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Holiness made Practical


Holiness. The word frightens most people. Even Christians fear the word. Perhaps that is because religious people have abused the word.

Holiness is mandatory in the life of a true Christian. I am not pretending that we can be perfect in this lifetime or reach a point in our lives where we will no longer sin (Phil. 3:12-14). The Bible does not teach sinless perfection in this life time (1 John 1:8-10; 2:1-2). Moreover, the Bible clearly teaches that we must walk in the Holy Spirit (Gal. 4:6-7; 5:16-26). It is the work of the Spirit to conform us to the image and likeness of Jesus Christ. The third person of the Godhead’s very name is “Holy.”

God’s goal in saving us is to make us holy unto the Lord. God saves us so that we who were dead in trespasses and sins might live a holy life. W. E. Vine says hagios, “holy” “signifies ( a ) separation to God, 1 Cor. 1:30; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Pet. 1:2; ( b ) the resultant state, the conduct befitting those so separated, 1 Thess. 4:3, 4, 7. . . 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. . . character is in view, perfect in the case of the Lord Jesus, growing toward perfection in the case of the Christian. Here the exercise of love is declared to be the means God uses to develop likeness to Christ in His children.”

When we put our trust in Christ for salvation we were set apart to God by the Holy Spirit. Relationships changed in that we were taken out of the First Adam's family with its sin and condemnation to death, and placed in the family of the Last Adam with His righteousness and eternal life.

We have a new position before the Lord God that never changes. We were set apart to God (1 Cor. 1:2). This is our positional sanctification. We are "in Christ."

The work of the Holy Spirit in the yielded saint, in which He sets the believer apart for God in his experience, by eliminating sin from his life and producing His fruit, is a process which goes on constantly throughout the believer’s life. This is called progressive sanctification (1 Thess. 5:23).

How does God do it? The key to a holy life is to base everything we do on what God has already done for us in Christ Jesus. We are to conform our behavior to what we know to be the right thing to do. Jesus died for us on the cross “in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us” (Romans 8:4).

However, holiness is not keeping a list of man-made doe’s and don’ts. It is not a check off list that a person devises. The apostle Paul said, “For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh” (v. 3).

What does Paul mean by fulfilling these righteous requirements of the Law? It is to follow the Lord Jesus Christ who is perfect in righteousness. The character of God is fully seen in the person of Jesus Christ. Yes, the boundaries of the Christ life are the requirements of God’s Word. It is our responsibility as Christians to stay within the boundaries on God’s playing field. To do this we must keep our eyes clearly focused on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus Christ broke the power of sin by going to the cross and dying in our place. Christ delivered us from sin’s penalty. When we believed on Christ we were justified and acquitted by God. Justification by grace through faith always leads to holy lives.

God condemned sin in Christ, so that His righteousness might appear in us. Salvation is the result of God’s choices and action, and not ours. We are saved by the merits of Christ alone apart from human merits (Eph. 2:8-9). It is all of grace. God made us alive in Christ so that we would produce good works for Him. He saved us so we might be trophies of His grace and a demonstration before a watching world as to what He can do with sinners dead in trespasses who believe on Him for salvation. “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them” (Eph. 2:10).

Holiness is the work of the Holy Spirit as He takes the finished work of Jesus Christ and applies it to our lives. It is a progressive work that began when we were born again and made new creatures in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17).

The means to holiness is to act upon what God has already done for us in Christ. “Even so consider yourselves to be dead to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus. Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its lusts, and do not go on presenting the members of your body to sin as instruments of unrighteousness; but present yourselves to God as those alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. For sin shall not be master over you, for you are not under law but under grace” (Rom. 6:11-14).

When we received Christ as our Savior we received "all things that pertain unto a life of godliness." You do not need another experience. You do not need some new gift. You have been given everything in Christ; you are "in Him" from the beginning of your Christian life.

There is no secret magical formula about holiness. Our responsibility is to realize what God has already done in Christ and just do it. Christ produces holiness by bringing us into a growing mature love relationship with Him (Eph. 5:22-27).

Yes, it is possible for the Christian to live a life of holiness through the power of God. All that God asks is that we make ourselves available to Christ, and let Him lives His life out in and through us moment by moment.



Message by Wil Pounds (c) 2006





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Unless otherwise noted "Scripture quotations taken from the NASB." "Scripture taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE" © Copyright 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission." (www.Lockman.org)

Scripture quoted by permission. Quotations designated (NET) are from the NET Bible copyright ©1996-2006 by Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C. http://www.bible.org/. All rights reserved.

Wil is a graduate of William Carey University, B. A.; New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary, Th. M.; and Azusa Pacific University, M. A. He has pastored in Panama, Ecuador and the U. S, and served for over 20 years as missionary in Ecuador and Honduras. He had a daily expository Bible teaching ministry head in over 100 countries from 1972-2005. He continues to seek opportunities to be personally involved in world missions. Wil and his wife Ann have three grown daughters. He currently serves as a Baptist pastor and teaches seminary extension courses in Ecuador.


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