{Ephesians 4:20-24; ESV}

But that is not the way you learned Christ!—assuming that you have heard about him and were taught in him, as the truth is in Jesus, to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.

When it comes to following Jesus we need to remember two important truths.

  1. We are unable to be faithful on our own. Salvation begins and ends with God. He is the one who took the initiative to save us for Satan, sin, and death. Therefore we can be confident that He will finish what He started. Part of the way He brings about transformation in our lives is through the work of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit guides our lives towards a deeper faith and a greater maturity. We must always remember that God does for us what we are unable to do for ourselves.
  2. God expects us to be holy. Holiness is the expectation that God has for our lives. What does holiness look like? Holiness looks like Jesus. To be holy requires us to live the way Jesus lived. We are able to do that as we surrender to the guidance of the Spirit. We cannot become holy on our own, we need to God’s help, but we have to be willing to surrender our lives to Him.

Andrew Murray wrote; “Holiness is not something we do or attain: it is the communication of the Divine life, the inbreathing of the Divine nature, the power of the Divine Presence resting on us” (Holy in Christ). While God expects His children to be holy He doesn’t leave us on our own to achieve it. God bestows holiness on us through the saving work of Jesus and the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit.

This reality doesn’t get us off the hook for the choices that we make, but it does mean that we are not in this alone. God wants us to be holy, and so He is going to do everything within His power to make us holy. That is very good news!

Our responsibility lies in two areas:

  1. We must put off the old. Our old way of living was nothing less than rebellion against God and His Kingdom. That is why it is so important for us to declare that we are no longer part of the rebellion that started with Satan and continues on to this day. I would encourage you, while you are praying, to declare that you are done with sin. Do this out loud and be specific. Name those sins that defined your old self and make it known that they are no longer a part of who you are because of what Jesus has done. We also need to take steps to remove sin in our lives, but this first step of renouncing our sins is often overlooked and I think basic to discovering real freedom from sin.
  2. We must put on the new. The Gospel declares that when we are in Christ we are “new creations.” That is the reality of our lives, but we must believe it and live it. This begins with asking God to fill us with spiritual wisdom and understanding. We need the eyes of our hearts open so we can understand what it looks like for us to live like Jesus. Embracing the new and living like Jesus enables us to meet God’s expectation of holiness for our lives.

You and I can be holy because God makes us holy. It is up to us to live out that reality in our lives.

Questions to Consider:

  • How important is the pursuit of holiness in your life?
  • What practical steps could you take this week in your pursuit of holiness?
  • Does it provide a sense of relief to know that God makes us holy?
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