HOLINESS is a communicable attribute of God, i.e., it is something which describes the very being of God. While there are certain attributes of God that He does not share with man - for example, God in His Person is infinite, eternal and unchangeable - there are also other attributes that He shares with man; we are or should be at best a pale reflection of what God is. These are the attributes of wisdom, power, holiness, goodness, justice, and truth (The Shorter Catechism). Let's see what our three authors have to say on this important subject.
The Pursuit of Holiness, by Jerry Bridges (Nav Press, 1978. BGST Library 248.4 BRI).
This good book by the Vice-President for Corporate Affaris of the Navigators (in 1978) is worth reading again and again. It emphasizes the command of God to His people: "Be holy, for I am holy." But as human beings, Christians are prone to give in, or at least to compromise with sin in its more "difficult forms." Why do Christians experience so rarely holy living? Bridges tells us that it is because Christians fail to understand their own responsibility for holiness.
This is a short, classic book on holiness that deals largely with putting off the old self and confronts man with the need to confront sin in his life. The author takes several chapters to specifically discuss the battle with sin. He explains the transfer from the controlling realm of sin to the freeing realm of the Kingdom of God that comes with regeneration. He believes that holiness is both a choice and a process. There is a choice to obey God and a process of learning to think as the free men and women that we are. The tension between personal and divine responsibility for holiness is discussed, as well as the role that the Word of God, the will, and emotions play.
"Whether you're continuing a long and serious quest in the practice of holiness, or have never really thought about it, the principles given here will serve as an impending challenge to obey God's call."
Pursuing Holiness, by by Carolyn Nystrom (InterVarsity, 1992)
We are still on the issue of temptation. One of the six studies in this Bible study guide specifically touches on the subject of facing temptation. The author in discussing how human sinfulness is dealt with examines passages from Leviticus and Romans and suggests how we can seek God's help for resisting temptation. The book also has sections on the call to be holy, honesty, self-control, sexual purity, and integrity.
The Pursuit of God, by A. W. Tozer
(Christian Publications, 1998, BGST Library 248 To 66p)
Written by a busy pastor in Chicago, this book has a commendatory introduction by Samuel Zwemer, himself a well-known missionary and servant of God. It is a spiritual classic. Each of the ten illuminating chapters ends with a prayer meant for the closet rather than the pulpit. Zwemer writes: "I felt the nearness of God while reading them." While we may not quite describe life as a "sacrament", we understand Tozer as saying that life springs from God and is to be cherished as one is ravished by the love God. For us at BGST we appreciate Tozer's encouragement of the laity to offer the entirety of life to God as an act of worship and service.
(Reviewed by Dr John Lim and Dr Quek Swee Hwa. Pray for Dr Lim as he preaches and presents a workshop on "temptation" at the Church Camp of the Praise Evangelical Free Church in June 2002)