In our last study on the subject of holiness, we looked at the necessity of holiness.
We saw that when God saved us, He not only imputed Christ’s holiness to us, but He also called us to a life of holiness. Paul captures this in his opening greeting to the Corinthians: “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints..” They were separated from the world and set apart to be holy.
Now that we are convinced of the necessity of living a holy life, the question remains as to how do we practically pursue it; and why is it that so many Christians feel constantly defeated in their struggle with sin, to the point that some have given up the fight and are resigned to wait for their glorified, sinless bodies.
While some have resorted to a list of do’s and don’ts as a way to have a measurable success in this area, others tell us that we need to stop trying in the flesh and simply trust in Christ’s active and passive obedience on our behalf; He will then live His life in us and we will experience victory over sin; they say that we started in faith and we need to continue in faith.
However, when we look into the scriptures, we see that we are not only to acknowledge that we have been delivered from the guilt and power of sin through our union with Christ, but that we are also to make no provision for the flesh:
11 So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. 13 Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness.
The fact of the matter is that as long as we are still in this world, we will be battling against sin; there is still an active devil whose aim is to tempt us so that we may fall into sin. There is also our flesh that is easily enticed and drawn into sin. But praise the Lord that we are not fighting this battle against sin in our own strength. God is committed to our sanctification and has given us His Holy Spirit to empower us to live a holy life.