Why be holy… (audio link)
Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. (Psalm 73:24)
In a brief summary statement in the concluding chapter of the Bible we are told what will become of each of us after the final judgment:
He that is unjust, let him be unjust still; and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still; and he that is righteous, let him be righteous still; and he that is holy, let him be holy still. (Revelation 22:11)
In other words, the type of person we are when we depart from this life is the type of person we will continue to be on into eternity – either unjust, filthy, righteous, or holy. It is God’s sincerest desire and intent, therefore, that each of us becomes holy as He is holy in all manner of conversation so that we may live together in peace with God in His everlasting kingdom.
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Romans 14:17)
Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; but as 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. (I Peter 1:13-16)
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him; And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church; who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence. For it pleased the Father that in him should all fullness dwell; And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself; by him, I say, whether they be things in earth, or things in heaven. And you, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled, in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblamable and unreprovable in his sight; If ye continue in the faith grounded and settled, and be not moved away from the hope of the gospel, which ye have heard, and which was preached to every creature which is under heaven… (Colossians 1:16-23)
John, whom God sent to prepare the way before our Lord, not only testified of Jesus Christ, he explained the manner by which our Lord would make us holy. It would be, John said, through the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost.
The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; as it is written in the prophets. Behold, I send my messenger before thy face, which shall prepare thy way before thee. The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. John did baptize in the wilderness, and preach the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. And there went out unto him all the land of Judea, and they of Jerusalem, and many were baptized of him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. And John was clothed with camels’ hair, and with a girdle of skin about his loins; and he did eat locusts and wild honey; and preached, saying, There cometh one mightier than I after me, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to stoop down and unloose. I indeed have baptized you with water; but he shall not only baptize you with water, but with fire, and the Holy Ghost. (Mark 1:1-6)
How may we receive this special baptism from the Lord? When speaking of the baptism with which He came to baptize us, Jesus focused our attention on love. Jesus said if we love Him, unto the keeping of His commandments, He will pray unto our heavenly Father who will give us the gift of the Holy Ghost.
If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you. I will not leave you comfortless; I will come to you… But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. (John 14:15-18,26)
Without this baptism we cannot know the love that God has for us. For it is through this precious gift of the Holy Ghost, which we receive by exercising faith in Jesus Christ, that God bestows His love upon us.
Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ; by whom also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only this, but we glory in tribulations also; knowing that tribulation worketh patience; And patience, experience; and experience, hope; And hope maketh not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us. (Romans 5:1-5)
Recall how the Apostle John wrote, “God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him.”
Whosoever shall confess that Jesus is the Son of God, God dwelleth in him, and he in God. And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world. There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. (I John 4:15-18)
Note also how John explains here that God dwells in us for a particular reason: “that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as he is, so are we in this world.” Why is it important for us to have boldness in the day of judgment?
And it shall come to pass afterward that I will pour out my Spirit upon all flesh; and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions; And also upon the servants and upon the handmaids in those days will I pour out my Spirit. And I will show wonders in the heavens and in the earth, blood, and fire, and pillars of smoke. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the great and the terrible day of the Lord come. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be delivered; for in mount Zion and in Jerusalem shall be deliverance, as the Lord hath said, and in the remnant whom the Lord shall call. (Joel 2:28-32)
Therefore, unless we are like the Lord when He comes in glory, by having our love perfected in and through Jesus Christ, and by becoming holy in all manner of conversation, we will not be able to call upon the Lord for deliverance in that day He brings the world into judgment.
Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me; and the Lord whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in; behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts. But who may abide the day of his coming? and who shall stand when he appeareth? for he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ soap; And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver; and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, that they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness. (Malachi 3:1-3)
And the heavens opened as a scroll is opened when it is rolled together; and every mountain, and island, was moved out of its place. And the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountain; and said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb; For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? (Revelation 6:14-17)
So that we may be able to stand in the day our Lord returns in glory, God is calling us to turn from our sins, which separate us from Him, and receive His Holy Spirit. Those who do will be able to abide with Him. Those who do not heed the call to turn from their sins and receive the Holy Ghost will not be able to abide in His presence, for He is, according to the words of the prophets, a devouring or consuming fire.
The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings? He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil; he shall dwell on high; his place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure. Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is very far off. (Isaiah 33:14-17)
None of us can stand on our own merits. None of us can be holy in and of ourselves. Therefore, as John has written, God sent His Only Begotten Son into the world that we might live through him and, as such, we ought also to love one another by the power of His might.
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God; and everyone that loveth is born of God, and knoweth God. He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another. (I John 4:7-11)
By our receiving the Spirit of His Son into our lives we can receive the power to become God’s children, that is, become holy as He is holy.
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God; only to them who believe on his name. (John 1:12)
Those who receive His Spirit not only become like Him in character (e.g. love), they become like Him in action as well.
Believe me that I am in the Father, and the Father in me; or else believe me for the very works’ sake. Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. (John 14:11-13)
And so it is written:
If any man among you seem to be religious, and bridleth not his tongue, but deceiveth his own heart, this man’s religion is vain. Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this, To visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the vices of the world. (James 1:26,27)
The works Jesus did were the fruit of the Spirit of God dwelling within Him, which fruit Paul identified as all goodness, righteousness, and truth, born out as love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. In the words of our Lord and Savior:
For a good tree bringeth not forth corrupt fruit; neither doth a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit; For every tree is known by his own fruit. For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather they grapes. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is good. And an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth that which is evil; for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh. (Luke 6:43-45)
In summary, by granting us His love through the gift of the Holy Ghost unto loving like Him in this world, God is preparing us for entering into and living forever in His kingdom of righteousness. Through the Spirit of adoption, the Holy Ghost, which we receive in gift of His Son, we can become new creatures – that is, by His Spirit living within us.
For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption; whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. (Romans 8:14-17)
As such there is no need for us to remain unjust or filthy in in this world. In Jesus Christ, God offers us a new life. In Him we are given the power to pass from death unto life. In and through the new birth found alone in Jesus Christ we can put off our old nature and become righteous and holy before God.
If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory. Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry; For which things’ sake the wrath of God cometh on the children of disobedience; In the which ye also walked sometime, when ye lived in them. But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him; Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free; but Christ is all, and in all. Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any; even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him. (Colossians 3:1-17)
In closing, remember how Peter, being filled with the Holy Ghost on the day of Pentecost, charged those who witnessed the great outpouring of God’s Spirit upon His church – following the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ – with these words:
Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. (Acts 2:38)
This, as Jesus has confirmed in these latter days, is His gospel. It is the good news. We can be made holy in both word and power, by receiving both instruction and power in and through the Holy Ghost.
Hearken and listen to the voice of him who is from all eternity to all eternity, the great I AM, even Jesus Christ, the light and the life of the world; a light which shineth in darkness, and the darkness comprehendeth it not; the same which came in the meridian of time unto my own, and my own received me not; but to as many as received me, gave I power to become my sons, and even so will I give unto as many as will receive me, power to become my sons. And verily, verily I say unto thee, He that receiveth my gospel, receiveth me; and he that receiveth not my gospel, receiveth not me. And this is my gospel: repentance and baptism by water, and then cometh the baptism of fire and the Holy Ghost, even the Comforter, which showeth all things, and teacheth the peaceable things of the kingdom. (D&C 39:1a-2b)
Therefore, come forth and worship the Lord Jesus Christ in the beauty of holiness. So shall you abide forever in the care and love of God in His everlasting kingdom.
Oh sing unto the Lord a new song;
sing unto the Lord, all the earth.
Sing unto the Lord, bless his name;
show forth his salvation from day to day.
Declare his glory among the heathen,
his wonders among all people.
For the Lord is great, and greatly to be praised;
he is to be feared above all gods.
For all the gods of the nations are idols;
but the Lord made the heavens.
Honor and majesty are before him;
strength and beauty are in his sanctuary.
Give unto the Lord, O ye kindreds of the people,
give unto the Lord glory and strength.
Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name;
bring an offering, and come into his courts.
Oh worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness;
fear before him, all the earth.
Say among the heathen that the Lord reigneth;
the world also shall be established that it shall not be moved;
he shall judge the people in righteousness
Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;
let the sea roar, and the fullness thereof.
Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein;
then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice.
Before the Lord; for he cometh, for he cometh to judge the earth;
he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.
June 22, 2014 – Elder D. Burford