How to Be Holy
When some people hear the message of grace preached uncompromisingly, one of the first objections that arises deals with holiness. They wrongly conclude that telling people that Jesus met every requirement of the Law on their behalf and that God has once and for all forgiven them of all their sins, past, present, and future is giving them license to sin. “What about holy living?” they exclaim. “Doesn’t the Bible say that without holiness no one will see the Lord?”
Yes, indeed, holiness is absolute requirement for all saints. Our Father is holy, holy, holy, and He calls us to a life of holiness. And Hebrews 12:14 instructs us to pursue holiness.
But let me pose a question to you. Can you or any human being make anything holy? If according to Jesus, we are not able to make even one strand of hair on our heads white or black, then how much less are we able to produce holiness, no matter how hard we try. Isn’t God the only One capable of producing holiness in any shape or form? Now, if this is the case, and indeed it is, then unless God makes us holy, we can never be.
If your understanding of Christianity is that God commands us to live a certain way and then expects us to obey in our strength, then good luck! Everybody who has tried that approach in their relationship with God has failed miserably. God knows better.
“For when we were in the flesh, the sinful desires, aroused by the law, were active in the members of our body to bear fruit for death. But now we have been released from the law, because we have died to what controlled us, so that we may serve in the new life of the Spirit and not under the old written code.” (Romans 7:6f)
Like everything else God desires of us, we get to be holy because He gives it to us in Jesus, and we receive it by faith. Christianity is Christ in our place. Christ is our Life. And the good news is God made Him to be our sanctification too! (1 Cor. 1:30)
Here is a prayer recorded for our benefit in I Thessalonians 5:23, 24, taken from The Amplified Bible.
“And may the God of peace Himself sanctify you through and through [separate you from profane things, make you pure and wholly consecrated to God]; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved sound and complete [and found] blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful is He Who is calling you [to Himself] and utterly trustworthy, and He will also do it [fulfill His call by hallowing and keeping you].
There is only one way to live a life that will manifest the fruit of holiness, and that is to trust the faithfulness of the One who called you to holiness to impart His nature to you and accomplish His will in you. I love the way Rev. Philip Dunham puts it. “The secret of the Christian life is not “I’ ll try my best.” It is “I’ll trust my best.”
Child of God, when it comes to holiness, keep in mind that it is “God who works in you both to will and do His good pleasure.” (Phil. 2:13). Holiness is not something we offer God; it is something He offers us. It is not about rules, it is about relationship. And it is not about being in law; it’s about being in love!
To live a holy life, place your faith in the only Person who can live this life to do so through you. Don’t look to yourself. Look to Christ in you. When we believe, He works. The life of holiness God requires is the life of holiness He supplies through your faith relationship with His Son.