1 Thessalonians 4:7 says “For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” After God calls us to salvation and to union in the body of Christ, He further calls us to holiness. This means that He desires us to be His children first, but then He desires us to act like His children. It is not fully answering the call of God for us to say we put our faith in the work of Jesus. Rather, answering the call of God, goes beyond the saving work of justification through faith in Christ, to the life-long saving work of sanctification through obedience and personal holiness. 1 Peter 1:15-16 speaks of God’s desire in our lives this way, “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [lifestyle]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.” God desires that we, like Him, be holy. He is our Father, and we are His children. If that is the case, we should act like it. The danger with encouraging you to just “be holy” is that it doesn’t fully address the possibility of holiness. If we see holiness as something that we do, we miss the full scope of holiness. Paul says in Philippians 2:13 that it is “God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” God tells us to “do,” and follows it up with “and I will do it through you,” and then He follows that up with one more “do.” To understand personal holiness, you must see it in this spectrum. God, us, God, us, God. He is the only One Who can accomplish, but we must “do,” so that He will accomplish in us. Human responsibility rests in the hands of Divine Purpose. Charles Spurgeon said it this way, “we work out while God works in.” God shapes our will (our desires) after His. We then desire His way. God then “leads us in the paths of righteousness,” and we take every step of the journey with strength from Him. We can be holy, only because He can make us holy. This is not “letting go, and letting God.” This is “letting go, and obeying God.” Passive, active, not passive, passive. And when we trust Him, holiness can happen. When we rest in him, obedience can happen.
Food For Thought: How can we be holy?