we would have to be perfect to obtain heaven and that is impossible. So we all are counting on Christ’s perfection for our salvation, not our own.

    I have heard a lot of teaching to the effect that God looks upon the Christian an no longer sees the individual but sees Christ instead, as if we are all under a big White Blanket that is Christ and underneath that Big White Blanket we can pretty much do what we want.

    To me it always sounded as if God didn’t really love me, poor Xenia, at all and still couldn’t stand to look upon me but could only stand to view the White Blanket. I’m not saying this is a proper interpretation of the doctrine of imputed righteousness but this is how it was most commonly presented to me, back in the day.

    The way it came across to me was: Accept Christ, get under the Blanket, don’t strive for personal holiness because that’s legalism and is catholicky, God sees you as perfect, relax and wait for the Rapture. (Sorry, the last was a cheap shot. I’ll keep it in , though because it was part of the narrative I heard most of my adult life.)

  18. Xenia says:

    Well, I am sending the thread down a rabbit hole, forgive me.

  19. Michael says:


    I think that is the prevailing narrative in much of evangelicalism…and it’s a caricature of the real doctrines involved.

  20. Xenia says:

    My description might have been something of a caricature, too!

  21. Michael says:


    On the contrary, you’re doing exactly what I hope others do…this is meaty stuff.
    Keep at it!

  22. Michael says:

    We have a problem in modern evangelicalism that the Reformers didn’t have.
    We have difficulty seeing how two things that appear to be contradictory can both be true.
    Yes, we are positionally righteous.
    Yes, we must strive to be practically righteous.
    Both are true.
    They are complementary doctrines, not conflicting ones.

  23. Xenia says:

    This is THE issue that caused me to leave the evangelical world for Orthodoxy.

  24. Xenia says:

    If there had been a Mennonite community in the area, I might have joined them instead!

  25. Michael says:


    It’s an important issue…and hopefully we’ll all engage it and come out wiser and holier for the effort!

  26. Nonnie says:

    I think the OT law is teaching us of the holiness of God. I’m guessing most of us understand that we are sorely lacking and we need Jesus and His grace. At the same time, our hearts yearn to be more like Him. Lord have mercy.

  27. Chile says:

    “… hating what He hates,
    loving what He loves, and
    measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word.”

    Though I agree with this, I spent a number of years applying this through the lens of legalism, judgment, and ultimately self-righteousness. I had yet to learn how to understand and apply the rest:

    “… to bear with and forgive 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.”

    “4. A holy man will follow after meekness, patience, gentleness, patience, kind tempers, and 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).”

    I want to do this. Others would be more objective as to whether I am characterized by the above at times, or not. What I do know, is that this list is what I long for in myself and what I want to receive from others. It’s also the list of the most elusive set of characteristics from my perspective and in my sphere.

    I lived through several situations where I was given a no-talk policy to follow. After following it for may years, I finally broke free. But how to speak about evil, that was successfully kept in the dark, in a holy manner … well, that’s very muddy to me. I felt the sermons/discussions on holiness were then hammers of condemnation upon me for not handling things perfectly. It did make me shy away from this very needed subject, simply because the application was missing the context. But as I read this post, I know I long for this in others, and it motivates me to want it for myself, again.

    I think most of us fear that humility will make us doormats. That a focus on “holiness” will unfortunately move us towards a lack of transparency … make liars out of us, if you will. We know that true humility won’t do that, but I suspect many of us have had experience with this result of an honest desire to do right, but missing the mark.

  28. Michael says:


    Well said!

  29. Chile says:

    I can relate to Xenia’s experience of being taught that God cannot stand to even look upon me, but as long as He could only see His blood covering me then it was okay. That thought silently took root in making me feel like Brian oft posts about … that God thought of me a pure scum that had to be covered over so I did not taint Him. It’s a skewed version, and it was subconscious for many years. I think reading Brian helped me to understand that I really did think that.

    For someone who was abandoned by each of my parents, this notion is devastating.

  30. Steve Wright says:

    We have difficulty seeing how two things that appear to be contradictory can both be true.
    A) God does see us in the righteousness of Christ. The blood washes our sin the instant we commit that sin. It is a 24/7 process.

    B) God chastens His children when they sin.

    So in one sense God “sees” our sins, in another sense He does not.

    Both truths are important, both need to be taught – and both are of course taught in the context of Scripture.

  31. Nonnie says:

    Amen to Steve’s 30! I don’t understand it, but I believe it. I am a sinner, I am hopeless and helpless and yet Jesus has done all that needs to be done to make me His and the Father sees the righteousness of Christ, when He looks upon me. And yes, that truth make me want to be like Him. I am so thankful!

  32. Michael says:


    I think we already have learned something from everyone today…that we need to emphasize the fact that it was the love of Christ for the sinner in the first place that caused Him to shed the blood that covers.
    This is profound…and it’s obviously been a miss in some teachings.

  33. Chile says:

    “… to be lowly-minded and humble, even as Christ made Himself of no reputation and humbled Himself.”

    When I think about this concept being taught by Jesus, in word and by example, I have hope. The fact that we are not to be actively creating our public image, or pursuing to be recognized, making a reputation … this is so refreshing!

    It’s also so missing …

    I was clearly encouraged to tout my resume to church leaders in order to be put into a position. I was encouraged to lead my own self-promotion campaign. I was encouraged to force myself to be published (not because I had something to say, but to build my reputation upon which to advance.) I knew better, but then got lost in the fog for awhile. Sometimes life lasts so long -and seasons drag on- that one imagines, as I did, that maybe he is wrong and maybe one really does have to self-promote? However, if humility is part of holiness, then I have my answer once again.

    Lots to chew on here …

  34. Chile says:

    Yes, Michael, it was missing in my understanding, at least. Maybe it was foggy in the minds of those teaching? I don’t know. But it’s certainly good to go over it and call out the misgivings for what they are. To hear again the Jesus loves us … ME … even in my state of sinfulness before I was even a believer in Him is refreshing. Revisiting Faith 101 and finding it -yet again- like water to my soul.

    I could have given the proper answers to others, as we all can. It’s recognizing what we really think in our heart of hearts and then being able to apply the truth we know intellectually to the point that we actually receive it that is so needful.

  35. Xenia says:

    This pursuit of holiness…. I am often told by my former co-religionists that I am “working my way to heaven.”

    But that’s not what it’s like at all. I see it as grower closer to Someone I love and want to love even more. It does not feel like work at all.

  36. Xenia says:

    Typo Queen 🙁

  37. Nonnie says:

    Exactly, Xenia. Note working, just a desire to please the One we love.

  38. Nonnie says:

    Should be NOT (not “note’)

  39. sarahkwolfe says:

    This is so good, Michael. I just finished typing up my notes on the Bible curriculum I am working through with the boys…we just finished Numbers today. We worked through Leviticus in a day, and we talked much about holiness.

    We talked about how God is holy…and how it is so easy to lose sight of that because He has become so familiar to us. Especially here in the South. Zachary and I were at a coffee shop yesterday and there were three conversations going on around us about Jesus…one about church involvement, one about the Reformation and what their church believed in regard to understanding the Reformation, and one about starting home churches for high schoolers throughout the city. God, Jesus…Christian lingo is easy on our lips around here.

    Holiness…whew, that is something so different. Not that it is antithetical, but it is different.

    There is a hush to holiness and less chatter. There is an awe and a reverence rather than a rush to express all our latest findings. Maybe it is that we know holiness is anchored in ancient? I don’t know…but when I think on holiness and on the Holy One…I want to be silent more than I want to spout off.

    There is balance. The familiarity of a Savior we can rush to who will embrace us and who we can know intimately…and yet a God who is so Holy. The result so necessitates humility.

    Love this discussion….

  40. Patrick says:

    I think that if people can embrace the “simul”(simultaneous) part of the Christian life they will find both joy and desire to be holy.

    I get the word simul from the Latin phrase “simul justus et pecator” meaning “at the same time just and sinful”. Or you could say “in Adam” and “in Christ”.

    How this plays out in everyday life is actually very down to Earth, for example, when I sin I am not surprised because even as a Christian I am still sinful, but because I am a Christian I am grieved and brought to repentance and faith in Christ’s promise of forgiveness.

    For those who might struggle with the reality of being 100% saint AND 100% sinner at the same time, they could meditate on how our Lord was 100% and 100% God at the same time.

    The baptized new creation desires and longs to love God and keep His commands while the old man constantly rebels against the idea.

    Lutherans usually take some lumps on the idea of holiness because people caricature us as being “weak on sanctification” while not understanding the “simul” view.

  41. Xenia says:

    There is definitely a balance. If someone thinks they have to live a perfect life- and this sort of mindset will continually add new rules to the regimen- they will go crazy. This sort of life is not pleasing to God anyway because it’s all about the individual’s attempt to (metaphorically) climb Mount Everest barefooted and not about God.

    The other extreme is to say holiness doesn’t matter at all and just enjoy all the evils this world has to offer.

  42. Nonnie says:

    Agree with Xenia’s 41!

  43. crownedone1 says:

    Just remember…not all ‘light’ is genuine…a counterfeit exists:

    “And no marvel, for satan himself masquerades as an angel of ‘light’.” – 2 Cor 11:14

    Nice article though, much scripture to ingest.

  44. Steve Wright says:

    Paul’s pattern in the epistles is to tell us all about our wonderful standing in the grace of God – of all that has been done to us through Christ.

    Then….tell us (in light of these truths) how we should seek to walk worthy of this high calling.

    Ephesians is maybe the clearest example of this style.

  45. Chile said ” that God thought of me a pure scum that had to be covered over so I did not taint Him. It’s a skewed version,”

    I don’t think that the thought is a comment about the “badness” of man, but instead about the “greatness” of Christ.

    It’s like when we say “Mother of God” we are not commenting on Mary but on Jesus.

    Man is that bad – but the same God sent Jesus to make us perfect.

  46. Sarah says:

    I think I could just say “Amen” and leave it at that, but that would be no fun 😉

    For me, discussions on Holiness, while grounded in Scripture and guided by the truth of Scripture, still have more of a tone of “feeling my way”. It is difficult to pinpoint my thoughts, maybe because they change from time to time.

    When I am lazy in my faith, the thought of holiness is uncomfortable and convicting and the focus is on my own holiness. The list above makes me think only of my shortcomings and makes me agitated and anxious. I know that I am failing…I know that I do not live up to the standard and it makes me very aware.

    When I am walking more aware of God, not that I am “doing” more, but I am not being lazy. I am in a state of more awareness of God, of His calling in my life and I am walking with a yearning toward prayer and toward worship and toward seeking Him…then the thought of holiness brings a sense of awareness of the reality of God. The conviction is not on my shortcomings because I am focused on my own abilities…the conviction is on my inability to conjure up something I am not…and the humble awareness of the grace of God as Steve just said. That balance….knowing our high calling, and knowing the standing of grace.

    We have freedom to walk in holiness…and the desire to walk that way, with the foundation of grace. Not the burden of trying to conjure up a fake facade of holiness, with the fear that the unstable foundation will be found out.

  47. My favorite verse that shows the tension in our sanctification here on earth.

    Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13, ESV)

    We work it out. God works in us.

  48. Ascribe to the Lord the glory due his name;
    worship the Lord in the splendor of holiness. (Psalm 29:2, ESV)

  49. This is SO good! Hoping there will be a couple days in between installments as I probably won’t be able to participate much for a while.

    So much more on which I want to read and comment, but I’ll just throw this in real quick re: Michael’s #22 and Steve’s #30. The older I get in the faith and the more I study scripture, the more I realize how much I don’t really know. I’ve come to a point (well, getting there) where I recognize and am comfortable with the “holy tensions” that are contained in God’s Word.

    Am I holy? Yes, I am the righteousness of God through Christ Jesus. Do I need to hate and forsake sin? Yes, because I am not holy. Am I part of the elect of God, predestined to be a part of His Kingdom? Yes. Did I make a conscious choice to accept Christ as my Savior? Yes, in the fall of 1980. Is the Holy Spirit my teacher? Yes. Should I still listen to godly men preach the Word? Yes.

    His ways are not my ways, and I’m learning to be OK with that.

  50. What CK said ^^^^
    I loved the article!

  51. Derek, your #47 and #50, AMEN!

  52. Michael says:

    Leave that discussion over there…
    Thank you.

  53. jlo says:

    That discussion over there is vapid

  54. I don’t get it. If there were a conversation over at Gospel Coalition or Rachel Held etc, especially one that had been linked back here (4 times I may point out) there would be no comments put in moderation as mine is. – and the conversation would be free flowing.

    Also, I would like to point out that my comment launched from what he said here at PP.

  55. Michael says:

    He didn’t say anything, that was a ping back that automatically happens when someone links to the blog.
    I have moderated him here and spared us all that 100 comment thing that he’s posted and now you want to drag us back into that quagmire.
    If I allow comments about that post then it would only be fair to allow him to respond…and then this very fine thread goes straight to hell.

  56. Michael says:

    and, I would add…everyone bitches me out for letting it happen again.

  57. So eliminate his posts above.

  58. Michael says:


    Read slowly…those…aren’t… posts.
    Ignore them if they trouble you.

  59. Michael says:


    I’m ok with the ping backs…then if people want to discuss these issues with you they know where to go.
    No issue with me.

  60. London says:

    Holiness by this guy’s definition sounds like exhausting work and huge pressure.
    Just sayin

  61. Michael says:


    How so?

  62. uriahisaliveandwell says:

    Michael, the topic of Holiness is so important and your sensitivitiy to the Holy Spirit to bring it to our attention is wonderful to behold. I haven’t read through all the comments shared, but overall, each has blessed me and I anticipate the rest will as well. In my observation, among those who profess Christ, holiness is something that is thought of as being unattainable, yet in my thoughts I think how can that be when God has told us to be holy and separated from that which is not. Being of Jewish descent, I cannot help but consider the Old Testament and how God used Moses to bring us out of Egypt: a place of bondage, but also a place that was filled with all kinds of pagan practices, debauchery, and depravity. The Jewish people had been in Egypt over several centuries and in the process, we had taken on a level of depravity that would cause us to totally be destroyed in the desert, saved for those who God spared and to be led by Caleb and Joshua into the promised land. God was merciful to us as a people that He called us the Chosen People. He had a plan and that plan is still being worked out for us and those that used to be referred to as a gentile, but now, because of Jesus, the promised one, who had broken down every wall, the promised land and the Messiah has arrived.

    God brought us into the desert to separate us, to purify us from those things that was of the world (Egypt), and to teach, train, and to organize us into being able to enter into Canaan in order once again live among pagans that He told Joshua not to destroy (for the specific purpose of testing and chastising us)to be a light unto the rest of the world.

    But everyone knows that we kept falling back into the world and making every excuse to do that which we were taught not to do by the laws that God gave us through Moses. That’s not God’s fault. That was ours and we paid dearly for it, as we are also known as the people of exile. We failed to be the light that God wanted us to be in so many ways. Yet there were moments that we did stand as a shining light to the bear a witness to who God was and what His plan and purpose was for all of mankind. Even in our disobedience to Him, He used this as a witness to those that came after us, even to this day, as a teaching tool and a warning those who are also in various types of bondages and for those who have claimed Jesus as their Lord, God, and Savior.

    God told us to be holy as well as He has told those who are born again to be holy. We didn’t have the Holy Spirit within us–only upon us and through those God spoke through. We had the laws and the sacrficial system. But we had no power to do this upon our own. So alot of work and effort went into offering up that which we were instructed to do as the Chosen People of God. God did not condone alot of things, but as in many things, just as in today’s culture, the law was adminstered and intepreted in a way that would reduce the harm that could have been done without it. But when Jesus came he brought to the people a deeper understanding of what the the law was intended to do, not what man made it into to do. Some people see this as a burden and some people refer to this as being a set of moral code to live by and to guage one’s heart upon.

    In my mind as a Christian, I see the ability to be holy even more possible when one has the Holy Spirit to be enable and to empower them. What more, when jesus comes into your hear and you realize the great sacrifice he paid so that you could be free and make good choices and not be compromised by that which is not of God, so much more than those who only had the law to live by and to referance, then I have to refer back to the words of Jesus again which is: it is because we love the sin, more than we love God. With the Holy Spirit, you can understand all of God’s Word and you can learned from the jewish poeple and the world around them as they, too enter into Canaan waiting for the Messiah to come. the Scarlet thread of redemption is weaved throughout the Bible. It is truely is the most loving and greatest love story ever narrated and written. Shalom in Jesus, to all.

    I don’t know if this make sense to anyone, but thought I would share along with the rest of you. Thank you again, Michael. I have been so blessed as a result of this posting and those who have shared.

  63. London says:

    For instance-

    “Holy people should aim at doing everything well and should be ashamed of allowing themselves to do anything poorly, if they can help it”

    Sounds like a prescription for perfectionism and stress to me.

  64. Lutheran says:

    A holy person will also regularly realize that he/she by not keeping his God’s commandments. But instead of stress and despair, he/she counts on the mercy of God in Jesus Christ.

    “Hitting for the cycle”

    What is sanctification? How is it produced? To grow in our Christian faith and life, do we simply go in circles and do the same things over and over again? You got it!

    by Don Matzat

    Think of a baseball diamond. At home plate, put the Law. At first base, the Gospel. At second base, Faith. At third base, Good Works or the Christian Life.

    Now then, when an unbeliever steps up to the plate, the first thing he is hit with is the Law. He becomes aware of his sin before God.

    This drives him to first base where the Gospel confronts him with the Good News of the forgiveness of sins, life, and salvation.

    As he rounds first base, the Holy Spirit produces faith causing him to grasp the Good News and rejoice in his salvation.

    As he rounds second base, faith, being no idle notion, brings the Holy Spirit, and produces good works. His life is changed as he motors to the Good Works of third base.

    In the third base coaching box there are a variety of coaches holding up the “stop” sign.

    “Stop,” they cry. “Come over here and speak in tongues to get really holy.” Others offer the dream of perfect sanctification. Some promote their own evangelical house rules – don’t drink, smoke, dance, or go to movies. Some theologians of the Reformation group are debating the third use of the Law.

    The Apostle Paul is also in the coaches box waving the runner through. “Get to home plate,” he shouts. “Keep going! Don’t stop at third base.”

    So the runner rounds third and heads for home saying to himself, “Wow! I am really a good, holy Christian.”

    As he gets to home plate, he is in for a surprise. He gets nailed by the Law again. This time, though, it is not Romans 1 and 2, but rather Romans 7.

    “So, you think you are really hot stuff,” the Law says to him. “Quite a good Christian, eh? You are merely a wretched man born out of the wretched root of your father Adam.”

    Filled with sorrow and contrition, he wanders back up the first base line declaring, “Almighty God, merciful Father, I a poor, miserable sinner. . .” This time, as he gets to first base, he not only hears the Good News of forgiveness, but his pastor is waiting for him with words of absolution – “I forgive you!” He also hears Jesus saying to him, “Take and eat, this is my Body and Blood given for your forgiveness.”

    “This is fantastic,” he cries as his faith is again built up and his heart is filled with great joy. He heads toward second base renewed in his faith. As a result, his behavior, actions, and attitudes are again being adjusted.

    This time, as he arrives at third base, the coaches box is filled to overflowing. Everyone wants him to stop. One former football coach offers “Promise Keeping.” Someone else wants to put a “What would Jesus do?” bracelet on his wrist. Bearded psychologists are there offering self-esteem, support groups, and help for his wounded inner child.

    The apostle Paul is still there waving him home. But this time he is being backed up with some of the saints of the past///

    So our faithful baserunner heads back to home plate only to get clobbered with the Law again.

    He continues to run the bases and his understanding of sin deepens. He grows in the knowledge of the grace of God in Christ Jesus. His Faith increases and good works freely flow from his life. Much to his amazement, as he reads the Bible, he discovers that this is exactly what God wants for him.

    As he grows, he learns to love the worship of the Church. He discovers that various elements of the liturgy deal with either the Law, Gospel, Faith, or Good Works.

    The traditional hymnody of the Church enhances his experience of Christian growth. He sings with enthusiasm “Alas, My God, My Sins are Great,” “Jesus, Thy Blood and Righteousness,” “My Faith Looks Up to Thee,” and “May We Thy Precepts Lord Fulfill.” In so doing, he is running the bases again and growing.

    So, we go in circles! Fight the good fight, and run the good race, but whatever you do – don’t stop at third base!


  65. Solomon Rodriguez says:

    Great article and really humbling.

    They will know us by our Love
    Not by our politics
    Not by our head knowledge
    Not by our World view
    Not by how Holier than thou we are

  66. “He didn’t say anything, that was a ping back that automatically happens when someone links to the blog.”

    He didn’t say anything?? This was all automatic from the link??

    “I hope you’ll read the back-and-forth, I think it highlights some critical issues and considerations. I’m going to post it raw and pretty much unedited. I posted the following in response to Michael’s article on “Holiness” on his blog. His article is linked here: https://phoenixpreacher.com/?p=13806

    I guess I commented on “”I hope you’ll read the back-and-forth,” – which I thought was from Alex – but I guess it was just auto generated … Is that what you are really trying to make me believe?

    But hey – it’s your blog. Back to holiness.

  67. “Holy people should aim at doing everything well and should be ashamed of allowing themselves to do anything poorly, if they can help it. ”

    What does the phrase “if they can help it” mean?

    Are there times when you “can’t help it” and remain holy?
    I was a poor;
    husband or wife,
    parent or children,
    employer or employee,
    neighbor or friend etc – “But I couldn’t help it.”!!!

    I think you have lost your holiness when you start listing and categorizing what holiness should look like in other people.

    So, I guess I could say shame on Packer and Ryles for the burden they put on others.

    But then – I guess the Amish could really let these 2 know what “real” holiness is.Did you know that both Ryles and Packer wear buttons on their clothing?

  68. Michael says:


    A ping back captures whatever is in the title.
    It’s automatic.
    The back and forth was the cut and paste he did from Facebook.
    Yes, thats what you should believe, because that’s simply what happened.

  69. Since we are on that subject, why did 4 pingbacks occur? I’m just curious about the mechanics of it all.

  70. London says:

    Look you guys…just let the pingback thing go.
    We all wanted this series to be “drama free” but right now, with the attention on the pingbacks instead of the topic of the thread, you are the ones that are kind of starting the drama.

    Ya know….

    Please don’t respond to my comment here either. Just move back to the topic so it stays free of the common drama.

  71. London says:

    “I think you have lost your holiness when you start listing and categorizing what holiness should look like in other people.”

    That’s kind of what I was trying to get at earlier. I’m sure those guys were trying to be descriptive of what a holy person (not just men) is like in character, but it does kind of seem like a list of “should be’s” instead of “will be’s”

    I disagree that making the list makes the authors less holy though.

    What it does seem to do is say that holy people always excel at things. I’m pretty sure that’s not the intention.

  72. (my comments about the pingback had nothing to do with the sender, only with the mechanics, but yes, I’ll drop it 🙂 )

    Been thinking about John the Baptist’s words in John 1. “Lamb of God”.
    Could the Baptist had any clue what that meant. It really is a startling statement when you think about it.

    The other part of the statement was “that takes away the sin of the world.” So, part of Jesus’ role is taking away sin. When I avoid sin I am actually working with Him. When I give into temptation, I am fighting against Him.

  73. Xenia says:

    when you start listing <<<

    Not a list! Oh noes!

    Exodus 20: 1-17

  74. Josh,
    Check my FB for the answer to your question.

  75. Michael says:


    Anytime you link another blog in a title or article it generates a ping back.
    If you edit either one and update, it sends another one.
    I’ve forgotten this in the past and sent out multiple ping backs unintentionally.

  76. Xenia says:

    I think a truly holy person will excel at all they do because everything they do will be in sync with God’s will. Therefore, they won’t take on tasks that are beyond them in their own strength. They may find themselves simple farmers who excel at loving God and their neighbors, with no further ambition. The word “excel” may not be the best word, though.

    These kind of people are quiet and hidden and not usually on the radio or TV! (But I wouldn’t discount the possibility, if God is in it.)

  77. Xenia says:

    True about the ping backs. On my poor blog I get all excited when I am notified that I have a comment but when I go look, it’s always a ping back from the Orthodox Blog Collective and even they have discontinued me!

  78. “The word “excel” may not be the best word, though”

    I think not. Honestly, a holy life in today’s world would probably look a lot like utter failure.

  79. Xenia says:

    My own patron Saint, St. Xenia of St. Petersburg is an example of what the world would consider to be a failed life. She was an 18th century homeless person (by choice) who wandered the streets of the city, praying for people, helping people, and performing the occasional miracle, prophecies, mostly.

  80. Jim says:

    If the ten commandments is the list in question, I don’t think any Christian would be in disagreement. I get nervous when men like Ryle start expounding. A lot of Scripture can and should be taken at face value.

    Maybe I’m just weary of commentaries. A constant appeal to commentaries smacks of catholic appeal to tradition. Jesus was not a big fan of the oral law, or tradition of the elders.

    Maybe it’s just how I’m wired, but personally, I’m changed when I reflect upon His Holiness (or, just everything about Him), and not when I obsess on my own.

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