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The State of Faith
A Study on Holiness

Set Apart

James 2:8
If you really keep the royal law found in Scripture, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” you are doing right.
NIV

Based upon the word studies, we might define holiness as the absence of sin. This is God&s standard. Yet, the Bible teaches we are never absent from sin, so, does this mean we are never holy?

Another definition of holiness is being set apart for God. The holy person is the person who belongs to Jesus Christ. This person has accepted Christ by faith (a heart action on the part the sinner in his act of repentance) and God has made him holy through the blood of Jesus. Thus, justification based upon faith results in God the Holy Spirit regenerating the heart by implanting a new spirit resulting in one&s adoption into the same of God. By definition, God and His family are holy, so holiness is the result of the salvation (initial sanctification) process.

But, since Jesus prays for "them who shall believe on me through their word" (John 17:20) that they may be sanctified by "thy Word" (John 17:17), it is clear this holiness is not a complete process in the life of the believer. We may be always set apart for God, but we are far from always absent of sin.  At the initial moment of accepting Jesus we are holy and absent of sin in the eyes of God. Thus, holiness is, in a very strong sense, the equivalent of moral purity. To accept Jesus we must be cleansed by the Holy Spirit and have a heart willing to follow God. So, at this very moment we are free from moral sin.

What may be initially concluded from this is that the "perfect" Christian is pure, but not necessarily mature in his walk. Maturity involves time and effort and trials, being sanctified in the Word. Pureness requires none of this. The pure Christian may well be the "weak" Christian. Purity is the subtraction of sin, while maturity or growth is the addition of Godly knowledge. Godly knowledge should lead to purity by helping to remove sin, but the weak Christian can remove sin even without maturity.

This is so because conduct depends upon both grace and light. Grace would represent God&s direct actions, such as at the moment of acceptance of Jesus and is the source of holiness. The light of God is a growing knowledge of His lovingly law for us. This "royal law" should govern our conduct, resulting in a growing spirituality that leads to holiness in conduct and action. 

Holiness, then, is both the "negative state" whereby we are freed from sin as well as a positive state wherein our hearts are filled with the perfect love of God. The perfect state of holiness in mankind was enjoyed by Adam prior to the fall and is the end goal of all believers, obtained at the second coming of Christ. In the meanwhile, humility fights pride as we struggle to be sanctified in our daily walk. Pride is the source of [all] sin. This was the sin of Satan (Isa 14:12-17; Ezek 28:12-17) and is our ongoing sin, for almost every time we do not put God first, it is because we have placed ourselves first. Thus, we must ever remain humble and abiding in Christ (John 15:1-10) so that we may ever walk in holiness. 

 

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