'We have believed and know that Thou art the Holy One of God.' -- John vi.69.
'The holy one of the Lord' -- only once (Ps. cvi.16) the expression is found in the Old Testament. It is spoken of Aaron, in whom holiness, as far as it could then be revealed, had found its most complete embodiment. The title waited for its fulfilment in Him who alone, in His own person, could perfectly show forth the holiness of God on earth -- Jesus the Son of the Father. In Him we see holiness, as Divine, as human, as our very own.
1. In Him we see wherein that Incomparable Excellence of the Divine Nature consists. 'Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest iniquity, therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows.' God's infinite hatred of sin, and His maintenance of the Right, might appear to have little moral worth, as being a necessity of His nature. In the Son we see Divine Holiness tested. He is tried and tempted. He suffers, being tempted. He proves that Holiness has indeed a moral worth: it is ready to make any sacrifice, yea to give up life and cease to be, rather than consent to sin. In giving Himself to die, rather than yield to the temptation of sin; in giving Himself to die, that the Father's righteous judgment may be honoured; Jesus proved how Righteousness is an element of the Divine Holiness, and how the Holy One is sanctified in Righteousness.
But this is only one side of Holiness. The fire that consumes also purifies: it makes partakers of its own beautiful Light-nature all that is capable of assimilation. So Divine Holiness not only maintains its own purity; it communicates it too. Herein was Jesus indeed seen to be the Holy One of God, that He never said, 'Stand by, for I am holier than thou.' His holiness proved itself to be the very incarnation of Him who had spoken, 'Thus saith the High and Lofty One, whose Name is Holy: I dwell in the High and Holy place, and with him who is of a contrite spirit.' In Him was seen the affinity holiness has for all that is lost and helpless and sinful. He proved that holiness is not only the energy which in holy anger separates itself from all that is impure, but which in holy love separates to itself even what is most sinful, to save and to bless. In Him we see how the Divine Holiness is the harmony of Infinite Righteousness with Infinite Love.
2. Such is the Divine aspect of the character of Christ, as He shows in human form what God's Holiness is. But there is another aspect, to us no less interesting and important. We not only want to know how God is holy, but how man must act to be holy as God is holy. Jesus came to teach us that it is possible to be men, and yet to have the life of God dwelling in us. We ordinarily think that the glory and the infinite Perfection of Deity are the proper setting in which the beauty of holiness is to be seen: Jesus proved the perfect adaptation and suitability of human nature for showing forth that which is the essential glory of Deity. He showed us how, in choosing and doing the will of God, and making it his own will, man may truly be holy as God is holy.
The value of this aspect of the Incarnation depends upon our realizing intensely the true humanity of our Lord. The awful separating and purifying process that is ever being carried on in the fiery furnace of the Divine Holiness, ever consuming and ever assimilating, we expect to see in Him in the struggles of a truly human will. Holiness, to be truly human, must not only be a gift, but an acquirement. Coming from God, it must be accepted and personally appropriated, in the voluntary surrender of all that is not in accordance with it. In Jesus, as He distinctly gave up His own will, and did and suffered the Father's will, we have the revelation of what human holiness is, and how truly man, through the unity of will, can be holy as God is holy.
3. But what avails that we have seen in Jesus that a man can be holy? His example were indeed a mockery if He show us not the way, and give us not the power, to become like Himself. To bring us this, was indeed the supreme object of the Incarnation. The Divine nature of Christ did not simply make His humanity partaker of its holiness, leaving Him still nothing more than an individual man. His Divinity gave the human holiness He wrought out, the holy human nature which He perfected, an infinite value and power of communication. With Him a new life, the Eternal Life, was grafted into the stem of humanity. For all who believe in Him, He sanctified Himself, that they themselves might also be sanctified in truth. Because His death was the great triumph of His obedience to the will of the Father, it broke for ever the dominion of sin, it atoned for our guilt, and won for Him from the Father the power to make His people partakers of His own life and holiness. In His Resurrection and Ascension the power of the New Life, and its right to universal dominion, were made manifest, and He is now in full truth the Holy One of God, holding in Himself as Head the power of a Holiness, at once Divine and human, to communicate to every member of His body.
THE HOLY ONE OF GOD! in a fulness of meaning that passeth knowledge, in spirit and in truth, Jesus now bears this title. He is now the One Holy One whom God sees, of such an infinite compass and power of holiness, that He can be holiness to each of His brethren. And even as He is to God the Holy One, in whom He delights, and for whose sake He delights in all who are in Him, so Christ may now be to us too the One Holy One in whom we delight, in whom the Holiness of God is become ours. 'We have believed and know that Thou art the Holy One of God,' -- blessed they who can say this, and know themselves to be holy in Christ.
In speaking of the mystery of the Holy Trinity, we saw how Christ stands midway between the Father and the Spirit, as the point of union in which they meet. In the Son, 'the very image of His substance' (Heb. i.3), we have the objective revelation of Deity, the Divine Holiness embodied and brought nigh. In the Holy Spirit we have the same revelation subjectively, the Divine Holiness entering our inmost being and revealing itself there. The work of the Holy Spirit is to reveal and glorify Christ as the Holy One of God, as He takes of His Holiness and makes it ours. He shows us how all is in Christ; how Christ is all for us; how we are in Christ; and how, as a living Saviour, Christ through His Spirit takes and keeps charge of us and our life of holiness. He makes Christ indeed to be to us the Holy One of God.
My Brother! wouldst thou be holy, wouldst thou know God's way of holiness -- learn to know Christ as the Holy One of God. Thou art in Him, 'holy in Christ.' Thou hast been placed, by an act of Divine Power, in Christ, and that same Power keeps thee there, planted and rooted in that Divine fulness of life and holiness which there is in Him. His Holy Presence, and the power of His eternal life, surround thee: let the Holy Spirit reveal this to thee. The Holy Spirit is within thee as the power of Christ and His life. Secretly, silently, but mightily, if thou wilt look to the Father for His working, will He strengthen the faith that thou art in Christ, and that the Divine life, which thus encircles thee on every side, will enter in and take possession of thee. Study and pray to believe and realize that it is in Christ as the Holy One of God, in Christ in whom the Holiness of God is prepared for thee as a holy nature and holy living, that thou art, and that thou mayest abide.
And then remember, also, that this Christ is thy Saviour, the most patient and compassionate of teachers. Study holiness in the light of His countenance, looking up into His face. He came from heaven for the very purpose of making thee holy. His love and power are more than thy slowness and sinfulness. Do learn to think of holiness as the inheritance prepared for thee, as the power of a new life which Jesus waits and lives to dispense. Just think of it as all in Him, and of its possession as being dependent upon the possession of Himself. And as the disciples, though they scarce understood what they confessed, or knew whither the Lord was leading them, became His saints, His holy ones, in virtue of their intense attachment to Him, so wilt thou find that to love Jesus fervently, and obey Him simply, is the sure path to holiness and the fulness of the Holy Spirit.
BE YE HOLY, AS I AM HOLY.
Most Holy Lord God! I do bless Thee that Thy beloved Son, whom Thou didst sanctify and send into the world, is now to us the Holy One of God. I beseech Thee that my inner life may so be enlightened by the Spirit that I may in faith fully know what this means.
May I know Him as the revelation of Thy Holiness, the incarnation in human nature, even unto the death, of Thine infinite and unconquerable hatred of sin, as of Thy amazing love to the sinner. May my soul be filled with great fear and trust of Thee.
May I know Him as the exhibition of the Holiness in which we are now to walk before Thee. He lived in Thy holy will. May I know Him as He wrought out that holiness, to be communicated to us in a new human nature, making it possible for us to live a holy life.
May I know Him as Thou hast placed me in Him in heaven, holy in Christ, and as I may abide in Him by faith.
May I know Him, as He dwells in me, the Holy One of God on the throne of my heart, breathing His Holy Spirit and maintaining His holy rule. So shall I live holy in Christ.
O my Father! it pleased Thee that in Thy Son should all the fulness dwell. In Him are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge; in Him dwell the unsearchable riches of grace and holiness. I beseech Thee, reveal Him to me, reveal Him in me, that I may not have to satisfy myself with thoughts and desires, without the reality, but that in the power of an endless life I may know Him, and be known of Him, the Holy One of God. Amen.
1. In the holiness of Jesus we see what ours must be: righteousness, that hates sin and gives everything to have it destroyed; love, that seeks the sinner and gives everything to have him saved. 'Whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.'
2. It is a solemn thought that we may be studying earnestly to know what holiness is, and yet have little of it, because we have little of Jesus. It is a blessed thought that a man may directly be little occupied with the thought of holiness, and yet have much of it, because he is full of Jesus.
3. We need the whole of what God teaches in His Word in regard to holiness in all its different aspects. We need still more to be ever returning to the living centre where God imparts holiness. Jesus is the Holy One of God: to have Him truly, to love Him fervently, to trust and obey Him, to be in Him -- this makes us holy.
4. Your holiness is thus treasured up in this Divine, Almighty, and most gentle Saviour -- surely there need to be no fear that He will not be ready or able to make you holy.
5. With such a Sanctifier, how comes it that so many seekers after holiness fail so sadly, and know so little of the joy of a holy life?
I am sure it is with very many this one thing: they seek to grasp and hold this Christ in their own strength, and know not how it is the Holy Spirit within them who must be waited for to reveal this Divine Being, the Holy One of God, in their hearts.