Achieving Holiness as a Christian

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Growing up, Christianity was distasteful to me. The main reason being is that there was an unrealistic expectation of becoming ‘perfect.’ I was not necessarily being taught this, instead I perceived this because I felt judged and not “good” enough in Christian circles. This lead me to think that I need to be someone that I am not. I need to do everything I can to be ‘perfect.’ I walked away from the faith in my late teen years to only realize that I need Christ more than ever a few years later. Since receiving Christ as my Savior, I have tried to be good by doing “good” things again. I thought that this was how I achieve holiness before God; By being good and pursuing a modification of behavior, in order to achieve something I know I can not achieve alone. So the question remains, can I achieve holiness?

I want to zero in on one particular verse that has really allowed me to see that I am not holy. I can not achieve holiness before God, and I shouldn’t try because I have holiness in Christ.

2 Timothy 1:9 in the NIV translation reads, “He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time.”

We are called to a holy life. How is this achieved then? Where do I find the answer? Is there a five point sermon on how I can be holy? I’m sure there is, but even that will not allow us to achieve holiness. The way I see it is that being completely holy before God means that we must be perfect. God is holy. Are we going to put ourselves on the same pedestal as God? With that said, I will ask the question again, “Can I achieve holiness?” The answer is no. The reason being is that there is a problem in the question that we so often ask. The problem is the “I” in “Can I achieve holiness.” We can not achieve holiness on our own. We need a perfect representation of holiness in order to even be considered holy. Where can we find this perfect representation of holiness? In Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior. Jesus is Holy. We are not. Because Christ is Holy, we to can participate in His holiness by receiving Him as our Lord and Savior. Jesus is perfect, spotless of sin, and of course, He is Holy. Let us now go back to the original question and change it. How can I pursue holiness? This question is better suited for one trying to attain holiness. How can I pursue holiness? The answer is, pursue Jesus. In pursuing Jesus, one naturally conforms to His image through the sanctification of the Holy Spirit that is within. In being sanctified by Christ, one is sanctified into holiness. Apart from Christ, holiness can not be achieved. We can do absolutely nothing to achieve this holiness. Holiness is given to us freely from Father God. God gives us His Son, Jesus, because of His own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time. Jesus is holiness. Want to pursue holiness? Pursue Christ. Because pursuing Christ is pursuing holiness. Christ is holiness on our behalf, thus we must rest in Christ’s perfect holiness allowing Him to purify us, sanctify us, and ultimately make us holy before the Father.

Can you achieve holiness? No. How can you achieve holiness? Pursue. Pursue our wonderful Savior, Jesus Christ, who will make you holy. Seek Him and allow Him to mold you into the image of God, which He is. Don’t pursue holiness. Pursue Christ. Christ is holy. Rest in these song lyrics and allow the Holy Spirit of God to move in you today.

You are holy, holy, holy
God most high and God most worthy
You are holy, holy, holy
Jesus, You are
Jesus, You are

Lyrics by Matt Redman – Holy

One thought on “Achieving Holiness as a Christian

  1. “Pursue Christ… Christ is holiness on our behalf, thus we must rest in Christ’s perfect holiness allowing Him to purify us, sanctify us, and ultimately make us holy before the Father.” It is similar to something Hudson Taylor said, about rest in Christ being holiness. He spoke of simply looking to the Risen Lord. I totally agree! We are not only commanded to be holy because God is holy. We are made holy because God is holy. Because Jesus Christ is holy.

    You spoke of the need to be perfect. I remember knowing – and, I mean, REALLY KNOWING, not just head-knowing – that God is good and holy, and I SHOULD be perfect. I needed to be perfect. I wanted to be perfect. But, for all I could do, I fell short. Even the smallest falling-short was intolerable. That was when God showed me the cross and the resurrection – that Jesus already DID everything. He loved me. He will never stop loving me, because He already died to take away ALL my sins – ALL, the past, the future, ALL. I really like the verse in the Colossians, where it says, “In Him, you are complete,” or, it could be, perfect – which is the same as holy.

    I like this post.

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