There is much confusion around about holiness, the arguements have been well rehearsed. Our tenth doctrine is a gem, straight out of the pages of scripture. It speaks of a possibility, a promise, a hope, a certainty…both now in our current experience and perfectly when all things come to pass.
How to be holy: ask Holy Spirit to convict of sin, confess and repent of sin, we become dead to self and alive to Jesus. You might have to speak to some people and mend things. We ask to be kept from temptation (as Jesus suggests) and for Holy Spirit to fill us. He will be thorough, you know. Now that all our junk is gone, the fruit of the spirit already in us is free to display itself in our life and we’re a fit vessel for Holy Spirit to inhabit…it is free to blossom simply because the opposites have been hacked down. Holiness is about more than behaviour….this dying to self is about putting to death all that is contrary to the Spirit. Its a truly significant thing. Hatred turns to love, greed to generosity, fear to faith, lust to self-control, etc etc
This experience, this place, can be maintained by God through our co-operation with him, keeping the connection well open. When you get off your knees, its pretty safe to say that sin has been dealt with. When there is no sin, the Spirit has full reign. We are holy, not only in name and calling, but in reality.
What do I do if temptation comes? resist it…take every thought captive and submit it to Christ. You see, God gives us all we need for a life of godliness…he gives us the ability to resist all that comes our way and won’t allow us to be tempted more than we can bear.
What about sin then? Well, sin is when we choose to be disobedient…chances are if you’re enjoying the above experience and then temptation comes along, you’ll be well aware of it. You have the choice then whether to deal with it, resist it, straight away or play with it. We sin because we entertain it long enough for us to give in, NOT because God isn’t able to keep that which we’ve committed to Him.
So, does this holiness mean I’m ‘perfect’? Depends what ya mean by perfect. You have the capcity to sin, we will only be sinlessly perfect in heaven. But Christian perfection (did you know God commands you and me to be perfect?) is refusing to knowingly sin against God. So, God not only commands holiness, he makes it possible. Thats how good he is. And once he’s done, he can maintain it in you.
Personal confession time: I fail. I disobey God way more than I should. But here is the thing…its not because God isn’t able to keep me or that living in a state of holiness is not possible…its because too many times I refuse to let God have his way. I’m not proud of that at all. However, I’m not trapped by an inevitable cycle, I’m free in Christ. I can testify to long periods of time when I’ve been without sin. I thank God for his grace and mercy, but I don’t take it for granted and I certainly don’t want sin with all its short live pleasures and futile indulgence.
Almost impossible to cover all aspects of this in one blog, but covered most of the basic ground points I hope.
The big question we need to ask is ‘Lord, are my hands clean, is my heart pure?’ (cf Psalm 24). Looking for a good place to start? Try Psalm 51…it will help you get praying.