How to Become Holy

Joe Carter:

Among God’s characteristics, as he has revealed himself, none is more significant than his holiness (seeLev. 11:44–45; 19:2; 20:7). “Holy” and “holiness” occur more than 900 times in Scripture, and both the Old and New Testaments speak more about his holiness than any other attribute. Because of this characteristic God is not able to tolerate our sin. As Habakkuk 1:13 says, “Your eyes are too pure to look on evil; you cannot tolerate wrongdoing.”

Christ does not just save us from our sin, though, he saves us so that we might become holy (Eph. 1:3-4). And as Peter says, “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’” (1 Pet. 1:13).

“The Bible could not be any clearer,” Kevin DeYoung says, “The reason for your entire salvation, the design behind your deliverance, the purpose for which God chose you in the first place is holiness.”

Holiness is associated with separation from the ordinary or the profane, on the one hand, and connection with God or the divine, on the other. Holiness is not only being separated from sin and worldliness but also being set apart for God’s purposes.

Sanctification is the lifelong process by which we become holy. But there are five specific ways we strive to become holy.

Make Holiness Your Purpose

Of all the goals we have for our life, the most important is to pursue holiness because it is God’s goal for our life. As Oswald Chambers said,

God has only one intended destiny for mankind—holiness. His only goal is to produce saints. God is not some eternal blessing-machine for people to use, and he did not come to save us out of pity—he came to save us because he created us to be holy.

If we truly love God we will commit to making holiness the primary purpose of our life.

Don’t Resist the Holy Spirit

Sanctification is by the Holy Spirit and is part of our conversion (1 Pet. 1:2). In this form, known as definitive sanctification, the Spirit sets us apart in Christ so that we might be saved. The Spirit also works in us so that we can be obedient to Christ, a process referred to as progressive sanctification, because we are progressing toward holiness.

In this latter sanctifying role, the Spirit: (A) exposes our sin so that we may recognize and turn away from it, (B) illuminates Scripture so that we may understand its meaning, and (C) helps us to see the glory of Christ. The Spirit is always willing to do this for us, which is why we must not “resist” (Acts 7:51) or “quench” (1 Thess. 5:19) the Spirit.

Commit to Obedience

There is no holiness without obedience. As Peter hints at in verse 2, the Spirit’s sanctifying work is done so that we may be obedient to Christ. As Jerry Bridges notes, “The heroes of faith in Hebrews 11 . . . obeyed by faith . . . obedience is the pathway to holiness.”

Pursue Jesus, Not Moralism

As we become holy we will naturally become more moral. But that is not the goal of growing in godliness. Our pursuit is of Jesus, not moralism. “Holiness is not ultimately about living up to a moral standard,” DeYoung says. “It’s about living in Christ and living out of our real, vital union with him.”

Expect Improvement, Not Perfection

Too often Christians don’t strive to be holy because we consider it an impossible standard. But God is not leading us to an unattainable level of perfection. Our lack of perfection should merely lead us to continually strive to meet God’s goal for us. John Calvin wrote,

As even the most perfect are always very far from coming up to the mark, we ought daily to strive more and more. And we ought to remember that we are not only told what our duty is, but that God also adds, “I am he who sanctifies you.”

Because We Are Loved

As believers we are to be holy not because we want to be loved by God but because we are already loved in Christ. We love because he first loved us (1 John 4:19). And the best way to show that we love God is by seeking to become holy because he is holy.

Egypt: For modern-day ‘Daniel,’ God closed the mouths of savage dogs meant to tear apart imprisoned Christian

The Powerful Root of Practical Love

We know that we have passed out of death into life, because we love the brothers.(1 John 3:14)

The Bible sometimes makes love the condition of the ongoing and final experience of future grace. It does not mean that love must precede faith in the promise. On the contrary, it means that faith in the promise must be so real that the love it produces proves the reality of the faith.

Thus love for others is a condition of future grace in the sense that it confirms that the primary condition, faith, is genuine. We could call love for others a secondary condition, which confirms the authenticity of the primary condition of faith.

Faith perceives the glory of God in the promises of future grace and embraces all that the promises reveal of what God is for us in Jesus. This spiritual apprehension and delight in God is the self-authenticating evidence that God has called us to be a beneficiary of his grace. This evidence frees us to bank on the promise as our own. And this banking on the promise empowers us to love. Which in turn confirms that our faith is real.

The world is desperate for a faith that combines two things: awestruck apprehension of unshakable divine Truth, and utterly practical, round-the-clock power to make a liberating difference in life. That is what I want too. Which is why I am a Christian.

There is a great God of grace who magnifies his own infinite self-sufficiency by fulfilling promises to helpless people who trust him. And there is a power that comes from prizing this God that leaves no nook and cranny of life untouched. It empowers us to love in the most practical ways.

What Does Your Tipping Say About Your Faith in Jesus?

As followers of Christ, we’re to be characterized by generosity, humility, and gratitude. That extends to how well we tip those who serve us at restaurants and other places. Scripture says, “A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed” (Proverbs 11:25). “The wicked borrows but does not pay back, but the righteous is generous and gives” (Psalm 37:21). I have heard many stories from restaurant servers, both believers and unbelievers, who say that they get the smallest tips from people who come to eat after leaving church on Sunday mornings. This should not be.

There is more at:

Are You Really Worshipping if You Don’t Sing?

You must be holy

For he himself has said, “You must be holy because I am holy.” ( I Peter 1:16, NLT)

Bishop Neil C. Ellis, in his book Pursuing the Glory, makes a very interesting suggestion about the language of heaven, which is “Holy, Holy, Holy.” He says, “Most people do not speak the language of heaven because they do not want to live the language of heaven.” He goes on to suggest that many people don’t want to be reminded of their true identity in God, so they make the choice not to speak the language. Could it be this is why some believers have a problem with true worship? They have no problem coming to church; they just choose not to participate in the fellowship, freedom, and transformation that worship in spirit and in truth brings. We serve a holy God who has called us to holiness. That word “holiness” scares some people because it conjures up in our minds a set of religious rules. But God has called us to be like Him; He has made us a royal priesthood – a holy nation (I Peter 2:9). He has called us to holiness and called us to worship Him. May all who fear be no longer fearful, but set free to experience His power and presence found in surrendered worship. Where do you start? With prayer, and with a made up mind to give God the sincere worship He deserves.

Avoiding Complacency in Worship Leadership