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Chapter 1 – Pygmies and Atoms

From the book Relational Holiness – Responding to the Call of Love by Thomas J. Oord and Michael Lodahl

  • What is Holiness? [1]

Consecrated to God’s service, and conforming all things to the will of God (Romans 6:196:22Ephesians 1:4Titus 1:81 Peter 1:15-16).

Personal holiness is a work of gradual development. Holiness carries on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance (1 Corinthians 1:30; 2 Corinthians 7:1Ephesians 4:22-24).

  • What is Sanctification? [2]

Sanctification is more than a mere moral reformation of character brought about by the power of the truth. Sanctification is the work of the Holy Spirit bringing the whole nature more and more under the influence of the new gracious principles implanted in the soul in regeneration. In other words, sanctification is the carrying on to perfection of the work begun in regeneration, and it extends to the whole man (Romans 6:13Colossians 3:8-101 John 4:71 Corinthians 6:19-20).

It is the special office of the Holy Spirit in the plan of redemption to carry on this work (1 Corinthians 6:11,  1 Corinthians 2:6-16). Faith is instrumental in securing sanctification, because it:

  1. Secures union with Christ (Galatians 2:20), and
  2. Brings the believer into living contact with the truth (John 16:13, John 14:16-17), which leads to obedience.
  • The Classical Terms for Holiness.

– Baptism of the Holy Spirit

“And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’” [Mark 1:8] (Acts 11:16)

– Entire Sanctification

“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thessalonians 5:23)

The Second Blessing

“And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, ‘you heard from me; for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.’” (Acts 1:4-5)

– Christian Perfection

You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. (Matthew 5:48)

“The Christian gospel must be contextualized for the present age without compromising its core.” (p. 30)

“Many in the church stop with justification, but as Wesleyans we are called to grow in the image of Christ and become holy as God is holy. ‘In brief, sanctification, or holiness, means that we are consumed with our love for God and for neighbor, united with God, being made in Christ’s image, walking as He walked, being taught and led by the Spirit, serving Christ in the world. Holiness is a life consumed by Christ.’” [3]

  • Questions:

Is the concept of holiness obsolete, irrelevant, or passé?

Are we, the Church, more concerned with:

  1. Being in step with society?
  2. Fitting into the mainstream?
  3. Our public image?
  4. The church’s numerical growth rather than spiritual growth?

Relational Worldview

A view that everything – physical, mental, social, natural, and spiritual – is connected.

God is a relational part of our life. This relationship impacts all other relationships.

The incarnation is a critical event in the world because it brings our relationship with God to an actual physical level. Since God came in the form of man, we now have a relationship like no mythological divine being. Jesus is not just but actuality. The Word of God came into our world of time, and space, and history in a way that turned everything upside down.

“What an amazing reality: Jesus became one of us. Sometimes it is hard for me to walk in someone else’s shoes. … And yet this is what God has done. He isn’t the manager who sits in the office; He’s the one who puts on the apron and joins the team on the sales floor. Jesus is acquainted with our sorrows, with our suffering. He knows the lure of temptation and the fear of standing alone in righteousness. He can relate to being mocked, spit on, rejected by friends. Jesus understands what it means to lose someone you dearly love and to weep for them. He can sympathize with those who were misrepresented or judged or forgotten or mistaken or abandoned or beaten or shamed or lied about or divorced, because the Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” [4]

The Historical Reality of Jesus – Bishop Barron’s Sunday Sermon (13:33)

Who is Jesus? – Bishop Barron (6:34)


[1] Holiness, Easton’s Bible Dictionary. https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionary/holiness/

[2] Sanctification, Easton’s Bible Dictionary. https://www.biblestudytools.com/dictionaries/eastons-bible-dictionary/sanctification.html

[3] Living Your Methodist Identity: Recovering the Class Meeting for Discipleship Building. Tommy Jennings, 9 April 2018. https://scholarblogs.emory.edu/candlerdmin/2018/04/09/recovering-the-class-meeting-for-disciple-building/

[4] The Importance of the Incarnation, Pilgrim Benham, 27 Dec 2017. https://calvarychapel.com/posts/the-importance-of-the-incarnation

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