The Father is intimately involved in our lives so that our circumstances train us in godliness. The Son has set us free from both the penalty and the power of sin so that we now live under the reign of grace. The Spirit gives us a new attitude toward sin and a new power to change.
The combined forces of the Trinity are at work in our lives to set us free and make us holy.
Grace does not merely aid righteous conduct; it also aids in the apprehension of the never-diminishing and nondeterred love of God that makes human righteousness possible. If obedience were merely a defensive posture that [Christians] assume to avert divine wrath or to curry divine favor, then human holiness would be but a euphemism for selfishness. When self-protection and self-promotion become the primary motivations of Christian obedience or preaching, then we have inadvertently made self-satisfaction the Lord of our faith.
We must worship God in the beauty of holiness. We do this, when approaching him, in the name of Jesus Christ, and through the assistance of his Spirit, all our faculties are fixed and engaged in this work; our expressions accompanied by suitable affections, by holy longings and thirstings of soul after God. In short, when the whole man is dedicated to the solemn act of worshipping God.
True holiness does not make a Christian evade difficulties, but face and overcome them. Christ would have His people show that His grace is not a mere hot-house plant, which can only thrive under shelter, but a strong hardy thing which can flourish in every relation of life.
Most men hope to go to heaven when they die, but few, it may be feared, take the trouble to consider whether they would enjoy heaven if they got there. Heaven is essentially a holy place; its inhabitants are all holy; its occupations are all holy. To be really happy in heaven it is clear and plain that we must be somewhat trained and made ready for heaven while we are on earth…. No man can possibly be in a place where he is not in his element, and where all around him is not congenial to his tastes, habits and character. When an eagle is happy in an iron cage, when a sheep is happy in the water, when an owl is happy in a blaze of noonday sun, when a fish is happy in the dry land — then, and not till then will I admit that the unsanctified man could be happy in heaven.
If God’s love is holy love, as it is, then it is concerned not only to act in holiness (as in the cross of Christ), but also to promote holiness (in the people of God).
When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of Him the more insatiable and my thirst after holiness more unquenchable.
God is more interested in our holiness than in our comfort. He more greatly delights in the integrity and purity of his church than in the material well-being of its members. He shows himself more clearly to men and women who enjoy him and obey him than to men and women whose horizons revolve around good jobs, nice houses, and reasonable health. He is for more committed to building a corporate “temple” in which his Spirit dwells than he is in preserving our reputations. He is more vitally disposed to display his grace than to flatter our intelligence. He is more concerned for justice than for our ease. He is more deeply committed to stretching our faith than our popularity. He prefers that his people live in disciplined gratitude and holy joy rather than in pushy self-reliance and glitzy happiness. He wants us to pursue daily death, not self-fulfillment, for the latter leads to death while the former leads to life.