Our "Holiness Unto The Lord"
is in the Name, the Face and Person of Jesus Christ
First of all, before we discuss what holiness is and what holiness is not, let’s look to see how a Bible dictionary defines holiness. The Vine’s Expository Dictionary has this to say about holiness: 1. hagiasmos (translated "holiness") in the A.V. Rom.6:19,22; 1Thess.4:7; 1Tim.2:15; Heb.12:14 is always rendered "sanctification" in the R.V.
In the Bible Dictionary it says that holiness signifies separation to God.
If we say that holiness is signified by "separation to God" —that seems right and it sounds nice, even lofty. It certainly sounds like something we as Christians could all attain to with the help of God. As Christians we believe (with God's help) it is possible for us to mentally, morally and physically separate ourselves unto God. But in reality the very idea, the concept of saying that holiness is ‘separation to God’ is somewhat of misleading half-truth.
We must note that the Bible dictionary did not say that separation to God is what holiness is, instead it said that “holiness signifies separation to God”. There is a considerable difference between defining holiness in terms of our own separation to God and saying that holiness signifies separation to God.
From our human perspective, according to what we have been taught, Christians tend to view holiness as separation from the world and avoidance of the lusts thereof. We tend to define holiness and we also tend to judge "holiness" (or the lack thereof) based upon various degrees of mental, moral &/or physical separation (from the world) unto God. I am sure many would agree (and some would even argue) that that is what holiness is . Many would insist that holiness is “our separation” unto God. But this too falls short of what true holiness really is.
When we define holiness as separation from the world and avoiding lusts thereof in obedience to God, then from man's perspective we inadvertently take holiness out of the context of Christ, whereby we fall into the religious trap of trying to define holiness out of it's proper context which, of course, is "in Christ". Before we know it we find ourselves on the slippery slope of measuring holiness by what we do or not do, by where we go or do not go, who we should be with or not be with. In the process of trying to define holiness out of the proper context of Christ, we easily slip into the same legalistic pharisaical issues (taste not, touch not, new moon’s and sabbaths etc.) that the scriptures warn against. In legalism (which is in effect an attempt to legislate holiness) there is no end to the kinds of things we will require of ourselves and of others.
Taking holiness out of the context of Christ, defining holiness from the human perspective and falling into legalism, these go hand-in-hand with a religious spirit which is given place in our lives when we indulge our own judgmental definitions of what is or is not holiness, of what does or does not constitute holiness. Once we enter into such folly, we adopt rules and ordinances by which we then define for ourselves (and for others) what we think constitutes holiness even to the point of judging by our rules and by our ordinances who is going to heaven and who is going to hell because someone does not perform according to our own standards based upon our own definition of what constitutes holiness and/or godly separation from the world.
Out of our gratitude for His saving grace and out of our love for God and sincere desire to please Him, even out of a heartfelt desire to avoid sin, we tend to over look God’s own provision for the justification and sanctification of the believer (which is only by God Himself through the shed blood of Jesus Christ). When we tie our salvation to man’s own precepts, when we tie our salvation to the doctrines of men, we are actually taking away from and adding to the cross of Christ. We must never forget that our holiness is in Him and of Him and only by Him who alone is Holy! Our holiness is in, and of and by Jesus Christ who is Himself our holiness on our behalf before God. Holiness is ascribed to us only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ.
Out of a sincere desire to serve God, unfortunately many people begin to add to the word of God through their own teachings: by teaching based upon man’s own misinterpretations of what we think holiness is or is not. Our legalistic views (our rules, ordinances and man-made doctrines) of what we think “constitutes holiness” soon becomes what the Bible refers to as vainglorious pursuits; it is folly and abomination in the sight of God. Such vainglorious religious-minded dead works are an affront to God.
God gave His only Begotten Son to suffer and die for our sins. He shed His precious blood on His cross for the sins of the entire world and His blood is sufficient for the forgiveness of ALL of the sins of the whole world, except if you smoke —right? (How silly is that?) If not smoking, or not eating meat and/or adherence to man-made rules and ordinances, holy days, new moons or sabbaths is what you think holiness is, then I’d have to ask: have you lost your ever-lovin’ mind??? Should we smoke? No, of course not. Is smoking bad for us? Yes, of course it is. Are there natural consequences for smoking? Yes, we know there are. But if a Christian smokes, does that mean they are going to hell? NO! (God help those who believe and teach that!) Our salvation in Christ is just that: it is salvation that is in, of and by Jesus Christ.
Adherence to man-made doctrines, to precepts and ordinances of man regarding various aspects of life (including holy days, new moons and sabbaths) is a form of religious bondage; it becomes a vainglorious pursuit that is of man and not of God. Such pompous religious-minded poppycock is nothing less than legalistic vainglorying in the flesh.
Those who add doctrines of men to our salvation and those who misuse the word of God (to teach such things) are trampling the blood of the Son of God underfoot of men. Woe unto any who try to make non-smoking or not eating meat or outward adornment, or new moon or sabbaths etc. a condition necessary to having salvation or to keeping the salvation of one’s soul. Jesus Christ Himself has purchased our souls with His own blood and we dare not diminish so great a salvation with such religious-minded folly!
Another thing that holiness is not about is our dead works. In our human zeal to please God, we tend to easily fall into dead works worked in the flesh. We must never over look the fact that "holiness" is more than having high moral standards and/or keeping a particular level of detachment from the world. Of course, we are to avoid ungodliness but we are to also avoid legalism which defines a variety of things in the world as though doing so is ‘holiness’. Legalism is itself ungodly; it is an ungodly work of the flesh to be repented of!
IF holiness is to be defined as keeping high moral standard —and IF detachment from the things of this world is holiness, then a good Moslem could be defined as holy because of his separation from the world and because of his detachment from worldly things, right? And a good Buddhist or Hindu ...and so on, right? Unlike the world and all the religions of the world, the Christian's holiness is about separation of man “into the Lord Jesus Christ Himself” whereby Jesus Christ Himself becomes our only holiness!
A cloistered eunuch, a chaste nun, a religious hermit, a Buddhist priest, a monk and even a non-denominational celibate can all be completely separated from the world and in all their efforts to be holy, they can still be ungodly. Our only true holiness is in Christ, of God and by God Himself. It is God who hallows us through His Son even as it was in the Old Testament when He told the children of Israel: "...I am the Lord which hallow thee". (cf.Lev.22:32b)>
We are sanctified by faith in Christ: Ac 26:18 “To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.”
Jesus Christ saves those who have received Him by His shed blood and the scripture tells us plainly that in Himself, Jesus Christ has justified us in the sight of God. (cf. Acts 13:39) The scripture also tells us that those whom He justified, He also sanctified. 1Cor. 6:11 “And such were some of you: but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.”
In Christ we are called by His Name and are to ascribe our holiness (not of ourselves or by our works but) as holiness which is in and of and by Him who alone is Holy.
Heb 10:14 “For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.” When Aaron served as High Priest in Israel, Aaron was a type of Christ (who was to yet come). The priesthood of Aaron served as a type of the Priesthood of Jesus Christ as our Great High Priest. Part of Aaron’s service as High Priest was to offer sacrifice for his sins and for the sins of the people of God. Among Aaron’s priestly garments or vestments was a hat called a mitre. The Mirriam Webster Dictionary defines a mitre as: “the official headdress of the ancient Jewish high priest consisting of a linen turban having attached at the front a gold plate with the inscription ‘Holy to the Lord’.” The Lord commanded that the words “Holiness unto the Lord” be engraved or inscribed on a gold plate that was over the forehead of Aaron (as High Priest). The inscription refers or points us to Jesus Christ who is Himself our Great High Priest, to Jesus Himself who is our holiness. To the Christian believer, we are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ; we are clothed with Him. In a similar fashion, the Bible refers to putting on the full armor of God: the helmet of our salvation which represents Jesus who is our head as our assurance of salvation in Him. We put on the breastplate of righteousness, again this speaks of Jesus Christ as our righteousness etc. He is also the word of God (represented by the sword of the Spirit. He is the Truth by which we are girded. We are to have our feet shod with the "preparation of the "Gospel of peace". This too speaks of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself: the reconciliation of man to God is by Him, i.e., HE is our peace. (cf. Heb.6:11-17)
Holiness, godliness, righteousness and our salvation itself is all about Him (not about us or our dead works). It is all about Jesus Christ who is our all and in all on behalf of all who will receive Him! Jesus Himself is not only our righteousness, He is also our sanctification, He stands (for us in our place) as our only “holiness” before God.
Because Aaron’s service as High Priest and his vestments represented or pointed to Christ Jesus as our holiness and as our High Priest, in effect, God Himself ascribed His own holiness to Aaron on Aaron’s behalf. Aaron’s vestments were (for an example) to us: to we who (like Aaron) are human and less than God. Unless we are clothed with Jesus Christ, i.e., with Him as our “Holiness unto the Lord” on our behaf, we cannot stand in the presence of such a Holy God.
I asked the Lord if He would define ‘peace’ for me and He taught me that ‘peace’ is the “reconciliation of man to God” (in Christ). The scripture tells us that Jesus Christ is our peace (Eph. 3:14) and Jesus Himself said that no man cometh unto the Father but by me. (John 14:6) In Heb 12:14 it is written that we are to: “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord ...” So then, Jesus Christ is our peace: our reconciliation of man to God is in and of and by the shed blood of Jesus Christ. Jesus is also our “holiness unto the Lord” for without Him as our holiness, without Him as our spiritual covering, without being clothed with Jesus Christ as our righteousness and as our holiness, no man shall see God.
If we hope to stand in the presence of God who is alone is Holy, then we must be found in Christ, clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ who is our holiness! He is also our wedding garment. Do you have on the wedding garment? Are you clothed with Jesus Christ (with Him alone as your holiness before God) or have you exchanged His glory for religious dead works and vainglorying quests or pursuits of man-made pseudo-Christian-holiness worked in the flesh?
The scripture refers to Jesus Christ as the Head of the body of Christ and HE is also the Head of the church. The New Testament does not teach religious rules or legalistic formulas as a means of attaining to holiness. Instead the Bible shows us that without Jesus Christ as our “Holiness Unto the Lord" no man shall see God!
The Bible tells very clearly that we must be holy: 1Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. But how can we be holy and how is holiness to be maintained in the midst of this present world? The only correct answer is: by Him. By the shed blood of Jesus Christ, by salvation which is in by and of God in the person of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ who Himself is our redemption, our sanctification (holiness) , justification and righteousness (for us on our behalf). God knows that man who is less than God cannot be either perfect or holy in the sight of God: because we cannot make ourselves perfect or holy, God Himself has worked it for us in His Son. Knowing that man is less than God and that unlike God man is not perfect: God has provided only one Way that any man can be holy and perfect in His sight; there is no other way that holiness can ever attained or maintained except by Jesus Christ Himself who is the ‘Way’, the Truth and the Life... (John 14:6). Righteousness and holiness are not attained by any systematic formulas nor by legalistic rules and man-made religious ordinances. True holiness can only be attributed to us by God through His Son who has redeemed us and who hides us in Himself whereby He (now and forever) stands as our holiness and our righteousness in our place on behalf of all who will receive Him by grace through faith in Him.
When we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, He not only forgives and cleanses us from all of our sins, He also hides us in Himself and counts us as members of the body of Christ . We stand by grace through faith in Him: we stand “in and by” Him who alone is Holy and who alone is our holiness.
Whenever we are tempted to turn from holiness by grace through faith in Him to revert to religious dead works done in the flesh, we should remember the words of Paul the Apostle who said, “I die daily”. Paul kept in mind always that through the cross of Christ by His death and His resurrection, the Lord Jesus Christ (now and forever) hides us "in Himself" who alone is our "holiness unto the Lord". By faith in Him we are dead to sin (Rom. 6:2) but alive unto God through Jesus Christ. Rom. 6:11 “Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
When we accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior, we accept the provision of God for our righteousness, justification and sanctification in Christ by grace through faith in Him. We are clothed with Christ and by putting on the Lord Jesus Christ as our spiritual covering we are acknowledging the Lord Jesus Christ as our righteousness, as our justification, as our holiness, as our sanctification and our glorification. We are hidden by Him and in Him, trusting Him to clothe us with His own Righteousness. Jesus becomes our robe of righteousness.
To be endued with power by the Holy Ghost actually means that we are clothed with power as a garment. Again that power is not something we do or something we use. When it says in the scripture that we will be endued with power after the Holy Ghost has come upon us, that power is Jesus Christ who is Himself the power of God: He clothes us with Himself as with a garment. Holiness cannot be produced by the power of man: not by the power of our mind nor by the power of man's will. Holiness isn't wrought by us: not by changing our disposition (although that is certainly a good thing to do), nor by the obedience of man, nor by our best intentions to be good or by our desire to please God, not even by the powerful emotions of the human soul. (Acts 3:12 Rom.1:4 Heb.12:10 1Thes.3:13)
Holiness is a divine attribute, ascribed to man only by God (for us on our behalf) in the person of Jesus Christ as our righteousness, as our justification and as our sanctification. Holiness is not earned or learned, it is not a human attribute, it is not an endeavor of man. Holiness is not something we can do or produce by firmly resolving to live right or by keeping our promises to God to do better. Holiness is not produced as the result of man's most sincere resolutions to be good or to do what is right. However noble our intentions such promises are easily made and easily broken. EVEN the so-called God-enabled "promise keepers” kind of godliness will not produce holiness; it is not only faulty, it is also highly deceptive.
Just as holiness or godliness cannot be achieved by man neither can it be maintained by man, not even by the firmest resolve of man's empowered will Our emotional response to God cannot and does not produce holiness either. No matter how noble and honest our efforts , no matter how beneficial, good or right it may seem to us to be, legalistic separation from the world is nothing less than a religious-spirited dead work done in the flesh. Regardless of how approved or esteemed our religious dead works are in our own sight, they are still an abomination in the sight of God. All man-made attempts at achieving holiness are nothing less than the soul of man religiously usurping the work of the Spirit of God unto man’s own self. No matter how right our motives may seem, it is by legalism and religious dead works that man ignorantly supplants true holiness!
Holiness is not accomplished by tapping into God’s power or by using His word for our own so-called God anointed and supposedly appointed purposes. Holiness is not accomplished by asking God to empower us to be like God. True holiness is by and of God who hides us by the power of God in Him (Jesus) who is God! Jesus Christ has given Himself to us to be holiness for us (in our place) on our behalf! (All of Him and none of us.) But if we want to try to produce our own holiness, He will let us try: we can knock ourselves out trying. If we keep insisting on our works of righteousness, our own works of holiness and/or of sanctification, then He will have to let us find out (even the hard way) that righteousness and sanctification are not of man but of God. He will let us find out that true holiness is only of God and by God: in and by Him who is God (i.e., Jesus Christ).
Rather than striving to be holy by firmly resolving to "get our lives right with God" or by trying to "heartily amend our ways" even by adopting a “change of mind” toward "right conduct" etc. we must repent of trying to accomplish our own holiness. Holiness is not worked by us through the power of our mind, not by our emotions, not by the resolve of our own will ... and holiness is not about behavior modification: holiness is not about our behavior modification, it is not about behavior modifying a dead Adam. Quite to the contrary, even though many of our efforts are commendable even heroic, when all is said and done they will not cause us to be ‘holy as He is holy” nor ‘perfect’ as our heavenly Father is perfect. True "holiness" is only wrought (for us) by GOD through (by and in) the person of Jesus Christ as the gift of grace.
Holiness or godliness can never be accomplished by man or as a result of man's works. Holiness is only by the will of God and by the power of God through Jesus Christ Himself who alone stands as our substitute.
No matter how much we may desire to produce obedience, goodness, meekness, gentleness, kindness, patience, self-control, even godliness and holiness and love itself, these all the work of the Spirit which is wrought for us by God in and by and through Jesus Christ His Son our Lord. Is it right to be loveing, obedient, good, meek, kind, patient...? Yes, of course. But it is futile for man to try to work the work of the Holy Spirit especially by our own dead works.
There is reference in scripture to the very first principals of Christ in which we are called to repent of dead works, so then why do so many teach dead works, why do so many teach ordinances (taste not, touch not) and the keeping of holy days and new moons and sabbaths? (Jesus Christ Himself is our Sabbath rest.) We are called to Christ Jesus our Lord, we are called to rest in His work which God has worked for us by His Spirit in the person of His Son. (By-the-way, “in the Name of Jesus” means in the PERSON of Jesus Christ even all that HE IS for us in our place.) We are called to rest in the perfect work of God which "He has worked in Himself" on our behalf in Christ.
We need to ask the Lord to deliver us from our dead works and ask Jesus Himself to be our holiness and our obedience...for us in our place. Where we see in His word that we are to be humble, we should ask the Father to work the humility of Christ in us and for us on our behalf through His Son. When we see in the scripture that we are to be in the world but not of the world, we should ask the Father to work even that for us through His Son (not by our own works). We are to ascribe holiness unto Him who alone is Holy and we are to "put on the Lord Jesus Christ" asking God to hide us in Him and by Him who alone is our righteousness, who alone is our "holiness unto the Lord".
Vines Expository Dictionary also defines "holiness" (1Cor.1:30; 2Thess.2:13; 1Pet.1:2) as the “resultant state of the conduct befitting those so separated”. The resultant state of conduct befitting those who are so called? In and of itself that can be misleading. Those who are counted as holy in Christ are holy by their separation unto God Himself by, through and in His Son. Yes, there will be a difference between the conduct of the saved and the conduct of heathen but our change of conduct does not save us! Even a heathen can put on legalistic, religious works. Even a heathen can have seemingly holy conduct. (I call that ‘holy heathenism’.)
Dead works and religious legalism is not godly conduct and should never be mistaken for godliness; it is an outward form of godliness which denies the power thereof. The very idea of a supposedly holy “heathen” presents an absurd example of how conduct based holiness (which is of man) is false form of holiness that is based on outward behavior. Holiness is not produced or measured by our level or degree of separation from the world. Holiness is not the modification of man's behavior, it is not by good works and it is more than having right moral conduct. That describes the world's own estimation or definition of holiness; which is so-called holiness produced by dead works done in the flesh and by religious legalism which are both very subtle forms of rebellion against God, all dressed up and disguised as obedience to the Gospel. On the other hand, true holiness is only of God by His Spirit in and through the person of Jesus Christ.
Outward changes in behavior will be evident by the "obedience of Christ" which God works for us by His Spirit in the person of Jesus Christ (when we are in Christ) but those changes are not what produces holiness; He is. The changes which take place as a result of His holiness are worked for us by God through Christ Himself. When the Apostle Paul said, “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” it is not about Paul, it is about Jesus Christ working for us on my behalf by His Spirit. True holiness for the believer is not my own holiness but His! To be "in Christ" is supposed to mean that it is no longer I that liveth but it is Jesus Christ who lives in me and He (God) works His works for me on my behalf through His Son!
The believer of his own self can do nothing; he cannot even "die to self". If we humans could be empowered to ‘die to self’ God would have simply givien us the power to do it, then Jesus did not need to come to die for us in our place. God’s word teaches us that we are crucified in Christ, it is God’s own work which He has worked for us through the cross of Christ and which HE has attributed to us by the GIFT of grace: by Christ in us the hope of glory: He is the gift of grace!
Self is already slain in Christ through His cross by the obedience of Christ (all of which is worked for us) by the faith of Jesus. The believer himself is slain and his life is already reckoned as dead and our life is hid with Christ in God by the work of God through the cross of Christ by the obedience of Christ through the faith of Him! (All of Him and none of us.)
When the Apostle Paul said I die daily, it is that on a daily basis Paul trusted Jesus Christ to hide Paul in Himself by His grace through the faith of Christ in the Name of Jesus (i.e., in the person of Jesus Christ) as Savior and Lord. Paul did not "die to self" by his own will, nor by his own works, nor by Paul's own faithfulness nor by Paul's own obedience. Paul died daily in that he kept in his remembrance the blood of Jesus Christ which He shed for our sins. Paul looked to the cross of Christ, to the suffering, death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus and through Him by the faith of Christ and the obedience of Christ, our redemption.
Paul did no works by own power nor by his own holiness by only by Jesus Christ Himself: by the grace of God’s own Spirit who works the worked of God in the person of Jesus Christ on Paul's behalf! Acts 3:12 “And when Peter saw it, he answered unto the people, Ye men of Israel, why marvel ye at this? or why look ye so earnestly on us, as though by our own power or holiness we had made this man to walk?
The Vines Expository Dictionary also defines "holiness" as: (1Thess.4:3,4,7) sanctification as “the state predetermined by God for believers into which in grace He calls them, and in which THEY begin THEIR Christian course.” Look carefully at how the text of the Vines Expository Dictionary and other commentaries have inadvertently re-defined what holiness is. In man’s own understanding, we have CHANGED holiness into a something we believe we can do.
Holiness is not a walk we walk, holiness is a who, who carries us and who hides us in Himself as He walks the walk for us in our place. We have turned ‘holiness’ into something we think we (as Christians) can do, into something we think we are supposed to produce, something we even try to maintain by our own works. We have also turned our false standards into prescribed methods of holiness (dead works) that we tie to the salvation (or damnation) of ourselves and others.
Not only have we turned holiness into a dead work ‘into which’ we think God has called believers, we have taken it upon ourselves to judge others (as going to heaven or hell) by our false religious-minded standards of what does and does not constitute holiness. God’s ultimate definition of Holiness is Himself. Every other form of holiness falls short of His glory. Only in Christ will any man be counted as holy. Only by the work of God through the cross of Christ (by the shed blood of Jesus Christ) does God ascribe ‘holiness’ to any man.
As a result of our religious minded legalistic folly and vainglorying in the flesh, holiness has been reduced to a humanistic work that man is supposedly empowered to do. The pursuit of holiness has been turned into a man-made quest: a lofty and noble pursuit highly esteemed in the sight of men... holiness has become to many a work which men and women of God are taught to aspire to, even a ‘state of being’ as though it is something that can be attained by our works.
Holiness is no longer by grace through faith in Him the moment we turn it into a work of man “into which” believers think they are called, when it becomes a part of their Christian walk or their so-called Christian course which they must do. Religious-minded folly is leading millions into dead works and legalistic hypocrisy.
True holiness is not about a mental or moralistic mind-set, neither is it about having the right level of separation from the world. Holiness is more than right conduct and it is not a pseudo-spiritual or intellectual ‘state of being’. Holiness is not a philosophical frame of mind "into which" we are called. HOLINESS IS JESUS CHRIST INTO WHOM WE ARE CALLED!
How subtly the truth of Jesus Christ Himself as our “holiness unto the Lord" has been changed into the lie. How subtly the truth of Him as our holiness has been changed from that which is "of God alone" into a "work of man” that man can supposedly work for God"! How easily man has shifted the emphasis away from the work of God by, through and in Christ alone, making it into the works of the believers themselves. Men have changed holiness (which is the work of God in Christ) into the pursuit of something that we call holiness, into a form of godliness (dead works) which man likes to believe God has called man himself to accomplish (vainglory) for "the glory of God."
The text of the Vines Expository Dictionary should have not have defined holiness as a state of being into which we are called but as "HIM INTO WHOM" we are called! We are called by God, into Jesus Christ who is our Holiness, i.e., to be hidden by God in Christ who is our holiness. For this reason the subtitle of this article should be: "Holiness is not a what but a Who! HE alone is our "Holiness Unto the Lord"!
Like most Bible dictionaries & commentaries the text of the Vines Expository Dictionary merely reflects the erroneous teachings of the churches over many generations regarding holiness & obedience etc. which are not only erroneous but grossly misleading!
"Holiness" is much more than a state of being "into which" we are called. To be correct the text should read, holiness is the person of Jesus Christ "INTO WHOM" we are called!
There is a world of difference between walking in holiness by resting in Christ by grace through the faith of Christ and that of man's substitutionary "Christ-like walk" which men refer to as our “call to holiness". Continuing the error of man's own misunderstanding of holiness, man has re-redefined holiness as a personal state of being which is supposedly attainable by believers who are led to believe they are called to "walk” their Christian walk. Quite often this is interpreted to mean that they are supposedly empowered by God to live their Christian life and to walk their "Christ-like" walk of holiness. Instead we are all called to rest in Christ, asking God to work His works for us by His Spirit through Christ as we trust Him as our holiness by grace through faith in Him.
Sadly our eagerness to please God, combined with man's own misunderstanding of holiness leads many zealous believers to undertake a desperate (and thoroughly religious) man-made quest to attain to holiness. This produces a man-made ‘form of godliness’. Many mistakenly believe that their ‘form of godliness’ is true holiness: as if true holiness is the result of how we live our lives.
Are we to live godly in this present world? Yes. But we must keep what we read in God’s word in its proper context: we can only live godly “in Christ” in this present world. The moment holiness is put into the proper context of being ‘in Christ’ then we see that holiness is only of God by His grace and not by our works. Everything the believer is called to be ‘in Christ’ must always be kept in the proper context of Christ. Everything the Bible says we are ‘in Christ’ and of Him and by Him. The very fact that these things are placed in the context of “in Christ” or “in the Lord” in God’s own word should tell us that we must keep these things in the proper context which is “in Christ”
Go ahead and try to find anything in the Gospel or the epistles that appropriates any good or godly thing to any believer or saint that is ever presented to us without some reference to “in the Lord” or “in Christ” or “of Him, or “by Him” or “by His Spirit”, or “through Christ”. Everything gift that is given to us is worked by His Spirit as the Spirit wills. All the fruits of the Spirit are all by God through His Son by His Spirit. The works of God are all of Him and none of us which why He always works them in Himself, by God through His Son by His Holy Spirit. Like faith, holiness itself is not by works: it is not of man: holiness is of and by God. Holiness is only attributed to us ‘in Christ’ by grace through faith in Him.
True holiness is not the result of man’s own attempts at godliness or righteousness; All of our human efforts to produce holiness are an exercise in futility. The Bible warns that such things are about our own will-worship which genders to pride and "self-righteousness".
The scripture tells us plainly that Jesus Christ Himself is the word of God and that He is the power of God. Those who go about trying to establish their own righteousness (and so-called holiness by their works) produce a form of godliness denying the power thereof. 2Tim. 3:5 “Having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away.” Jesus Christ is the power of God. When we try to establish our own righteousness and/or when we try to make ourselves holy, we deny the power thereof, If we go about fashioning our own form of godliness, we are in effect denying the power of true holiness (which is Jesus Christ).
The false pursuit of man's holiness leaves many believers frustrated, feeling miserable and disillusioned, finding fault and condemning themselves and one another. Why? Because of the “teachings”, “doctrines” and “commandments” of men. We have not sought the Face of God for the Counsel of God by the Spirit of God in the eyes of His Understanding; instead we walk in the supposedly sanctified counsel of our own minds and do what seems right to us in our own sight and yet we attribute it to God. We walk in the counsel of our own minds, even in man’s own understanding of God’s word instead of going to God Himself for Understanding by His Spirit (as we ought.)
Men-teach men (by doctrines of men) to obey the counsel and understanding of men regarding "how we are to walk" in holiness and obedience; we are led of men which we ‘perceive to be wise’. Often we are swayed by their knowledge and even by their apparent ‘giftedness’ even by their supposedly godly understanding of scripture. In short, instead of seeking the Face of God for His Counsel by His Spirit in the eyes of His Understanding, we are searching for knowledge, wisdom and counsel of God in the ‘faces of men’. The scripture says that Jesus Christ has been made wisdom unto us; we ought to go to Him with everything and let Him take us through His word and teach us by His Spirit We even go to men that we suppose are of God rather than to the Lord Himself —as if going to these men and women is tantamount to going to God? There is no substitute for the real thing!
Christians are taught of men to attain to false forms of godliness by means of man's own supposedly ‘grace-powered’ dead works! We are fed half-truth + half error by those who claim to teach the Gospel. But half-truth + half-error is the lukewarm Laodicean counsel of men (not fit for anything but to be vomited out of His mouth!)
Just as the vain leaders of Israel led the people into apostasy through the leaven of their false doctrines (and by their hypocrisy), the scripture warns about being led astray by our own leaders; His word tells us that the leaders of this people cause them to err... “For the leaders of this people cause them to err; and they that are led of them are destroyed.” (Isa.9:16)
Our teachers ignorantly instruct us to "pursue god-like-holiness" even telling us that we are "enabled by God to perform it" by grace-power as we ignorantly turn the grace of God into a people-empowering ‘force’. By the force of our God-powered will we are supposedly empowered to attain to holiness as though holiness is an "it", as though “it” is something we can accomplish. In so doing many are turning the gift of grace and holiness which is only of God, into something for men to work, to do and to achieve!
For many believers and unbelievers alike HOLINESS has become "a what" instead of a “who”. Holiness has become something which man can aspire to, something man aims to achieve instead of a Who (Jesus Christ) whom we are to pursue! In Christ our lives own lives are surrendered and given up to God not by our own obedience but by the obedience of Christ by grace through the faith of Him who is Himself our strength. Remember: it is not by our might, nor by our power instead the Bible says in Zec.4:6b ... “Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the LORD of hosts.”
Throughout the entire Bible God is saying it over and over again, in so many different places and in various ways that it is: not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord...!
In our folly we try to make "grace a work" by pursuing holiness, godliness and even obedience as though these are things we can accomplish for ourselves: as if holiness is a state of being that we can supposedly attain to "by grace-power". In so doing we have unwittingly turned the gift of grace into "a work". If it is by grace then it cannot be of ourselves neither can it be by our works. The moment it becomes our work, then the scripture teaches it is no more grace. Rom. 11:6 “And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work.”
To our shame and frustration we seek to be empowered to achieve our own works of obedience (and righteousness, and holiness, and sanctification) rather than asking God to cause us to rest in the "obedience of Christ" and in Him as our holiness. Ever since the fall of man, man lusts to be "as God”. Even though there is "none good but God" (Mt.19:17; Mar.10:18) and even though God alone is "Holy" (there is none like Him; holiness and righteousness are of Him), man still seeks to seeking to establish his own righteousness, make himself holy by attaining to his own form of godliness. By false teachings and false doctrines (which are of man and not of God) many believers (even in the early churches) ignorantly departed from the truth. The scripture even speaks of those who were "fallen from grace" cf. Gal.5:4 “Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace. 5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.” As it pertains to salvation, so the same also pertains to godliness and holiness.
Just like the foolish Galatians many believers today are in effect "fallen from grace" through their own religious dead works which they tie to their salvation (or the supposed loss thereof). For example: a born-again Christian wrote to ask if he was going to hell because he smokes cigarettes. Another man, also a born-again Christian, confided that he had planned to commit suicide because he was a beer guzzling alcoholic (his description, not mine); he thought he was beyond redemption. Cigarettes kill and so does alcohol abuse but these are works of the flesh which according to 1John 1:9 are no less forgivable than any other of the many sins which are common to man. These two born-again believers had apparently forgotten that it is written: "If we confess our sins, HE is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1John 1:9) If we confess our sins, does it say that He forgives and He cleanses us from some unrighteousness? NO! His word says: HE is faithful to forgive us and to cleanse us from A-L-L unrighteousness! Does HE save us only if we are worthy? No, HE saves us in spite of the fact that none of us are worthy! Does HE save us "only as long as" we do not backslide? No! God Himself said He was married to backsliders; it is called grace! (cf. Jer.3:14) Does He forgive only those who deserve to be forgiven? No! (it's called Mercy!) He forgives us in spite of the fact that we do not deserve forgiveness.
The scripture clearly says that HE is able to save to the uttermost those who come unto God by Him! Heb 7:25 "Wherefore HE is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing HE ever liveth to make intercession for them." Our salvation (holiness and godliness) is in Him and of Him and by Him who is our living hope, salvation that is incorruptible, undefiled, that does not fade away but is reserved in heaven for us... as it is written: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, 4 To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, 5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time." (1Peter1:3) Jesus Himself is the power of God who keeps our salvation (by grace through faith) in Him. Rom. 4:6 "Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, 7 Saying, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. 8 Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.
In both cases those two born-again believers were ignorant of the very basic truth(s) of the Gospel. Unfortunately, they are not isolated cases. Their mistaken notions and false beliefs were fostered by the traditions of men, by false teachings and false doctrines and commandments of men. Performance-based or works-based salvation, as well as performance-based or works-based holiness are the result of false teachings and false doctrines that undermine the truth of entire Gospel. Performance-based or works-based salvation aborts the faith of many by leading the people (away from Christ) into religious bondage. Instead of resting in Jesus Christ Himself as our salvation, people fall under condemnation of the enemy to despair of the grace and mercy of God in Christ. Clearly "works-based or performance-based" salvation, godliness and holiness are the fundamentals of a false gospel which undermines the Gospel of Jesus Christ, aka the Gospel of Grace.
Legalistic forms of godliness and pseudo-holiness are part and parcel of a another gospel (a man-centered false gospel) which undermines the most central truth of the true Gospel (regarding the grace, mercy and love of God and the atoning blood) of Jesus Christ. Countless numbers of Christians are mistakenly led to believe that once they are born-again, they must 'keep their own salvation' (from that point on); they are taught that "they" are "empowered" (by God) to maintain their own righteousness, godliness, holiness, sanctification etc. In contrast to that, the scripture tells us quite plainly that Jesus Christ is the author and the finisher of our faith (Heb.12:2) and that HE (God) keeps us by His power (i.e., by Jesus Christ) in Himself (by His grace). (cf. 1Peter1:5)
Today, just as in the early churches, many believers are being misled by pharisaical religious (even Judaistic forms of) legalism which are no less dead works done in the flesh than those believers who are led to believe that they must complete in the flesh that which was begun by the Spirit. This is the same error that had overtaken the Galatian believers in the early church (eg. in Galatia) whom Paul warned were fallen from grace.
By striving to work in flesh that which was begun in the Spirit, trying to work that which can only be accomplished by God in Christ, we fall from grace.
By despising what God has worked for us in Christ, in favor of our own works, we do "despite the spirit of grace" (cf. Heb.10:29)i.e., when we strive to fulfill the law by our own dead works. (This includes performance-based or works-based salvation as well as performance-based or works-based holiness!) Those who follow the words of men, the teachings of men, the doctrines of men and the commandments of men: thinking it is their job to make themselves "holy as HE is holy" and "perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect" by their own works: this is tantamount to making the cross of Christ of none effect, following the wisdom of words instead of resting in the wisdom of God, i.e., in Jesus Christ as our all in all.
1Cor.1:17 “But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: 31 That, according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” It does not get much plainer than that! Jesus Christ Himself is made “wisdom” and “righteousness” and “sanctification” (that means holiness and “redemption"\(that’s salvation) unto us, so that: "he that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.”
Instead of submitting our thoughts and reasoning to the Lord (to get the counsel of God from the Lord Himself) ...and instead of leaning to our own understanding... why don’t we all go to the Lord Himself and ask Him to teach us what He means by what He says? Why don’t we quit going to His word and using His word to tell Him what we think He meant? Instead of judging what we think is or isn’t true by our own multitudes of interpretations of the written word, why don’t we all go to Him and ask Him to take us to His word. Ask Him to teach us what HE means by what He has said? Wow that sounds like such a novel idea, but God had it first. He tells us in His word: lean not unto your own understanding, ... be not wise in your own conceits... come unto Me....learn of Me....seek....knock... ask... we are commanded to seek His Face... we are encouraged to inquire of Him.... John 6:45 “It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me.”
When we lean to our own understanding and follow the counsel of men or the counsel of our own minds about how we are to be "holy as I am is holy and perfect even as your Heavenly Father is Perfect" then instead of true holiness (which is only of God in Christ) man excels in self-deception, dead works, self-righteousness, legalism and hypocrisy. And we do it all in His Name!
Why not seek Him instead? Why not simply ask the Lord Himself for His counsel concerning His word? God's provision for "holiness" is the gift of grace which is "Jesus Christ as our Holiness." His holiness is attributed to us by God in Himself by His grace through the faith of Christ. Just as our salvation is only by grace through faith in Him and is not of ourselves, but it is the gift of God: the gift of grace not of works lest any man should boast —so too is holiness. By the cross of Christ God has slain us together with Christ and He has hidden us in Himself. Holiness is not a what: holiness is not some thing for us to do. Holiness is a who by whom and in whom we are declared righteous and holy.
How is all this supposed to work for us in this present world right where we are now? When the Lord first started teaching me all this, I asked Him if He would give me a sort of ‘where the rubber meets the road’ application for how this is supposed to work for us? Since we are not called to be like the Most High God and we are instead called to rest in Christ who is God, then instead of praying according to our own lusts (for empowerment to be like God) we should be asking the Father to work things for us through His Son, Jesus Christ, who is the power of God.
It is not a coincidence that in these last days, the lust that is in the world (to be a god, to be your own god and/or to be like the Most High God) are the same lusts that are in the churches. We don’t like to admit it but not only are we striving to be as God, we are also pitting our own knowledge of the written word against God Himself (by our interpretations of His word). We even vaunt our own knowledge of the written word against the Knowledge of God Himself. As a human being I know I cannot be as God and I know it is an affront to God for me to think I am... I also know that if we think we know anything, His word says that we know nothing yet as we ought to know... 1Cor. 8:2 “And if any man think that he knoweth any thing, he knoweth nothing yet as he ought to know.”
Instead of praying and begging God to make me like Him, my prayer has become to ask God to work everything for me through His Son. Knowing I should be obedient to God’s word as a Christian, I have learned to ask our heavenly Father to work obedience for me through His Son. By the obedience of Christ, I ask ‘Jesus to be Jesus’ for me in my place. I ask Him to work His obedience, His righteousness, His holiness for me on my behalf. Instead of trying to separate myself from the world (in my own works) He has instructed me to ask Him to be that for me on my behalf through Christ. We should be looking to Jesus to be all that He is for us in our place. We should be trusting Him as our righteousness, asking Him to stand as perfection for us in our place, (It’s not about me, it’s all about Thee, Lord in place of me.)
When I need patience, I no longer ask God to make me patient: if I ask Him to make ‘me’ patient, then He has to show me that in and of my own self, I cannot be patient. Only God Himself is perfect patience. Asking Him to make me ‘patient’ is a lot like asking Him to make me like God. I have learned to ask the Father to work His patience for us through His Son. It is not a formula and it is not about semantics. It is about WHO is the ‘operative person’. Am I the ‘operative person’ or is it Jesus Christ? If it is I, then it is not Christ and if it is Christ, then it is not I. You could say that His atonement (and the gift of grace which is Christ) is the ‘ultimate in replacement’ therapy. As the Father works things for us (through Christ) we know it is all of Him and none of us and God is glorified through His Son.
Jesus Himself stands as not only as our righteousness but also as our “perfection". HE is our holiness, godliness, justification, sanctification, repentance, redemption, salvation, repentance, restoration and rest which are the work of God in Christ.
Therefore holiness is not a personal state of being, holiness is not something we produce by resolving to think better thoughts or by making up our mind to do better or by a fervent desire to please God, or by sincere efforts to "get ourselves right" with God! ...Not by might, nor by power but by Him Alone!
Man perfecting himself by any power is humanism. It is an exercise in futility, it is sheer vanity and it is a stench in the nostrils of God! True holiness is of God by His Spirit which is the Spirit of Grace, which is the Spirit of Holiness which is the Spirit of God, which is also the Spirit of Jesus Christ who is God.
HOLINESS IS A GIFT. Jesus Christ is the gift of grace and our holiness is of Him. Holiness which is “in Christ" is attributed to us the same way we are saved: holiness is by grace through faith and that not of ourselves. Holiness is as much the "gift of God" in Christ as our salvation is.
The next time you pray for patience, or gentleness, or goodness, or kindness etc. try asking the Father to work these godly fruits for you through Jesus Himself. Avoid the pitfall of asking God to empower you to be those things. (Trust God to work these attributes for you on your behalf through His Son).
God did not send Jesus to MAKE MAN LIKE GOD but to hide us in Him who is GOD and to "work His works" (for us) through His Son.
Man cannot be perfect as God is perfect and man cannot be holy as He is Holy ...or righteous, or patient, loving, kind good,.... God alone is all this and more. God did not send Jesus to MAKE MAN like God: He gave us His Son to hide us in Him who alone is like God. He Himself desires to be goodness for us in our place, He Himself desires to be kindness for us in our place —all the things we are not and that which we need are worked for us by God through His Son in and through the person of Jesus Christ.
We err by leaning to our own understanding and we ask amiss according to our own lusts. It a lust in the heart of man to be like the Most High God and when we ask GOD TO MAKE US anything that God is, we are asking Him to make us like God. When we do that, He often answers by allowing us to find out that we cannot be like Him! Jesus Christ did not come to die so that He could just empower us to be like Him. God did not give us His Spirit just to zap-puffy man with God’s power to empower man to become "like the Most High God". Instead God sent His Son (Jesus Christ) to be in us and to hide man in Christ Himself: to replace the old man with the spiritual new man which the scripture tells us is the Lord from heaven (1 Cor.15:47) in whom we are called to rest from our own dead works. Jesus Christ Himself is the second Adam, Jesus Himself is the spiritual new man (not us) and we are hidden by Him in Himself and He counts us as members of His body: the body of Christ by the spirit of adoption.
With all the wisdom and virtue that God could give to man, man would still fail at being like God. Instead of asking GOD to make us holy, or wise or to give us wisdom (so we can blow it like Solomon did) we should ask the Lord Jesus to BE Wisdom for us.
Remember it is all about Him and not about us. Did you ever wonder why —with all the wisdom God gave Solomon, Solomon still blew it. I asked the Lord if it pleased Him would He show me why? I was given to understand that it was because “man cannot use wisdom wisely? Thankfully, Jesus Christ has been made wisdom unto us so that HE (God) is wisdom for us in our place and on our behalf through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. (1Cor.1:24 1Cor.1:30 1Cor.2:7)
We are called to labor to enter into His rest by the faith of Christ. But HOW are we to enter into His rest? That is what this whole article has been about. We are to repent of our dead works and ask Him to bring us into His rest working for us by and through His Son. Our labor is to cease from our own works and to enter into His rest: we are to pray according to His purposes in Christ asking Him to cause us to cease from our own works, we are to ask God to work His works for us through His Son. (I know many people will say that they already do that but many people think it means that we are supposed to ask Him to give us His grace so that we can then do it all by His grace. No. HE alone works His works (for us) by His Spirit through His Son and that is what His grace is for: it is for Him to do and me to rest. there is nothing about I or me doing anything in that.
Jesus Christ came and paid the price, we are bought with a price: we are His. He shed His own blood to be our all and in all on behalf of all who will receive Him. He HIMSELF truly is our all and in all. (cf. Eph.1:23) This is the "simplicity of Christ" and the Wisdom of God: nevertheless not I but Christ... Christ in us the hope of glory!
But THAT sounds much too easy and that seems far too simple and there is no glory in THAT for man himself! In man's own understanding, we ignorantly turn grace into a work of the flesh and make things so much more complicated for ourselves.
Continuing in the error of man's own perception and misunderstanding of scripture, the Vines Bible Dictionary tends to echo many of the sentiments of the churches through many generations of the traditions of men based on the doctrines of men and the commandments of men. True holiness is not something we can attain to, holiness is a Who in Whom we must be hid. Errors in the churches (particularly regarding justification and holiness (as it pertains to our salvation) are reinforced by generations of teachings the for doctrines the commandments of men. False "forms of godliness" are produced by doctrinal steps and traditional notions that have been cannonized in the minds of believers especially where it concerns regarding degrees of worthiness. We must never forget that first and foremost holiness is not a what. Instead holiness is a "Who" (Jesus Christ)
Because we have moved away from Jesus Christ Himself as the most central truth of the Gospel, many people have been led into vain pursuits of so-called godliness and legalistic holiness —as though holiness is some mysterious thing man must decipher and then achieve instead of "Some One" in Whom we are called to rest. We are misled by men who teach us to "pursue it holiness” in the form of god-like-ness we need to capture or in the form of the Christedness of the believer... when we should be seeking His Face and pursuing Him instead!
We are admonished (2Tim.2:11-16) to be "workman who need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth" But there's only one Way to "rightly divide the Word of Truth" and that is by the one and only Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We ought to pursue Him who is Himself the Living Word of God. (Eph.1:17-23) We ought to set aside our own way of thinking, our own understanding and die to the counsel of our own minds by not receiving the logic, reasoning & counsel of men concerning scripture. (1Cor.2:13) We are to defer to the Lord, we are to go to the Lord Himself, diligently inquiring OF HIM concerning His (right) counsel and understanding of His written word. We are to ask the Lord to discern all things for us by HIS Spirit, asking Him to discern for us "what is truth" by HIS Spirit according to His word.
We are commanded to seek the Lord who is the Spirit of Truth. We are commanded to diligently seek His Face and to ‘INQUIRE OF HIM’ instead of heeding the counsel of our own minds and the carnal-minded wisdom of men concerning the written word of God. Regardless of how much scriptural knowledge we think we have, we are commanded to seek the Face of God .i.e., for the eyes of His Understanding instead of placing our trust in the counsel, perception and understanding of man. Seeking the counsel of men is in effect the same as seeking the face of man instead of the Face of God. The scripture tells us to seek His Face: to seek Him for His counsel and to get wisdom and understanding from Him by His Spirit.
We are commanded to trust "in the Lord" with all our heart and not unto our own understanding. We are to acknowledge Him in all of our ways which includes asking JESUS to be "humility of heart and mind" for us on our behalf! We are not to consult our idol (our own mind) lest we become wise in our own conceits, in the conceit of our own wisdom, even in our own understanding and our own interpretations of His written word! We are to get the counsel of God concerning the word of God from God and let Him interpret His word according to the Spirit of the word.
We are not to walk in our ways nor in the vain understanding of what-we-think-we-know. Instead we are to ASK HIM to be our Counselor, we are to ask the Lord to take us to His word and instruct us by His Spirit. We must ASK HIM to be humility of heart and mind and teachableness of spirit (for us) lest we become puffed up with knowledge and deceived in our (man's) own understanding of His word.
Jesus said that the Scripture testifies of Him: Jesus is the Living Word. (see John 5:39) Instead of teaching people to seek the Lord and instead of people learning to go to the Lord to ask Him to reveal His counsel though His Word by His Spirit, we have been taught of men to use man's own erroneous interpretations of the written word to weigh and measure the truth according to what seems right or sounds right to us. (This is what it means to use a FALSE MEASURE which is something God hates.)
Knowledge puffeth up... we are not to pursue knowledge (not even man's "knowledge of scripture"). Instead we are to scripturally pursue Him who is Perfect in Wisdom, in Knowledge, in Counsel and Understanding! We are to seek Him for His Wisdom, for God’s Knowledge, for His Counsel and to get Understanding by the Spirit of God; we are to seek the Face of Him who is Himself the Living Word. Likewise, we should not pursue holiness as an "it" but instead we should "pursue Him" who is Himself our "holiness unto the Lord."
If we look further into what the Bible Dictionary has to say about ‘holiness’ we see a note that the corresponding verb "hagiazo" denotes to set apart to God. But the Vines Expository Dictionary also says: SEE HALLOW, SANTIFY. The Bible dictionary tells us that believers are to be "perfecting holiness in the fear of God," Does that mean that we ourselves are to perfect our own selves in holiness in the fear of God or does it mean that by grace through faith we must look to Him alone is perfect to perfect us in Himself through Christ who is our holiness, doing so in the fear of God? Once again, we need to keep everything pertaining to the things of God in the proper context (which for us is the context of Christ Himself). Our own works trying to perfect ourselves in holiness leads to self-righteousness. Seeking God to perfect us in Christ (who is our holiness) is what “perfecting holiness in the fear of God” means. Perfecting holiness by resting in Him is the work of God in Christ who is our holiness. He will perfect us in Himself and He will bring us into His holiness; He will bring His work which He has begun in us to its predestined end, that by grace through faith we will be found in Him (hidden by grace in Him) "unblameable in holiness" at the return of Jesus Christ, (cf, 1Thess.3:13) For the full text of the Bible Dictionary definition, see ‘holiness’ Vine, W.E., Vine's Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words, (Grand Rapids, MI: Fleming H. Revell) 1981.
Holiness is "of God by God" on behalf of believers who are "in Christ"! By the will of God according to the purposes of God in Christ, He will conform us into the image of His Son. As it pertains to Christians, holiness should be defined as that which is worked for us by God in Christ alone. More specifically, holiness must be understood as a virtue which is of God alone: holiness is an attribute of God Himself which He ascribes to those who are born-again of His Spirit by grace through the faith of Christ. Holiness is not our work. Holiness is of God, by God and only attributed to us by virtue of our position and calling which is “in Christ”.
Our holiness is not determined by our own works but by the work of God which He has worked "for us" in Christ on "behalf of believers" whose own lives are "reckoned as dead" and counted by Him "as hidden" (in Him and by Him) in the person of Jesus Christ who has HIMSELF become "our holiness". Holiness is worked only by God through Christ (in Himself) for us on our behalf!
Our call to HOLINESS is not something we can fulfill or accomplish for Jesus. Our call to HOLINESS is not a work we are called to do for the glory of God.
The angel told the virgin Mary that after the Holy Ghost is come upon you, that "Holy Thing" which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. In His Name, we are called "from the old thing" which is Adam and all of man's dead works, and we are called “into Christ” who is the New Thing! We are called by His Name into Christ by the Obedience of Him who is Himself our holiness. We are called out of the old thing (dead Adam) into Jesus Christ who is the spiritual man, that ‘Holy’ Thing into whom we are called is Jesus Christ our hope of glory! We are called to rest in the finished work of God which God has wrought for us "in Christ" into WHOM we are called. By grace we are "the called according to His purpose”. This is the Wisdom of God, i.e., Jesus Christ —that God Himself sent His Son to be our all and in all on behalf of all who will receive Him. He came to BE OBEDIENCE for us; He came to be the "work of holiness" into whom we are called.
HOLINESS that is of, by and in the Lord Jesus Christ Himself is only seen as GOD begins to bring forth His own testimony of Himself (i.e., the testimony of Jesus) through Christ who is our "New Life" which He has given for us but which is not really our own but His!
Jesus Christ becomes our life: He is the Life and in Him we live and move and have our being. A "holy life" is the “Life of Jesus Christ" which HE LIVES (for us) in our place. We are to repent of our dead works and rest in Him who came to live His own (zoe) Life for us in our place. The LIFE of Christ in us is the spiritual new “Life" which we erroneously refer to as our own "Christian walk." HE Himself is the Life. Through God’s own manifestation of Himself i.e., by His own holiness we are "set apart" in Christ unto God in Him and by Him. We are called to be saints “in Christ”, We are called saints only "in Him" and “of Him” and “by Him”. (hagioi).
JESUS CAME TO BE SANCTIFICATION, HOLINESS, PERFECTION, GODLINESS, AND OBEDIENCE FOR US! It is worth saying again and again: Jesus literally came to this earth so save us and to bring us into His rest: to be our all and in all, on behalf of all who receive Him! (cf. Eph.1:23)
Unto everyone who believes in Him, Jesus Christ is our Great High Priest and "our holiness" is by His own blood which He poured out for us. JESUS CHRIST IS OUR HOLINESS WHICH IS IN HIM -AND- OF HIM, -AND- BY HIM ALONE! Holiness is the gift of God, a predetermined state that is ascribed to us by God in Christ on behalf of all whose own life has been reckoned as dead and hid in Him in the person of Jesus Christ who has "Himself" become HOLINESS on our behalf before God. Jesus Christ Himself is our "Holiness unto the Lord"
In the book of the Revelation of Jesus Christ in His letters to the churches, Jesus says: Repent, therefore and do the first works... The first works are the works of faith in Jesus Christ, trusting Him as our all and in all. I believe the Lord is calling us all to return to our first works of the faith of the Son of God, of the faith of Christ, of the faith of Jesus, of faith which is of Him, in Him and by Him: i.e., to repent of our works and return to FAITH IN JESUS CHRIST as our all and in all on behalf of all who receive Him!
My Christian walk is not about my works or my holiness but about His works and about Him as my holiness. My Christian walk is not about my own obedience but it is instead about the "obedience of Christ" which God works (for me on my behalf) through Jesus Christ, His Son, our Lord. cf. Rev. 2:4 and Isa.28:12
"This is the rest wherewith ye may cause the weary to rest; this is the refreshing: yet they would not hear." (Isa. 28:12 KJV)
Noteye (aka, M. Weiland)
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firstname.lastname@example.org"Noteye" (cf.Gal.2:20)Updated 04-11-03