HOLINESS is easy. I don't say that lightly. I say it because the Bible says so. Take a look at Isaiah chapter 35v8,9:
And a highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called the Holy Way; the unclean shall not pass over it, but it shall be for the redeemed;the wayfaring men, yes, the simple ones and fools, shall not err in it and lose their way. No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;they shall not be found there; but the redeemed shall walk on it.
Notice a few facts in these verses. The Holy Highway is already there, prepared for a special group. The redeemed, Gods people, the Christians. It is there for us to walk upon, for us to walk in Holiness. Then we see that even simple people or fools can walk on it without making a mistake or going astray. Even people who are slightly mentally impaired can successfully walk on the Highway of Holiness.
For many Christians Holiness is either a complete mystery or something to be struggled for without ever achieving a satisfactory result. God would never have said, 'be ye Holy as I am Holy', or 'without Holiness no man shall see the Lord', if it was a hidden mystery or an unattainable goal.
I personally think that God has emphasised the easiness and simplicity of living in Holiness, in these verses, because He new that many of us would not understand how to live in the joy and gladness that Holy living brings.(as expressed in verse 10 of the chapter).
He wants us to say 'Lord, this Holy life is supposed to be so easy to live that even a fool can live it. That's not my experience Lord, show me the truth about this please, show me what I don't understand'. Jesus said,'ask and it shall be given, seek and you shall find, knock and the door shall be opened. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it shall be opened'.
WILL death be our final deliverance from sin? Here is Adam Clarkes response to the question. I have always been in agreement with his view but I have never thought of it in this way before. His comments had a strong impact on me. I have changed some of the words to more modern english;
Nothing is purified by death, nothing in the grave, nothing in Heaven. Many think that no man can be fully saved from sin in this life. I ask, where is this clearly stated in the New Testament? Where in that volume is it intimated that sin is never wholly destroyed until death takes place, and the soul and the body are separated? Nowhere.
In the false doctrine of purgatory for example, it is held that so strong is sin that it can not be wholly destroyed even in death and a middle state between Heaven and hell is necessary to atone for that which the blood of Christ had not cancelled and to purge from that which the energy of the Holy Spirit had not cleansed before death.
That is the extreme, but others hold out that death is the complete deliverer from all corruption, and the final destroyer of sin, as if it were revealed in every page of the Bible! Whereas there is not one passage in the sacred text that says any such thing, were this true, then death far from being the last enemy would be the last and best friend and the greatest of all deliverers.
If the last remains of all indwelling sin of all believers is to be destroyed by death, then death which removes it must be the highest benefactor of mankind! The truth is it is neither the cause nor the means of sins destruction. It is the blood of Jesus alone that cleanses from all unrighteousness.
Then the death of Christ and the influence of the Holy Spirit were only sufficient to weaken sin but our death must come to effect sins total destruction. Thus death is partially our saviour also. That which came by sin( for sin entered into the world and death by sin) now turns around and becomes its destroyer. Such ideas are absurd, It is the blood of Christ that cleanses from all unrighteousness, and the sanctification of the believer is no more dependent on death than his justification.
Those who say,' believers do not cease from sin till they die', are such believers who do not make a proper use of their faith.
ADAM Clarkes commentary on the Bible is available in Christian bookshops and his sermons can be read online. Here are some of his thoughts on perfection:
Many stagger at the term perfection in Christianity; because they think that what is implied in it is inconsistent with a state of probation, and savours of pride and presumption; but we must take good heed how we stagger at any word of God; and much more how we deny and fritter away the meaning of any of His sayings, lest He reprove us and we be found liars before Him. But it may be that the term is rejected because it is not understood. Let us examine its import.
The word 'perfection' in reference to any person or thing, signifies that such a person or thing is complete or finished; that it has nothing redundant, and is in nothing defective. As someone has said, we count those things perfect which want nothing requisite for the end whereto they were instituted. And to be perfect often signifies, 'to be blameless, clear, irreproachable'. A man may be said to be perfect who answers the end for which God made him.
The whole design of God was to restore man to His image, and raise him from the ruins of his fall, in a word, to make him perfect , to blot out all his sins, purify his soul, and fill him with holiness; so that no unholy temper, evil desire, or impure affection or passion should either lodge or have any being within him; this and this only is true religion or Christian perfection.
A less salvation than this would be dishonourable to the sacrifice of Christ, and the operation of the Holy Ghost; and would be unworthy of the appellation of 'Christianity'. Those who deny it, deny the whole scope and design of divine revelation and the mission of Jesus Christ.
When St Paul says he ' warns every man and teaches every man in all wisdom, that he may present every man PERFECT ....in Christ Jesus,' he must mean something. What then is this something? It must mean' that holiness without which none shall see the Lord'. Call it by what name we please,it must imply the pardon of all transgression, and the removal of the whole body of sin and death; for this must take place before we can be like Him, and see Him as He is, in the effulgence of His own glory.
This fitness then, to appear before God, and thorough preparation for eternal glory, is what I plead for, pray for, and heartily recommend to all true believers, under the name of Christian Perfection.
When Christ casts out the strong armed man He takes away that armour in which he trusted , He spoils his goods, He cleanses and enters into the house, so that the heart becomes the habitation of God through the Spirit.Can then a man under value that Christ who not only blotted out his iniquity, but cleansed his soul from all sin; and whose presence and inward mighty working constitute all his holiness and all his happiness? Impossible! Jesus was never so highly valued, so intensely loved, so affectionately obeyed, as now. The great Saviour has not His highest glory from His atoning and redeeming acts, but from the manifestation of His saving power.