You Can Be Holy

This entry is part 22 of 49 in the series Holiness Matters
Image by Bruno Glätsch from Pixabay

Within Christian circles I have heard people debate about the possibility of living a holy life. They suggest that it is impossible to stop sinning for a long period of time. Even if we manage to not commit sin in our bodies, we are still thinking sinful thoughts.

They bring up battling with the flesh and evil desires every day. They talk about constantly not falling into sin through temptation. They spend their prayer time begging God to free them from the temptations surrounding them.

But the Bible talks about living a victorious life as in overcomer. Jesus was able to live a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15). Of course, he was God in the flesh. But he relied on the power of the Spirit (Luke 4:14). Jesus wants us to live in that same power.

We can debate all day long about holiness in the Christian life. People go back and forth, even mentally committing to the idea of living a holy life but not practicing it. We don’t have to spend our days struggling with temptation and sin.

Jesus didn’t die on the cross to make us a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17), and write his laws on our hearts (Jeremiah 31:34) for nothing. He made us part of the new covenant and his kingdom. We have much more important work to do than continue to return to the issue of temptation and sin.

Jesus died so that we could be free (Galatians 5:1). The struggle with sin is over the moment we begin to serve Christ. We are dead to sin (Romans 6:1-4; Ephesians 2:1-4). Christians need to focus on the other part of being dead to sin. We are alive to God.

Our spirits have been regenerated, living for God alone. My contention with holiness is that the chief battle remains in the mind of the believer. If only we realize what it truly means to be saved. We focus on the wrong things. We focus on sin and temptation rather than how to please God.

Christians don’t realize their identity and authority in Christ. Don’t rehash a struggle that has already been won. We are already free from these things. They have no power over us unless we give them power.

I hear Christians say, “I’m a sinner saved by grace.” But this has already happened. We were sinners saved by grace. I would rather say, “I’m a saint living in God’s grace.” It’s time to commit to holy living and obey the Holy Spirit always in everything.

Settle this truth in your mind. Don’t give temptation the time of day. Don’t think about it or dwell on it. Don’t let it have any power. Even though Jesus has freed us from sin, we can choose to sin. We can cheapen the power of his death and resurrection.

Nobody lost their free will when they were saved. We can still choose to go back to the former ways. But when everyone understands what it means to be dead to sin and to live only for God’s pleasure, they will never return to that old lifestyle.

Every Christian can live a holy life that pleases God. Every Christian can walk in victory over temptation, sinful desires, and sin. Every Christian can focus on pleasing God instead of the battle in the trenches.

If we couldn’t live a sinless life that pleases God, why did God command us to be holy as God is holy (Leviticus 11:44-45; 19:2; 1 Peter 1:16)? Scripture bears witness in both the Old Testament and the New Testament that God has commanded us to live a holy life.

What an honor it is to be commanded to take on this attribute of God in our lives. We can’t do it on our own. Everyone needs the power of the Holy Spirit and the commitment to obey every command that comes from him.

So the steps to living a sinless life are:

  1. Understand in your mind that you are a new creature, created to please God and set free from sin. You are dead to sin and it has no hold or control over you.
  2. Commit to obeying the Holy Spirit and everything at all times. Don’t even consider any other path. Use your free will to focus on pleasing God rather than entertaining temptation and sin.
  3. Seek ways to please God (Philippians 4:8). It all starts with thinking about it and then doing it.

You can live in the power of the Holy Spirit. You can lock in victory over sin on a regular basis. As new creatures in Christ, we are designed to walk with Christ. Sin is a rare occurrence. As C.S. Lewis said, Christianity is a path less tried. I would add that holiness is the path even less tried by Christians. Why do we give up so easily?

What have you been taught considering the possibility of not sinning against God on a regular basis? Leave a comment and tell me what you think about walking in victory.

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2 Responses to You Can Be Holy

  1. Colleen E McCauley says:

    How are we to understand Paul’s words to Timothy where he describes himself as “chief sinner” in the present tense? 1Timothy 1:15.

    • Jonathan Srock says:

      That’s a great question, Colleen! If you look at the entire paragraph, from 1 Timothy 1:12-17, you will notice that verse 15 is the only sentence in the present. The rest of them are in the past tense. Paul is looking back on the moment of his conversion and call to service in God’s kingdom as an apostle.

      He shows that he was formerly a sinner. verse 13 actually mentions the word “formerly.” As he looks back, he sees that Jesus was patient with him and brought him to salvation. The verse that is in the present tense refers to a sagging that he has concerning his former lifestyle. Paul always had a problem with the fact that he killed Christians before he became one. He never fills that he is worthy to serve as an apostle with the former lifestyle he had.

      So he points out that he was at the time of conversion the chief of sinners. He is looking back at the past and putting the saying in the present because at the time it was his present. But now it is the past, as indicated by all of the verbs being in the past tense through the rest of the paragraph. It’s like he’s taking a snapshot of the moment of conversion and called a service in Acts 9. Does that help at all?

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