Arminian Today

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The Gospel Empowers To Holiness

Be holy.  For the disciple of Jesus we all know that God calls us to be holy (1 Peter 1:15-16).  His call is for us to forsake sin (John 8:11; 1 John 2:1) and to be like Jesus (Colossians 3:1-4).  We know that His call is be salt and light (Matthew 5:13-16) and to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-17).  But how can we be holy?

If you are like me, your “holiness” is full of holes.  I see my sinfulness come out from time to time.  I know that I am sinful.  I know that apart from Christ, I have no holiness.  No hope to be like God.  If left to me, I probably would just give up trying to be holy.  Holiness, when done in my power, is tiring.  I get tired of battling only to lose or to find that as soon as I “overcome” some sin, I have a new sin to battle with.  My holiness is frankly just what you would expect, ugly (Isaiah 64:6).

This is why the gospel is so precious to the disciple of Christ.  I recognize my sins.  I know that I am called to be holy, to forsake sin, to be like Jesus, to bear fruit in keeping with repentance (Matthew 3:8) but I find that cannot do any of these things in my own power.  I don’t need “10 Ways to Be Holy” but I need help.  I don’t need law.  I need grace and I need the Spirit to help me.  I admit that it’s just not in me to be holy.  I want to sin!

The gospel makes the difference.  I see my utter sinfulness.  I see myself in Romans 3:10-18 apart from Christ.  When I try to be holy apart from Christ and His saving work at the cross, my own flesh always leads me to despair and legalism.   I try to be holy by doing this or that when in fact my holiness should flow from my salvation in Jesus.  As I trust in the cross to save me, the power of the gospel fills my heart so that the gospel, the grace of God given to me in Christ Jesus, empowers me to be holy (Hebrews 10:10, 14).  The finished work of Jesus is the answer for my sins and not my works.  Taking the blood of Jesus and applying it to my life is what empowers me to be holy (1 John 1:7).

As I understand that my justification before God is based on the Lord Jesus and what He has done for me (Romans 4:5, 24-5:11), I begin to see that I can be holy because of Jesus (Romans 6:1-23).  Holiness doesn’t spring from rules but from knowing, loving, adoring, and surrendering to Christ.  As I do these things, the Holy Spirit works in me to help me to be more like Jesus.  The truth of the gospel is not that outward things make me right before God but the inward working of the Spirit of God is what helps me to be holy.  One can do outward works but still be far from God (Mark 7:1-13) but when the Holy Spirit is at work in the saints heart, the heart of the disciple is to adore and magnify the Lamb of God who alone saves.

The springboard for holiness is not rules.  It’s not “practical application” sermons.  The springboard to be holy, to overcome sin, to be more like Jesus Christ, is the gospel.  When we meditate on what Jesus has done in saving us, how we are dead to sin because of the cross, we begin to see the Holy Spirit at work in us to help us to be more like Christ and thus fulfill God’s law by His grace (Hebrews 8:10).  When I see that I have a faithful high priest who prays for me even in my struggles with the flesh (Hebrews 4:15; 7:25), I see that Jesus is the One who can help me and I trust only in Him to help me be a slave to righteousness (Ephesians 4:17-24).


Written by The Seeking Disciple

09/05/2013 at 10:00 AM

One Response

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  1. The power of the Gospel is resurrection–Christ’s for us and ours with Him. By faith we are raised to newness of life. No new life? Then there was no faith. We don’t live a new life to be saved; we are saved to live a new life.


    09/05/2013 at 12:14 PM

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