“Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy”
-I Peter 1:13-16
In this edition of the Praiseletter, I want to point our attention to a most powerful and relevant portion of scripture.
I also want to update you in regard to Linda’s and my health. So many have written and emailed with concerns for our health and assurance of their prayers. This has been a blessing beyond words.
Lastly, I want to share information about something new that will be available to you this month. I’m personally extremely excited about this new project I’ve just completed. I think it will be a tremendous blessing to you and hopefully many others.
But first, let us examine this rich portion of scripture from I Peter. I’ve read and studied God’s Word for many years now. You know how it is; you read and re-read the scriptures but then all of a sudden one day, a portion of scripture you’ve read many times before seems to jump off the page and challenge your thinking anew. This was the case with me as I once again read this verse. I was challenged by the absolute necessity to be holy, and not just holy in some sort of quantifiable behavioral sense, but holy as He is holy!
Scripture teaches us to, “Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). No one will see the Lord without holiness. That’s an arresting statement!
A.W. Tozer writes: “This is the true divine order: first, reconciliation, then holiness…it is required of those who have been redeemed at such a cost and brought into this place of privilege, that they should be holy, even as He is holy.”
Tozer goes on to say: “There are serious, honest persons who have turned away from the whole idea of holiness because of those who have claimed it and then lived selfish and conceited lives.”
So holiness should be the natural response of gratitude toward the God who saved us. It also should be the evidence of a life that’s growing in grace, obeying the scriptures, and being conformed daily to the image of Christ. Additionally, holiness, aside from defining the privileges we’ve secured by the grace of God, is also a responsibility.
There is, in some corners, at this present time (and has been since the advent of the covenant of grace) a perverted understanding and expression of grace.
Separation from the “world” and “worldly” ideas and behaviors have for many Christians become relativistic notions, not biblical mandates. Scripture is crystal clear about life, eternity, sin, obedience, truth, and the list goes on and on. Quite frankly, there are no issues to which scripture does not speak. We are without excuse when it comes to understanding God’s opinion on the aforementioned issues and many more.
Grace was never meant to be used as some sort of excuse to rationalize questionable, ungodly, or unholy behavior. Grace is the means whereby ungodly, unholy sinners may be saved and empowered to be able to live the holy life that God clearly defines and mandates in scripture.
A holy life is a most powerful testimony, speaking more clearly than a host of words!
So, let’s break down, in a very simple way, the aspects of I Peter 1:13-16.
Gird your minds for action… As Michael Buffer used to announce before some of the greatest boxing matches; “Let’s get ready to rumble!” We’re in the battle of the ages. Let’s put on the whole armor of God and act like we mean business. Fight the good fight!
Keep sober in spirit… There is nothing more important than the issue of the eternal souls of men. God demonstrated the importance and priority of His saving grace through the substitutionary atoning death of His Son. We need to be serious about the things God is serious about. Live your faith, share your faith, and invest your faith in the truth of the gospel. Get serious!
Fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ… As Christ is being revealed in you from “glory to glory” let His grace, by faith, be the substance and “evidence of things hoped for.” As the old hymn says: “My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.” Fix your hope!
As obedient children, do not be conformed to your former lusts which were yours in your ignorance… Sin is the ultimate stupidity. Sin leads to death. Obedience to God leads to life. Wise up!
But like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior…” As a man thinks in his heart, so is he” (Proverbs 23:7). Think holy and you’ll live holy!
Because it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” “For it is written” is God’s way of saying, “I’ve told you this before, I’m telling you again.” No, we can’t be holy in essence as He is holy. But, because of the cross, the truth of His Word, and His indwelling Holy Spirit, we can bear His image, evidence His presence, and manifest the fruit of the Spirit. All these things define and denote the holiness of God.
Now, to answer so many questions regarding Linda’s and my health.
As I write this letter (on May 10), Linda is struggling with a severe case of pneumonia. Just moments ago, she said she was feeling a little better, but she still has a way to go. Hopefully, by the time you read this, she’ll be doing much better. She continues on treatment every three weeks for the breast cancer she has now battled for thirty-six years. She does well, all things considered, but life moves at a slower and more careful pace. Yet, in the midst of these challenges, we proclaim joyfully: God is good, and we are blessed!
I’m doing well, now almost a year out from surgery for prostate cancer. I’m thankful we caught it early and all follow-up consults have been good news.
I had a Pacemaker installed in the middle of April. I thought those were for old guys! My heart has had some irregular heartbeats for many years, but in recent months it has gotten a little more pronounced. Anyway, I’m doing fine. (I just keep a set of jumper cables handy!)
We live in corruptible bodies, don’t we? Won’t Heaven be great?! No sickness, no pain, no death. Joy everlasting in perfect bodies in a perfect place!
Finally, we’re releasing the audiobook of Words of Hope and Comfort this month. There will be beautiful lyric music videos to accompany the seventeen chapters of the book. Even if you’ve already read the book, I think this Audio/Visual version will bring a whole new level of blessing and encouragement. I hope you’ve enjoyed what I’ve written, but I think you’ll enjoy me reading it to you even more. And then you’ll be able to also watch and listen to the beautiful lyric videos.
At this time I don’t know the exact release date but visit our website at www.dallasholm.com and it will be announced when available.
Thank you for your prayers, your friendship, and your support. We read the letters and emails that you send. We feel we know you as close friends, and we pray for you as well. “In our weaknesses His strength is perfected” (II Corinthians 12:8).
We’re still going strong!