< What I Learned Teaching Sunday School: The Holiness of Christ

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Holiness of Christ

Still in the lesson from the book, The Pursuit of Holiness

The author says that it’s very important for us to understand the righteousness of Christ and the fact that His righteousness is credited to us. Over and over in Scripture we’re told that Jesus, during His time on earth lived a perfectly holy life. Hebrews 4:15 said He was “without sin.”

1 Peter 2:22 said He “committed no sin.”

2 Corinthians 5:21 describes Him as “Him who had no sin.”

1 John 3:5 says, “In Him is no sin.”

Even in the Old Testament Isaiah 53:11 calls Him “the righteous servant” and Psalm 45:7 as one who “loved righteousness and hated wickedness.” It’s a universal teaching in the Bible.

In John 8:46 Jesus Himself asked the Pharisees “can any of you prove me guilty of sin?” How many people would dare ask another that question? Especially of people who hate you and who would certainly dig something up if they could!

He also asked this question in the presence of His disciples who had been living with Him continuously and would have been able to see any inconsistency between His talk and His walk. But He could ask it because there was only one answer. He was without sin!

But the holiness of Jesus wasn’t just the absence of actual sin. It was also a perfect conformity to the will of His Father. There are a lot of statements He makes in the gospels where Jesus tells about doing His Father’s will, but my favorite is John 8:29 which says, “I always do what pleases Him.” What a great goal for us!

With Jesus it’s not just actions, it’s attitudes and motives. If we do something with the right action, but the wrong motive it doesn’t please God. Our motives must rise from a desire to do something simply because it’s the will of God. Even our thoughts should be holy since God knows what we’re thinking.

Jesus Christ perfectly met those standards. And He did it for us. He was born into this world subject to the law of God that He might fulfill it on our behalf.

Galatians 4:4-5 But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law,to redeem those under the law, that we might receive adoption to Sonship.

Whenever we seriously contemplate the holiness of God, our natural reaction is “I’m ruined! I’m not even close! There’s no way!”

His moral purity serves to magnify our impurity. But we’re assured in the Bible that as believers our sins are forgiven. And we don’t just need to hear this the minute we’re saved; we need to hear it all along as we grow in holiness because the more we are growing the more we see how bad our sin really is. And when we realize that, we need to be reminded that it’s Christ’s perfect righteousness that covers us!

This may seem really elementary, but we need to dwell on it because Satan attacks us all the time over it. The Holy Spirit makes us aware of our lack of holiness to stimulate us to deeper yearning and striving for holiness, but Satan uses the Holy Sprit’s work to discourage us. One of his attacks is to try to convince us that we are not a genuine Christian after all. He’ll say something to us like, “a true Christian wouldn’t think that evil thought.”

Now before the Holy Spirit had started working on us that thought may not have troubled us too much. But now, because the Holy Spirit has begun to reveal how sinful some of our thoughts of pride or lust or rebellion really are, Satan’s comments makes us doubt our salvation.

That’s when we need to stand on the Rock of our salvation. To trust in Christ’s works! We are saved by His righteousness alone.

Even Paul said: 1 Timothy 1:15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst.

The other reason we need to consider the holiness of Christ is because His life is meant to be an example of holiness for us.

1 Peter 2:21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.

Paul urged us to be imitators of God: Ephesians 5:1 Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children

And said it also in 1 Corinthians 11:1: Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ

So when Jesus said “I always do what pleases Him” that should be our goal too. Can we really take a look at all our activities, our thoughts, our words and say, “I’m doing this to please God”?

If we’re honest we’ll see that we do a lot of things so people will think well of us, or for our own pleasure, or just our own comfort – and really don’t ever wonder if it will glorify God or not.

When Jesus came into the world, He said (and this is from Hebrews 10:7) “I have come to do Your will, O God.”

This is our example to follow. In all of our thoughts, all of our actions, in every part of our character, the ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be our desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father. This is the road to holiness.

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