This "Original" portrait of Dr. Murray courtesy of Debbie Fortnum, Andrew Murray's Great, Great, Great, Great Granddaughter, was retrieved from THIS site.
Today I am sharing an excerpt of one of Mr. Murray's Books entitled: "The Believers Secret of Holiness." It was formerly published under the title: "Holy in Christ."
Andrew Murray was born in South Africa in 1828. After receiving his education in Scotland and Holland, he returned to that land and spent many years there as both pastor and missionary. He was a staunch advocate of biblical Christianity. He is best known for his many devotional books.
God's Call to Holiness
15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct,
16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” (I Peter. 1:15, 16)
The call of God is the manifestation in time of His purpose in eternity: "Whom he predestinated, them he also called." Believers are "the called according to his purpose." In His call He reveals to us what His thoughts and His will concerning us are, and what the life is to which He invites us. In His call He makes clear to us what the hope of our calling is; as we spiritually apprehend and enter into this, our life on earth will be the reflection of His purpose for us in eternity.
Scripture uses more than one word to indicate the object or aim of our calling, but none more frequently than what Peter speaks of here -- God has called us to be holy as He is holy. Paul addresses believers twice as "called to be saints (holy)" (Romans 1:7; I Corinthians 1:2). "God hath not called us," he says, "unto uncleanness, but unto holiness" (I Thessalonians 4:7). When he writes, "The very God of peace sanctify you wholly," he adds, "Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it" (I Thessalonaians 5:24). The calling itself is spoken of as "a holy calling." The eternal purpose, of which the calling is the outcome, is also continually connected with holiness as its aim. "He hath chosen us in him...that we should be holy and without blame" (Ephesians 1:4). "God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification" (II Thesselonians 2:13). "Elect according to the foreknowledge of the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit" (I Peter 1:2). The call is the unveiling of the purpose that the Father from eternity had set His heart upon: that we should be holy.
Without a doubt, to know aright what God has called us to is of infinite importance. To misunderstand here could be fatal. That God calls you to salvation or to happiness, to receive pardon or to obtain heaven, you may have heard. But have you ever noticed that all these were subordinate to His main purpose? It was to "salvation through sanctification," it was to holiness first and foremost, as the element in which salvation and heaven are to be found. The complaints of many Christians as to lack of joy and strength, as to failure and lack of growth, are due to this -- the place God gave holiness in His call they have not given to it in their response. God and they have never yet come to an agreement on this.
No wonder that Paul, in the chapter in which he had spoken to the Ephesians about being "chosen to be holy," prays for the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of God to be given to each believer, that he might know "the hope of his calling" (1:17,18). Let all of us who now see to what we are called pray this prayer and ask God to show us that, just as He who hath called us is himself holy, so we are to be. Our calling, before and above everything else, is to holiness. Let us ask Him to show us what holiness is, His first and then ours; to show us how He has set His heart upon that as the one thing He wants to see in us, as being His own image and likeness; to show us too the unutterable blessedness and glory of sharing with Christ in His holiness. Oh, that God by His Spirit would teach us all that this calling means! We can easily conceive what a mighty influence it would exert.
"Like as he which called you is holy, be ye yourselves also holy." This call of God shows us the true motive behind His command: "Be ye holy, for I am holy." It is as if God said, "Holiness is my blessedness and my glory: without this you cannot see me or enjoy me; there is nothing higher to be conceived; I invite you to share with me in it; I invite you to likeness to myself. Does this attract you and move you deeply -- the hope of being partakers of my holiness? I have nothing better to offer -- I offer you myself: 'Be holy, for I am holy.'" Shall we not cry earnestly to God to show us the glory of His holiness, that our souls may be made willing to give everything in response to this wondrous call?
His call also shows the nature of true holiness. "Like as he is holy, so be ye also holy." To be holy is to be Godlike, to have a disposition, a will, a character like God. The thought almost looks like blasphemy until we listen again, "He hath chosen us in Christ to be holy." In Christ the holiness of God appeared in human life: in Christ's example, in His mind and Spirit, we have the holiness of the Invisible One translated into the forms of human life and conduct. To be Christlike is to be Godlike; to be Christlike is to be holy as God is holy.
The call equally reveals the power of holiness. "There is none holy but the Lord"; there is no holiness but what He has, or rather what He is and gives. The quality is not something we do or attain: it is the communication of the divine life, the inbreathing of the divine nature, the power of the divine presence resting on us. And our power to become holy is to be found in the call of God: the Holy One calls us to himself that He may make us holy in possessing himself. He not only says "I am holy," but "I am the Lord, who makes holy." Because the call comes from the God of infinite power and love, we may have the confidence: we can be holy.
The call no less reveals the standard of holiness. "Like the Holy One who called you, be ye yourselves also holy." There is to one standard for God and another for man. The nature of light is the same, whether we see it in the sun or in a candle; the nature of holiness remains unchanged, whether it be God or man in whom it dwells. The Lord Jesus could say nothing less than, "Be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect." When God calls us to holiness, He calls us to himself and His own life. The more carefully we listen to the voice, and let it sink into our hearts, the more will all human standards fall away and only the words be heard, Holy, as I am holy.
The call shows us the path of holiness. The calling of God is one of mighty efficacy, an effectual calling. Listen to Him and with divine power the call will work what it offers. He calls the things that are not as though they were. His call gives life to the dead and holiness to those whom He has made alive. He calls us to listen as He speaks of His holiness, and of ours like His. He calls us to himself, to study, to fear, to love, to claim His holiness. He calls us to Christ, in whom divine holiness became human holiness, to see and admire, to desire and accept what is all for us. He calls us to the indwelling and the teaching of the Spirit of holiness, to yield ourselves that He may bring home to us and breathe within us what is ours in Christ. Believer, listen to God calling you to holiness; come and learn what His holiness is, and what yours is and what it must be.
Be silent and listen. When God called Abraham, he answered, "Here am I." When God called Moses from the bush, he answered. "Here am I." and he hid his face, for he was afraid to look upon God. God is calling you to himself the Holy One that He may make you holy. Let your whole soul answer, "Here am I, Lord! Speak, Lord! Show yourself, Lord!" You will hear a voice coming out of the great eternity, from the council chamber of redemption, and as you catch its distant whisper, it will be, "Be holy, I am holy," You will hear a voice from Paradise, the Creator making the seventh day holy for man whom He had created, and saying, "Be holy." You will hear the voice from Sinai, amid thunderings and lightnings, and still it is, "Be holy, as I am holy." You will hear a voice from Calvary, and there above all it is, "Be holy, for I am holy."
Child of God, have you ever heard this call from God? Must we not confess that happiness has been to us more than holiness, salvation more than sanctification? But it is not too late to redeem the error. Listen to the voice that calls, draw nigh, and find out what holiness is, or rather, find out and know Him the Holy One. If the first approach to Him fills us with shame and confusion, makes us fear and shrink back, let us still listen to the voice and call, "Be holy, as I am holy." "Faithful is he which calleth, who also will do it." All our fears and questions will be met by this One who has revealed His holiness with one purpose in view: that we might share it with Him. As we yield ourselves in deep stillness of soul to listen to the holy voice that calls us, it will waken within us new desire and strong faith, and the most precious of all promises will be to us this word of divine command: "Be holy, for I am holy."
O Lord, the only Holy One, you have called us to be holy, even as you are holy! Lord, how can we unless you reveal to us your holiness? Show us how you are holy, how holy you are, what your holiness is, that we may know how we are to be holy and how holy we are to be. And when the sight of you only shows us the more how unholy we are, teach us that you make those partakers of your own holiness who come to you for it.
O God, we come to yu, the Holy One. It is in knowing and finding and having yourself that the soul finds holiness. We come to beseech you to burn into your heart that the one object of your calling us and of our coming to your is holiness. You would have us to be like yourself, partakers of your holiness. If ever our heart fears that this is too high to attain or rests content with a salvation less than holiness, Blessed God, let us hear your voice calling again, "Be holy, I am holy." Let that call be our motive and our strength, because faithful is He that calleth, who also will do it. Let that call mark our standard and our path. Let our life be such as you are able to make it.
Holy Father, I bow in lowly worship and silence before you. Let your voice sound in the depths of my heart, calling me, "Be holy, as I am holy." Amen.