Why Holiness?

Many are aware of the two definitions of holiness. One suggests purity in thought, word, and deed; the other means to be set apart by God for a particular purpose. Owing to the first, an emphatic J.C. Ryle (2014) tell us why truly saved persons must be holy. He says, “We must be holy, because this is one grand end and purpose for which Christ came into the world.”

That may not prompt a significant response in the reader immediately. Said negatively, it might begin to do so. Christ did not come only for our salvation and justification; He came also for our sanctification. Sanctification being that process of growing in Christlikeness, ergo holiness.

Consider the words of Paul who wrote…
“…he died for all…”  Why? Paul explains: “…that those who live should no longer live for themselves BUT FOR HIM who died for them and was raised again,” (2 Corinthians 5:15). It is just me, but is there a lot of evangelical “living for themselves (ourselves)” going on today?

Paul continues: “Christ loved the Church and gave himself up for her to make her holy, cleansing her,” (Ephesians 5:25,26). In the interest of time, let me get to the point: Many Christians today are so in love with “the lust of eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life” (1 John 2:16)…more interested in the dirt of this world…that we don’t care about or yield to the work Christ would do in us to make us holy and clean (in mind, word, and deed).

The sentiment continues in Titus 2:14 where Paul writes that Christ “gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify himself a people that area his very own, eager to do what is good.”  This aptly describes sanctification in short order.  The crucifixion and resurrection was for redemption leading to salvation from sin for purification resulting in good works. Notice two things here: first, Christ redeems and purifies a people for himself; second, the result was a people eager to do what is good (as defined by Him, not us).

There can be no doubt that Christ wants a people who are (a) holy in thought, word and deed, (b) clean, not only from pasts sins, but from the contaminating influences of the present fallen world, (c) redeemed from the wickedness of the world, and (d) eager to do what is good (according to the Scriptures).

Too many today are convinced they can be born again “from above” without dying to the old life “from below.” To that notion, Ryle speaks plainly: “In short, to talk of men being saved from the guilt of sin without being at the same time saved from its dominion in their hearts is to contradict the witness of all Scripture.”

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