Summary: The Scriptures tell us “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy: for I am holy
“Life Can Be Holy”
The Scriptures tell us “As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance; But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy: for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:14-16). But can life be holy? From a practical standpoint, “How can I lead a holy Life? Is it truly within my grasp to live a holy life here on earth?
Well, the answer to that question is an emphatic “Yes!” The Apostle Paul shares the secret with us in Romans 7:25-8:5:
25. Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin. 8:1. Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. 3. For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4. so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5. For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.”
Paul outlines four truths that if recognized and followed can assure the living of a holy life. The first truth is TO RECOGNIZE YOUR OWN IMPOTENCE. Andrew Murray was once quoted as saying, “It is the man who is conscious of his own impotence as a believer who will learn that by the Holy Spirit he can lead a holy life.” Usually through much struggle, disappointment and loss, a Christian reaches that conclusion. The truth is a Christian has no power within and of himself alone to live a godly life. A Christian’s sincerest and hardest fought efforts only caused him to fall short, to feel dejected, defeated and to even doubt his faith in Christ. But there is rich joy in store when one realizes the simple truth of Psalm 62:11: “Power belongeth to God.” As Christians, we are powerless to live a holy life unless we appropriate God’s power by faith through Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul has reached this conclusion in Romans 7:25a when he said, “Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! Similar to how we have to admit we are sinners and repent to obtain salvation in Christ, we have to admit we are powerless and repent of self-effort to find power in Christ.
Only by recognizing we are powerless to live a holy life can we put ourselves in a position to know what it means to experience heaven here and now. This, of course, leads to the second truth for living a holy life, which is TO REALIZE OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO CHOOSE. What does Paul mean in verse 25b when he says, “So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin”? Paul understands, that as a Christian, he is still tempted by the law of sin and death. The law of sin and death is still present in us and can be yielded to at anytime we choose to feed the flesh (the old nature) rather than the Spirit (the new nature). So, although we have victory over the grave and the sting of death is removed in Christ, God will not violate our free will. Therefore, every desire on my part or yours to do right is met by an equal urge to do wrong. And since God will not violate our free will, we must choose which dog waging war within us that we are going to feed – the flesh or the spirit. That is why Jesus said in the High Priestly prayer, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world but that thou shouldest keep them from evil.” (John 17:15). Thus, temptation is still present in us. However, as Christians, our view of temptation must change.
Temptation becomes a necessary part of the process of learning how to refuse evil and choose good. Have you ever thought of temptation that way? God doesn’t tempt man. James 1:13 makes that clear: “Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God: for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man.” So, God doesn’t tempt man but he does allow man freedom to choose. James goes on to tell us, “But every man is tempted, when he [not God] is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” (James 1:14). So man is responsible when he yields to temptation but God in His love and mercy toward us can cause (Romans 8:28) temptation to play a meaningful role in our maturing process.