What I am really asking is how is holiness obtained? Let’s first define holiness – biblically it means being set apart – you’re not of this world while realizing you are in it. I’m going to take a stab at this and say that the actual goal should be to be more Christ like which one could say is synonymous with being holy. Is being more like Christ something we can achieve? Is it obtained through the shear strength of a believer or is it achieved through some other measure? I asked this question because while in a church service I heard three speakers speak on this very topic and I was very interested to hear the sound instruction that was sure to be given to the attendees. I knew we were in trouble when one person came from Exodus (the Law) and when the other two spoke about the need to be holy and the need to strive for holiness and yet I didn’t hear, at least I think I’m on the right road, I am sure if I am not you guys will let me know instruction on how to obtain a state of holiness according to the scriptures. I propose to support my positions with scripture.
Background – the Old Testament -the law was an old covenant that was meant strictly for the Israelites. They law was given not to create holiness but to show Israel just how sinful they were and the law did not justify Israel. Romans 3:19-20 “Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, that every mouth be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law no flesh shall be justified in His sight, for the law is the knowledge of sin.” New covenant says that we are justified by faith -faith in Jesus Christ - His death, burial, and resurrection. Romans 3:24 “being justified freely by His grace (God’s unmerited favor) through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.” And Romans 1:17 & Galatians 3:11 states that the just shall live by faith. I encourage each of you to do a deep study in Romans for the fullness of the teaching on this subject.
God tells us that He chose this route because he didn’t want anyone boasting or justifying why they should be given eternal life – meaning those who would feel that they had done so many “good things” through human efforts. Ephesians 2:9 “For by grace (the acceptance of Christ as the perfect sacrifice for your sins past, present and in the future) you have been saved through faith (believing in Christ), and not of yourselves it is the gift of God, not of works (human effort) lest anyone should boast.
Now to holiness. So if we’ve been justified by faith and we can’t earn it, how in the world does one achieve the state of holiness? I am so glad you asked. Here we go. Let’s first reveal the internal struggle. Romans tells us that sense the law made sin real it created a sense of death to those who tried to live by it and perform them because the penalty for sin was death. This is holiness old testament. In Romans chapter 7 we are told that before the law there was no real knowledge of sin but with the law sin revived and the writer of Romans died. He states that the commandment which was to bring life, he found brought death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment deceived him and by it killed him. In retrospect with this realization he asks, (my paraphrase) now what do I do? How in the world do I live holy? I don’t possess the human strength to live within the law. Guess what he announces??!! Oh wretched man that I am who will deliver me from this body of death? I know you want the answer too!! I got you! Here it comes. Paul said, I thank God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul recognized that it is only with faith in Christ – right believing – and the power of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, that he could live a victorious life that reflected the holiness of Christ!!
Romans 12:2 states “be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind.” There is a pastor who preaches right believing leads to right living. How do you obtain right believing? Ah I am glad you asked that too, I believe I have the answer. Prior to Jesus leaving his disciples He prayed “Father sanctify them with Your truth, Your word is truth. (John 17:17). Here we go. The bible is your lifeline to taking on the mind of Christ. The bible has the ability to answer and deal with any life issue. The bible should not be approached as something to study to become holy. The bible is the very essence of the mind of Christ and the absolute knowledge of God and it is by studying it that you learn about God and then are you transformed. Is there some work involved? Not the way you think. Yes you have to pick up the bible and spend quality time getting to know God. Yes you need to spend time in prayer so that you can commune with and communicate with God on an intimate level. The transformation takes place through the inward working of the Holy Spirit. The transformation takes place by you submitting to the will of God in your life. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, reproof, correction and for instruction in righteousness, that man/woman of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work. (2 Tim 3:16)
By the way… if you could obtain holiness through your own abilities and strength .. then God didn’t need to send sacrifice His only begotten son for us.
The reason why there are so many defeated Christian’s is because many are praise heavy (can sing the latest Christian song – even though many of you are singing biblically incorrect songs because you don’t know the word of God.. anyway that’s for another article) and when it comes to the word you are starved. The only way to change your stinking thinking to is to replace the junk we’ve been raised up on and replace with the very words and thoughts of God.
I don’t work at loving people. Not the way you think. I keep feeding myself the word of God and what was difficult before become easier. It is a process. It doesn’t happen overnight. If you want to be a victorious Christian instead of the one who is always feeling guilty, beating up on themselves, or one who feels as though being holy as Christ is holy is impossible, then turn off the television and spend time loving on God through His word and leave the rest to Him!
Romans 8:1 says, Therefore (after all I just said) there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus who do not walk according to the flesh (human strength and abilities), but according to the Spirit.
So go ahead be ye holy as He is holy!! It can be done!!