What you believe in, defines you. There are many beliefs, faiths and theories that human beings hold in high esteem that probably define the reality of their existence to their satisfaction. Usually, people submit to one world view. Nevertheless, there are some exceptions and there are people who combine world views. No matter what you believe in, it defines the reality of your experience in this life and it defines you too.
Many people believe that there is an inherent evil dwelling in the heart of all men. Christians would like to call it “The Original Sin”: the sinful nature we inherited from Adam. By this, we were sinners before we could even speak. One man’s sin, brought a curse unto all of creation. One doesn’t have to comb through a pile of newspapers to find a story on a heinous crime perpetrated by the most unassuming person. There is bad news everywhere. In the midst of it all, the bible calls Christians Holy People. It is more than a tag; It isn’t like a honorary doctorate degree either. For an honorary doctorate degree is given to someone in recognition of his excellence in a particular field. The Sainthood of the New Testament believer is a mystery that can only be described in one word, Grace.
Before we proceed, I would like to lay the foundation of this truth: we are holy by being Christians. Our holiness was not achieved by anything we did, but purely by our faith in Jesus Christ – especially in his finished work on the Cross. Therefore, when a person becomes a Christian, apart from his conduct, there is no physical evidence of his newly found faith. All the difference and tremendous transformation take place in the spirit. Hence, it is referred to as being born again. Literally that is what happens. Heaven discards all past records of the said individual and so he doesn’t have a past. The bible says, *Eph 4:24 KJV* And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness”. The new man that you become (spiritually) after accepting Christ has righteousness and holiness preinstalled in him. It is just like upgrading the operating system on your computer – same device but new operating system. In Christ, you remain the same physically but there is a total transformation on the inside of you.
What next? You are holy, so what? Does it mean you must fold your arms and go to sleep? Well, not so at all. This is where the Mirror Effect comes in. In the bible, both God and his Word are referred to as mirrors. The interesting thing here is, only God and his word can change the condition of the heart of a man. David said “thy word have I hidden in my heart that I might not sin against you”. James admonished us to be doers of the word and not just hearers, for any man who hears the word and doesn’t practise it is like a man who stares intently at his image in the MIRROR, walks away and forgets what he looks like. Interesting analogy there. It means, the definition of ourselves we are privy to in the Word of God should of a necessity be visible on us in our conduct. God has made you holy and righteous not to amuse himself but so that it will reflect in your works. Remember, God calls the things that be not as though they were… and they become. It is also said that we are God’s workmanship (inventions), created unto good works. God wanted to invent a ‘device’ that is holy and righteous… so he created you. He created you and called you holy so that you can be holy. In Christianity, we don’t work to get rewarded, we work because we are rewarded. It is in reverse. We don’t do holy deeds to attain holiness, we are first holy so we can do holy deeds. It is very easy to act out your nature than to act outside your nature to attain a certain status. That is the stress in the Old Testament. They were sinners who were trying to attain holiness by following a bunch of rules hoping their deeds would be pleasing to God enough. That is stress!
Christians sin. Yes we sin. If God is holy and never sins, and we are also as Holy as Christ is, then why do we sin? The walk with God is really a matter of who we are and not merely what we do. It is a matter of which camp you belong to and not just actions. That is why no matter the good deeds of Cornelius, God still required him to be saved, hence he sent Peter to preach to him. This doesn’t mean our deeds mean nothing, just walk with me and we will arrive at the truth together. I would like to outline a few things first:
Our holiness is service to God
God has made us holy and expects us to present ourselves to him holy and acceptable. Just like the parable of the Talents, the master will one day come and ask what we did with what He gave us graciously. Therefore scripture says:
I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, HOLY, acceptable unto God, which is your REASONABLE SERVICE. Romans 12:1
Perfection is not acquisition. You can only perfect that which you already have. So the bible says, “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, PERFECTING HOLINESS in the fear of God (2 Cor7:1)”. It only means we are holy already but need to perfect it. Back to the operating system analogy, when you are more comfortable using Windows XP on your computer, upgrading to Windows 10 is a huge difference. Therefore, though you may have a new operating system there is the need to perfect how to use it. You may still want to do things the Windows-XP way and get stuck or realize it isn’t the way things are done on the new operating system. This is what happens with Christians and our holiness. We were once sinners, but we were transformed instantly when we accepted Christ. Therefore, we need to perfect this new life we have received. The verse above says, it can be done only in the fear of God. So hear me loud and clear, when a Christian sins, he is betraying his nature. A Christian betrays who he is when he sins. That is why 1 John 3:9 says, Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God.
How do we perfect holiness?
I am not preaching the law here. I am not saying there are a bunch of things we need to do to attain holiness. We are holy; we do holy deeds because we are. The flesh is in a constant battle with the spirit. The spirit wants to please God, the flesh doesn’t. This is why we need to perfect the act of making the spirit win everytime. In 2 Corinthians 3:18, it says But we all, with open face beholding as in a MIRROR the glory of the Lord, ARE CHANGED INTO THE SAME IMAGE, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. Once again, we see the Mirror Effect here. Basically, we are glorious beings. But when we keep our eyes on God, we will be transformed from glory to glory… from our level of glory to his level. This is what it takes to perfect holiness: keeping your eyes on God. It sounds like an easy task but really, it is a lot more than gazing at an image. It involves praying, reading the word, fasting etc. consistently. These are all deeds that stimulate the spirit in you to win the battle against the flesh.
You may be wondering what relationship holiness has with glory because of the verse I quoted above. Well, the truth is, holiness has a very strong relationship with glory. Glory is the visibility of holiness. Isaiah 6:3 says And they were calling to one another: “Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory. In Isaiah’s visions, the Seraphim called God “holy” and said that the whole earth is full of his holiness? No! They called him holy and proclaimed that the whole earth is full of his GLORY.
Holiness is the highest level of intolerance for sin. Most people think the bible referring to us as holy and the righteousness of God means we should fold our arms and go to sleep. Indeed it is a status conferred on us by grace, but it is a duty too. We are the righteousness of God. Meaning, when the world is looking for a righteous God, God won’t have to come down again to show himself, we are his righteousness so we need to show up on the scene. To me, this is a responsibility and not merely a title. Only Grace can empower us to do this perfectly. Grace got us here, Grace will keep us. Therefore, be ye holy because the LORD your God is holy and He has made you Holy.