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Holiness–to be like Jesus

by Commissioner David EdwardsThe tenth article of the doctrines of The Salvation Army reads as follows

“We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be wholly sanctified and that their whole spirit and soul and body may be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Let me ask you, have you experienced the blessing of holiness?

Holiness Emphasis 2001

Those of you who are regular readers of New Frontier might remember the article I wrote for this column two years ago, “A Call to Holiness.” In that article, I challenged the Salvationists of the Western Territory and all who identified themselves with us in the Body of Christ to commit themselves to living a life of holiness.

I want to take this opportunity to renew that call and at the same time to draw attention to fact of the holiness emphasis for the year 2001, the theme of which is “Holiness–to be like Jesus.”

Each corps, outpost, and ARC center has been asked to schedule a 10-week period to focus on this emphasis. This could be anytime between January 1 and September 30th, 2001. This allows for previous scheduling at the local level to continue and for officers responsible for these units to schedule the holiness emphasis at the most optimum period for the local unit. During that 10-week period it is expected that the focus in our worship, teaching and preaching will be on holiness and living a life of holiness.

To assist in the planning, preparation and conduct of this holiness emphasis, the Evangelism, Prayer and Spiritual Formation department has made available some helpful material namely The Concert of Holiness Worship Series, put out by the Central Territory, as well as a video-tape of General John Gowans preaching on the subject of holiness. We have invited each officer responsible to give us feedback on what was done in the various places across the territory. We plan on sharing this information in a New Frontier article later in the year.

Why the emphasis and challenge

Why this emphasis at this time? Why am I making this challenge? No one should really be surprised about this. In fact this emphasis on holiness in our worship, teaching and preaching should not be just for 10 weeks during the year but for all 52 weeks of the year. God calls his people to live holy lives. He challenges them to “Be holy, because I (God) am holy.”

Ever so often, however, we need to be reminded how special a privilege this is, a privilege made possible to all believers through the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ, a privilege made available through the infilling and indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit. Thus an occasional time of special emphasis often turns out to be helpful.

Now, back to the question!

I began this article by quoting from our doctrines and asking the question whether you had experienced the blessing of holiness. It is a question that will obviously be asked repeatedly throughout this year, given this holiness emphasis.

It will get asked in different ways; are you enjoying the blessing of a clean heart? Are you filled with the Holy Spirit? Are you wholly sanctified? But these all refer to the same experience, the experience of the blessing of holiness. It is not enough for you simply to know the doctrine. It is not enough that you believe in the doctrine as to its possibility. You must have the experience for yourself. A life of holiness is only possible through the infilling of the Holy Spirit. So the question is, have you had that infilling?

The blessing is yours for the asking

There are some of you reading this article, who have lived your entire Christian experience in a state of uncertainty in so far as this experience is concerned. You have spent your life looking for some sign to occur, some crisis to be resolved that will tell you beyond a shadow of a doubt that it has been done. The absence of both has left you in a state of uncertainty.

The interesting thing about this experience is that the blessing can be ours simply for the asking. To quote from one of the Gowans and Larsson musicals…”If you want it, It’s yours.”

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