During our last post we talked about positional holiness. We are in Christ, and because of that, we are saints of God—set apart. There is a sense in which we have already been made holy. This post we will talk about practical holiness.
A Goal to Pursue
Practical holiness is one of those “already but not yet” traits of Scripture. Because we are in Christ and because we have been set apart as holy, we have been sanctified and made holy. As discussed, that is our position, but Scripture refers to holiness as a goal to pursue. Notice what 1 Peter 1:15 says: “But as the one who called you is holy, you also are to be holy in all your conduct.” Peter says that because God is holy, we are to strive to be holy in all our conduct or behavior. In addition, the writer of Hebrews says in Hebrews 12:14, “Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.” Lastly, Paul tells the believers of Corinth to “…bring holiness to completion in the fear of God.” There are many more passages of Scripture that would support this idea of pursuing holiness. And if you are serious about following Jesus, then you will pursue holiness also.
God’s Work of Transformation
Our sanctification (being made holy) is fundamentally God’s work. Only God can change and transform us by His grace into His image. Notice what Paul again to the believers in Corinth, “We all, with unveiled faces, are looking as in a mirror at the glory of the Lord and are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory; this is from the Lord who is the Spirit.” Only God can conform us into the image of Christ (Romans 8:29.)
Our Role in Sanctification
We see that holiness is a goal to be pursued and that it is a work that God does, so what then is our role in the sanctification process? Allow me to share a quote from Jerry Bridges that answers that question for us; he says, “Sanctification is a work that God does, but it requires our effort.” God does the work of conforming us to the image of Christ, but we must position ourselves to receive from God. We must place ourselves in an environment where He can do what only He can do—change and transform our lives as we spend time with Him in prayer and His word. He renews our minds and helps us to see things from His viewpoint. We learn to say no to those
things that don’t please Him, and we say yes to those things that do. As we surrender to His Lordship, we learn to die to self and the self-will and see Christ as our life! Jesus becomes the source and sustainer—our all in all!
A Final Thought
At our conversion, the righteousness of God is imparted and as we are being conformed to His image, the righteousness of God is being imparted. It is important to know that it’s not your righteousness or holiness, but His that has been imparted to you. As long as we are vitally connected to the true vine, Jesus Christ, we can grow in Christlikeness (John 15:4-5.)
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