My child, when you placed your trust in Me you became holy. When you believed that I came to save you, you entered into My family and became My child. You do not need to earn My approval. You already have it because you belong to Me. I am your Father who loves you and I desire to bless you. Received all of the gifts I have for you. Open your heart and your mind to Me. I have much I want to share with you.
You are chosen. You are Royal. You are Holy. You are My beloved. I called you out of darkness into My marvelous light. 1 Peter 2:9
In His eternal wisdom, God chose Israel from among the nations as His own possession. Of Israel God said, “…you shall be to Me a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.”(Exodus 19:6) He then gave them special revelation concerning His righteousness—its primary expression being the Law of Moses, which came some four hundred years after Abraham received God’s promise. In this Law God laid out the rules for Israel’s behavior, structure for their worship and also a special revelation of His nature. He made such things known to no other nation.
But over the centuries Israel debated both the meaning and the implementation of the Law of Moses. Over time an oral tradition evolved, handed down from teacher to student, ultimately resulting in a written collection of traditional rabbinic laws called the Mishna (compiled over 335 years from 200 B.C. to A.D. 135). Jesus made mention of this supplement to the Law when He chided the Scribes and Pharisees: “Why do you yourselves transgress the commandment of God for the sake of your tradition?”(Matthew 15:3)
Eventually the Mishna became a cornerstone of the Talmud, an exhaustive interpretation of both the Mishna and the Law and Prophets compiled over 250 years from A.D. 250 to 500. An English version of this work is comprised of almost 36,000 pages in 36 volumes.
In Judaism, man has raised the complexity of religious law to an astonishing level. But the question is why they would be motivated to make law so burdensome. The answer seems to lay in their belief that righteousness before God is possible only through strict adherence to His law—and the more works of the law one performs the holier he has the chance to become.
The Jews have indeed brought the complexity of law to a new level, but their beliefs concerning law in general are not unique to them. These beliefs are also deeply embedded in the psyche of mankind as a whole, and therefore found as a common denominator in most of the world’s religions.
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
As God’s children, is holy something we are or something we must try to become? First and foremost, holy is what we are in Christ. On this point the testimony of Scripture is clear: “By this we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”(Hebrews 10:10,14) One source puts it this way: “Sanctification is thus the state predetermined by God for believers, into which in grace He calls them, and in which they begin their Christian course and so pursue it. Hence they are called saints.” By referring to believers as saints (holy ones) in his many letters, Paul isn’t addressing an elite class of Christians; he means all those who belong to Christ.(1Corinthians 1:2)
It’s also important to recognize that in Scripture holiness is often used right alongside the terms redemption, righteousness and justification. Sharing the same context not only means that these concepts are related, but that they coexist as a reality here and now in the believer’s life.(1 Corinthians 1:30)
Likewise, the term blameless is often used in conjunction with holy to unambiguously declare the believer’s unique position in Christ. Being blameless means being regarded as faultless or without blemish—essentially the same as being made righteous. Paul forcefully brings this idea home in Colossians 1:22: “yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy and blameless and beyond reproach.”
Being justified (acquitted of sin) by God’s grace, we are now held blameless, and as a result set apart (made holy, sanctified) as His special possession. And this isn’t merely a hypothetical status or position—as it is often thought of. This is truly who we are in Christ!
The Holy Spirit is not sedentary. He wants not merely to exist quietly within us, but to thrive. Because our spirit is firmly fastened to God, the incredible energy of His Spirit is now at work within, motivating us to move forward with Him.
A mounting desire to please God with our lives is the outcome we should expect from His indwelling presence. And as a part of this yearning to please Him comes an inherent sense that we are to be holy. Because God is holy, a godly life must be a holy life.
Let’s be realistic: how many of us could say with a shred of confidence that we are holy in all our attitudes and behavior, especially given the fact that God gives us something seemingly so impossible to live up to as: “you shall be holy, for I am holy.”(1 Peter 1:15-16)
Even though it’s hard to imagine that we could ever achieve such a measure of perfection, we can’t deny that Scripture ushers us toward that goal. So we often feel left with little alternative but to work for it. It’s not hard to understand why we see things this way, because it’s actually pretty common to think in terms of holiness being associated with what a person has achieved. Isn’t that how people of all religious stripes see it—the “Holy Man” as opposed to your everyday run-of-the-mill believer? Not only is this philosophy deeply ingrained in us through our general experience of life, but it’s also prevalent in the beliefs of our churches.
My child, I have given you My Spirit so that you may know the things freely given; spiritual thoughts with spiritual words. I have given you the mind of Christ. Do you not know that you are a temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? The temple of God is holy, and that is what you are. Be set apart from this world so I can use use. Walk according to My Spirit. I will lead you in My path of righteousness.
1 Corinthians 1 12 &16, & ch 2 vs 16 & 17
He has blessed me with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose me in Him before the foundation of the world, that I would be holy and blameless before Him (Ephesians 1:3-4). In Christ I am a new creature, the old things have passed away; new things have come (2 Corinthians 5:17).
So now I can lay aside the old self and put on my new self, which has been created in righteousness and holiness of the truth (Ephesians 4:22-24). I am now in the process of being brought into a true knowledge of God, being radically transformed by the renewing of my mind (Romans 12:2). This is God’s mystery, hidden from past generations but now manifested to His saints—Christ in me, the hope of glory (Colossians 1:26-27).
Excerpted from: Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself
God promises that I am saved from His wrath, reconciled to God, being justified as a gift by His grace through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus (Romans 3:24 & 5:9-10). Having been justified by His blood, I have obtained an inheritance as His adopted child (Ephesians 1:5 & 1:11). Through Christ’s blood, He cancelled out the certificate of debt (punishment legally due for my sin) consisting of decrees against me, having nailed it to the cross (Colossians 2:14).
He has now reconciled me in His fleshly body through death, in order to present me before Him, holy and blameless and beyond reproach (Colossians 1:22). God has credited me with His righteousness and therefore considers me to be holy (2 Corinthians 5:21 & Ephesians 1:4). And having been justified by faith, I now have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1).
(Excerpted from “Free from the Power of Sin: The Keys to Growing in God in Spite of Yourself”)