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The Grace Project

The Pursuit of Holiness – Trying to become what you already are

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The great satanic deception is to get the Christian to serve God so as to earn what cannot, or indeed, need not, be earned since Christ has already earned it on our behalf. 2 Peter 1:3 clearly states that we have already received everything which God has for us pertaining to our salvation. We cannot work to receive more because He has given all and He will not remove what He has already given.
Many who oppose the teaching of “Justification by Faith” would insist that such a “holy action” (salvation) demands an equal “holy reaction” (holy living). The belief is that although salvation is obtained by faith, it is to be confirmed and main‐ tained by “holy living” (i.e. works) thus making holiness a condition for maintaining salvation. The unfortunate implica‐ tion of this is that if the Christian’s relationship with God is dependent upon the holiness of the Christian, God’s love is, therefore, not unconditional.
Given the great proliferation of “holiness” teaching in the Church today, it might come as a surprise to note that the word “holy” appears only eight times in the New Testament. More importantly, when mentioned in the Bible, the word “holiness” is never accompanied by a threat. Kittles Dictionary of the New Testament.
The clarion call for holy living is, no doubt, sincere but it is, sadly, a stumbling block to living. There is no New Tes‐ tament warrant for “holiness” teaching. The determination for “self‐to‐live‐a‐holy‐life” will invariably cause confusion and bewilderment which, counter‐intuitively, are their only true value. 
Motivation for Holy Living – Fear
A common belief by much of the Church is that what will motivate believers to live a “holy” life is the fear of losing their salvation. It may have been argued (or at least, insinuated) that a little fear is healthy, but fear has to do with punishment and a person who fears cannot be perfected in love (1 John 4:18). As the Apostle Paul discovered, even if one can become a perfect Law‐keeper, it is of no value (Philippians 3:4‐8).
There are many spiritual ministers and teachers who, although privately believing the Doctrine of Eternal Security, do not teach it for fear that Christians will live unholy lives and that a Law‐free gospel equates a lawless living.
Yet, this is surely a simple dilemma to resolve. If somebody is presented with the truth and their response is to behave irresponsibly, that must, of necessity, point to the immaturity of the hearer rather than the truth of the message. To withhold truth is a greater crime than to abuse it. There will always be those who view grace as anti‐
“Holiness is not something we must strive to either attain or maintain in the same way in which we, as Christians, do not get forgiven. We are forgiven. We do not become holy. We are holy!”
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