“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” (Romans 12:1)
This verse contains an imperative, imploring or commanding statement calling for holy living. It calls for us to live a sanctified and set apart life acceptable according to god’s holy standards. God is beseeching, or begging, His spiritual children to live sacrificially unto Him, not unto man and the standards of the world.
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. 1 Thessalonians 4:7
God has set commandments and principles forth for us in His Word. These are quite the opposite of man’s shallow and selfishness based and established upon the shifting sands of the world. Holiness is living separated unto Christ and apart from the world. Holiness and worldliness are contrasting, or heading in opposite directions. These paths are separate or dividing pathways. A person cannot have one foot walking towards God’s holiness and the other foot walking along the path of the world towards the things of man.
Holiness affects our physical body. Holiness affects are thinking. Holiness is living in a state of ever increasing spirituality. Living in holiness means our spiritual essence or our soul and our physical bodies are made alive unto Christ and becoming spiritually deadened to the ways, thoughts, lifestyle, and mannerisms of this world. Holiness is living in subjection to Christ.
This holiness in one’s life does not mean sinless living, for that is impossible on this side of heaven. Holy living while we are amid the sinful inclination of man here on earth is only possible when one lives spiritually through Jesus Christ, but for the grace of God go YOU and I and anyone who has Jesus Christ spiritually alive or quickened in their heart.
“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.”
1 John 1:8 (KJV)
Does a person just wake up one morning and providentially receive the capability to live in holiness and subjection to Christ? No, quickening from the Holy Spirit does come upon a person when they place faith; even as small as mustard seed, in Jesus Christ. However holy living unto Christ is a process of a lifetime on earth.
There is positional sanctification and personal sanctification. Positional sanctification is that “swoosh moment” when the Holy Spirit quickens the dead spirit in the heart of a person to be spiritually alive. Personal sanctification is a daily walk with God as we live on earth. It is walking with God on a path towards eternity and forsaking the god of this earth. It is feeding our spiritual nature and forsaking our sinful nature. It is that spiritual boxing match that Paul faced in Romans chapter seven when he said:
“For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me. I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me. For I delight in the law of God after the inward man” (Romans 7:19-22 KJV)
Living holy for Jesus Christ while on this earth is being spiritually positioned in God’s army. God’s army is the only army ever to have the victory in hand before the battles are over because we serve a Savior who’s risen and alive. This membership in God’s holy army “marks” each person as living in opposition to the god of this world. Holy living is marching forward in His army towards eternity.
His army is always protected with His armor and uses His Word as a sharp, cutting spiritual sword to combat heartily in hand to hand battles; giving God all the glory and honor for the victory. The Bible contains all the holy training and weaponry necessary to march towards eternity in His army.
Living holy and peaceful lives in this sin saturated world does cause those around to sit up and take notice. True holy living separates one from the way the world lives, and outwardly shines glory for Jesus Christ. Without God’s army persistently putting on their armor and marching forward through sin and trials and storms of life, living peaceable and contented lives full of joy so others can OBserve this steadfastness and hope as they wait for eternity. Without living holy and pursuing right relationships with others on earth man cannot please God and spend eternity in Heaven.
“Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
Living holy will cause individuals to actively pursue purging sin out of their life, making a vessel unto honor for the glory of Jesus Christ. Holy living will purge anything that is ungodly or acting as leaven from their lives.
If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master's use, and prepared unto every good work. 2 Timothy 2:21
This is a cleaning and bleaching process that takes time. It is not as easy as a shake or two of a “magic whitening wand” that instantly causes one’s life to glitter and shine. Each individual who accepts Jesus Christ in faith will undertake this, sometimes grueling, but necessary scrubbing and bleaching process throughout life.
Sanctification entails picking up the cross and laying down all those sinful things hindering their walk with Him. A person cannot be prepared to march forward in an army headed to eternity in Heaven with the trappings of sin clinging like barnacles to their feet.
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us Hebrews 12:1 KJV)
Throughout the entire bible God has called for holiness. In the Old Testament He made way for holiness through keeping of laws and the offering of sacrifices. This was not sufficient because it did not allow for the forgiveness of sin.
“Speak unto all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say unto them, Ye shall be holy: for I the LORD your God am holy”. (Leviticus 19:2)
In the New Testament God continues His call for holiness through His Son, Jesus Christ dying on the cross as a sacrifice for the forgiveness of sin. God himself has never changed. He has always been holy for He changes not. He gives us the grace needed to fulfill His will for our life.
"Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever." (Hebrews 13:8 (KJV)
This grace He gives us enables us to live a life rich and full of His grace because Christ took away the penalty or wage for sins we have already committed, or will commit in the future. He has already preserved us blameless. He views us as without spot, or as white as snow, even as we sojourn here on earth and the sin nature ever before us as we march onward towards eternity in Heaven.
"And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thessalonians 5:23)
He has sealed all His own until the day of His eminent return to the earth. He guarantees eternal salvation for those who have professed by mouth and placed their faith in Him. We are sealed and no sin, whether it be by omission or commission, will serve to remove this eternal seal from our life. Nothing that any other person does can remove this seal from our lives. We are secure in His promises of eternal life and eternal blessings and joy to come.
"In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise." (Ephesians 1:13 KJV)
In the Roman world a seal was of great importance and nOBody would seek to tamper with or destroy a seal. Doing so would be to meddle in the affairs of the Roman government and call upon themselves sure and quick remedial action and likely death. The seal of God carries the ultimate weight of destruction and the wages of death to those who choose not to seek holiness and will but choose to follow the god of this world suppressing the truth of God.
"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:3 KJV)
Lastly, this verse says every man that has hope of eternity purifies himself just as God is pure and holy. What a tremendous promise for us today. Faith in Jesus Christ feeds and fulfills our hope in an eternal life with Jesus Christ which nothing or anyone can take away.
For Further Contemplation:
We are safe and secure this side of eternity by placing our faith in Him following His will for our lives purges sin out of our lives and makes us holy and Christ-like as we march onwards towards eternity. Entering into eternity with Him will complete our journey to holiness, Christlikeness and spiritual wholeness.