Let’s look at another side of holiness. In a very real sense holy is also something we are exhorted to become(the goal and outcome of spiritual growth). Though a foundation of holiness has been laid in us by virtue of the fact that we are God’s possession, Paul makes it clear that something is still missing: “My children, with whom I am again in labor until Christ is formed in you.”(Galatians 4:19)
Time and again in his writings, Paul admonishes believers to live a holy life, always adamant that the sins of the flesh be forsaken. This can only mean that an effort is required on our part.(Romans 3:14, Ephesians 4:22-24, Galatians 5:16, 1 Timothy 6:11) So there’s no question that living a holy (sanctified) life is expected. And if expected, it must be thoroughly attainable (not the impossibility of being sin-free, but definitely that of being self-controlled).
We must be aware, though, that the term sanctification has taken on its own peculiar meaning by many in the church. It has come to be known as the process by which we become more holy as we are gradually able to rid our life of sin, thereby making ourselves more acceptable to God.
While on the surface this view certainly seems to have merit, it is nevertheless out of balance. Why? Because God has already accepted us! Still, doesn’t Scripture time and again instruct us to attempt to please God by walking out our faith in a manner worthy of Him? Yes it does; it’s the whole point of living a godly life.(Ephesians 4:1) But pleasing God with our life is something far different than trying to become acceptable to Him.
Excerpted from: Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself