Holiness of Heart and Life

The Gospel Produces the Fruit of Holiness

Charles Hodge wrote the following thoughts on holiness:

“Holiness is essential to the correct knowledge of divine things and the great security from error… Wherever you find vital piety, there you find the doctrines of the fall, of depravity, of regeneration, of atonement, and of the deity of Jesus Christ.”[1]

Keeping the gospel before us is God’s way of protecting us from error–as a result, our lives will reflect the fruit of His Spirit and character of His Son.

Guarding One’s Heart

In lectures to his seminary students, he wrote the following:

“‘Keep your hearts with all diligence, for out of them are the issues of life.’ Remember that it is only in God’s light that you can see light. That holiness is essential to correct knowledge of divine things, and the great security from error. And as you see, that when men lose the life of religion [the Spirit of God], they can believe the most monstrous doctrines, and glory in them; and that when clergy once fall into such errors, generations perish before the slow course of reviving piety brings back the truth; ‘what manner of men ought you to be in all holy conversation and godliness.’ Not only then for your own sake, but for the sake of your children, and your children’s children, forsake not your God…

“Finally, lean not to your own understanding. If there be any declaration of the Bible, confirmed by the history of the church, and especially by the recent history of European churches, it is that ‘he that leaneth to his own understanding is a fool.’ When men forsake the word of God, and profess to be wise above that which is written, they inevitably and universally lose themselves in vain speculations… Submit yourselves, therefore, to the teaching of him, in whom ‘are all treasures of wisdom and knowledge.’ It is only when thus taught, that you will be able to teach others also.'”[1]

The heart is the well-spring of life. Where there is true piety–spiritual regeneration–there will be Christlike fruit and increasing maturity and spiritual security. The Spirit of the Lord guides, grows, and guards His own.

[1, 2] David Calhoun, Princeton Seminary: Faith and Learning (1812-1868) (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth Trust, 1994), 123-24.

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