Holiness does not automatically come to us the moment we become a Christian. We have a personal responsibility to “pursue holiness, for without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). For a practical example, let’s consider what happens in farming. When a farmer plants the seeds, he is not responsible for growing the crops. He needs to care for them by providing enough water, making sure the soil is fertile, allowing sunlight to reach the crops by pruning the weeds. But in no way is he to assume the responsibility of causing the plants to grow. “The farmer cannot do what God must do, and God will not do what the farmer should do.”
Lets now look at James 1:22-25 “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.” 2 Peter 1:3 “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.” God has made it possible for us to live holy lives, but it is our responsibility to live holy.
Hebrews 12:14 “Pursue holiness, for without holiness no one will see the Lord”. To pursue means we are to actively seek holiness as our way of living. It is also something we will be doing all of our lives. We live in a sinful world. We are born sinners. As we cling to the Vine (Jesus), He will reveal to us areas of sin that need to be dealt with and prayerfully removed. This is a continual process for after one area is seemingly mastered, another area is revealed. Holiness is never fully attained in this life.
Remember what Romans 6:14 says, “For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace”. We are not obligated to behave in sinful ways. But just when we think we have everything under control, something or someone blindsides us and we react in ungodly ways. I can be very holy, walking perfectly in tune with God in my quiet time. But as soon as I encounter a negative situation, my peace is ripped to shreds. Can anyone else relate?
Lets now look at what holiness is not:
1) a trivial list of do’s and don’ts
2) a certain style of clothes
3) unattainable perfection
4) “clocking-in” with God (time spent with Him should be out of our love for Him and desire to know Him better)
Now we shall see what holiness is:
1) separation from sin
2) morally blameless
3) aware of sin and turning from it
1 Peter 1:14-16 “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.'”
So now let’s spend some time looking at the reasons for why Christians are not experiencing holiness. The first is that we do not consider sin as an offense to God as much as a personal defeat in our victory over sin. God is more concerned with our obedience to His commands. Victory comes after obedience. To consistently walk in holiness we must place the utmost importance on obeying what God has said in His word. The second reason for our lack of consistency is our misunderstanding of our responsibility. We may think that to live by faith requires no effort on our part. Putting sin to death is a daily task and something we must work at consistently. The third reason is that we do not take some sins seriously. All sin is an offense to God, no matter how small. Song of Solomon in verse 2:15 speaks of the “little foxes which spoil the vine”. You see, compromise on little things will eventually give way to compromise on larger issues. We become immune to sin. Remember the analogy of the frog in boiling water? Allowing “small sins” in our lives weakens our morals. So we must call sin what it truly is: an offense against a holy God.
Andrew Boner said, “It is not the importance of the thing, but the majesty of the Lawgiver, that is to be the standard of obedience”.
We must stop putting our sins into categories of acceptance. Instead we need to hold all sin as an offense to a Holy God. All sin breaks His laws. To live a holy life, we must obey God in all areas of life.
PRAY for God to reveal to you those sins which are keeping you from walking in obedience to Him. Confess the sins He brings to mind. Pray for His help to turn from repeating them and to replace them with His ways.