by Mike Ratliff
4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love. (Galatians 5:4-6 ESV)
“Holiness is the demonstration of faith working by love. It is wholly supernatural in the sense of being God’s gracious achievement within us and wholly natural in the sense of being our own true humanness, lost through sin, misconceived through ignorance and through listening too hard to current culture-but now in process of restoration through the redirecting and reintegrating energy of new creation in Christ through the Holy Spirit. Oswald Chambers called holiness “our brilliant heritage.” The phrase was well chosen. Brilliant-bright, shining, precious, glorious-is the word that fits.” From Rediscovering Holiness, p32 by J.I. Packer
I know that many may be suddenly struck by a sense of guilt or inadequacy when they read or hear that it is God’s will that His people be Holy, however, that does not change the fact that genuine Christians will be both saved eternally and are changed temporally by the working of the Holy Spirit in them. God regenerated them at salvation so they are new creations. Are they automatically in sinless perfection then? No! That is why we should not become discouraged from this walk simply because we struggle with sin. All Christians sin. That is why God gave us 1 John 1:5-10.
5 This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. 6 If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. 7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.8 If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. 9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. (1 John 5-10 ESV)
How does this Holiness grow in us then? First, God commands that we be holy.
1 Finally, then, brothers, we ask and urge you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us how you ought to live and to please God, just as you are doing, that you do so more and more. 2 For you know what instructions we gave you through the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, 5 not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for impurity, but in holiness. 8 Therefore whoever disregards this, disregards not man but God, who gives his Holy Spirit to you. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 ESV)
Since God has commanded that we be Holy, and He knows we cannot be Holy outside of His grace, He gives His Holy Spirit to us. Holiness is commanded and willed by God. Christ requires it and all the Scriptures call for it. Our sanctification is what accomplishes this. That is why it is imperative that we do not flee from our Lord’s discipline. Holiness is the goal of our redemption. It is the object of our new creation. We are still in this life in this body of flesh so that we may grow up into Christlikeness. Holiness is genuinely necessary for our final salvation. Why? It is a sign and expression of the reality of our faith and repentance. It is also the fruit of our acceptance of God’s ultimate purpose. Notice, that the one who is on this narrow way lines up their purpose with His. They do not try to conform God to themselves, but conform to Him and His purposes.
Holiness is the substance or core from which our true happiness comes. If we are conformed to our culture, we will pursue happiness within the mores of our society, however we miss genuine happiness if we do this. On the other hand, if we pursue holiness through the grace of Christ, happiness of spirit comes in such a way that we cannot adequately describe. Holiness has to do with our Hearts.
46 I will also speak of your testimonies before kings
and shall not be put to shame,
47 for I find my delight in your commandments,
which I love. (Psalm 119:46-47 ESV)
111 Your testimonies are my heritage forever,
for they are the joy of my heart. (Psalm 119:111 ESV)
Holiness starts inside a Christian when he or she has the right purpose that seeks to express itself in right performance. Notice, it does not come from right performance, but from our Heart’s desire. It is not just about our obedience, but it is also about our motives that prompt us to be obedient to our Sovereign Lord. That is why we should be mortified if we don’t deeply desire to be Holy.
The Christian who is on the narrow way which leads to life has a motivating aim, passion, desire, longing, aspiration, goal, and drive to please God. How? They seek to please Him both by what they do and what they avoid doing. Their good works replace evil ones. If they spend themselves on seeking God’s will and doing it they will not be spending any effort or time seeking the opposite. How do we do this? How does it begin? How is it maintained? It all begins with praise, worship, and honoring and exalting God as the substance of our entire being. Evil will creep in when we neglect this. This will result in coolness with regard to them. Therefore, we must dedicate our whole waking life to keep our hearts actively responsive to God.
Holiness that is actively growing in depth and breadth in the heart of a Christian will express itself through their life in Christlikeness that Paul defined as the fruit of the Spirit.
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (Galatians 5:22-26 ESV)
The Lord Jesus Christ is coming back. We don’t know the day or hour of His coming. We also know that we are not to be of this world. We are not to take on the world’s character or be conformed to it in any way, but we are to be Holy, set apart, and Christlike. Therefore, since we do not know when He is coming back, let us prepare for His return by committing ourselves to becoming the Holy Christians God Wills for us to be. Soli Deo Gloria!
Powered by Qumana