The Holiness of Christ

Men’s Small Group // January 31, 2022

This is a lesson I prepared for a men’s small group and is based on the book “Pursuit of Holiness” by Jerry Bridges (Chapter 4)

2For our sake 1he made him to be sin who knew no sin, 3so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Corinthians 5:21 ESV

1This means that God the Father made Christ to be regarded and treated as “sin” even though Christ himself never sinned.

2That is, God regarded and treated “our” sin (the sin of all who would believe in Christ) as if our sin belonged not to us but to Christ himself.

3This means that just as God imputed our sin and guilt to Christ (“he made him to be sin”) so God also imputes the righteousness of Christ—a righteousness that is not our own—to all who believe in Christ.

Understanding this is essential to pursuing holiness… We must keep coming back to this truth…

“We need this first of all to be firmly grounded in our security in Christ.” p.42

  • As we move toward practical holiness in our lives, we will come to see how dark and deceitful our hearts truly are. And as we do, WE WILL run to Jesus for refuge. 
    • All our sin was placed on him!
  • John 8:28-30 ESV — So Jesus said to them, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and that I do nothing on my own authority, but speak just as the Father taught me. [29] And he who sent me is with me. He has not left me alone, for I always do the things that are pleasing to him.” [30] As he was saying these things, many believed in him.
    • Jesus spoke this in the presence of a crowd that had been following him for quite a while, including Pharisees and Sadducees. They could have easily rebuked him if there was evidence to the contrary.
    • “But the holiness of Jesus was more than simply the absence of actual sin. It was also a perfect conformity to the will of his Father.” p.43
    • This positive holiness must include his actions and his attitudes and his motives.
  • Isaiah 6:1-7 ESV — In the year that King Uzziah died I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up; and the train of his robe filled the temple. [2] Above him stood the seraphim. Each had six wings: with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. [3] And one called to another and said: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” [4] And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. [5] And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts!” [6] Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. [7] And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”
    • Look at verse 5 — When we encounter the Holy One, this will always be our response. We will be made aware of his purity and holiness and our utter sinfulness. We will be driven to our knees in repentance.
    • Look at verse 7 — What is the response of this holy God to our sin. He cleanses it! Our sin is atoned for in the death of Jesus and we bear it no more!
    • As we continue in faith on this path of holiness, the Holy Spirit will continue to reveal to us those dark places of our heart where we hide secret sin. He will bring our sin out into the light of the Gospel, so that we may run to Jesus in repentance in faith. Not just once, but over and over again.
  • The danger is this — our enemy will take these moments of the work of the Holy Spirit in our heart and speak lies and deception to discourage us and wreck our faith.
    • “Real Christians don’t have sin like this. They don’t’ have these wicked thoughts. They don’t have small faith.”

“His life is meant to be an example of holiness for us.” p.46

  • Go back to John and hear again the statement of Jesus in verse 29.
    • Take moment right now and ask yourself if this is the direction of your heart.
    • If you’re like me, then you do some things, good things, so that you will be seen by others to gain admiration rather than give glory to God.
    • If you’re like me, then you do other things strictly for your own pleasure without a thought or care for the glory of God.
  • This is about our attitude and motives in the pursuit of holiness.
  • Bridges ends the chapter with…
    • “This is the example we are to follow. In all our thoughts, all of our actions, in every part of our character, the ruling principle that motivates and guides us should be the desire to follow Christ in doing the will of the Father. This is the high road we must follow in the pursuit of holiness.” p.47

Reflection Questions

  • What are the lies that the enemy speaks to you, when the Holy Spirit reveals hidden sin in your heart?
  • How do we view those who do not show love for us? Do we see them as a person for whom Christ died or as a person who makes our lives more difficult?
  • How are you modeling that Christ-like attitude of, “I always do the things that are pleasing to God”?

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