What does it mean to be sanctified? Is holiness an attainable goal? How can I be ‘blameless’ in my walk of salvation? Read how the righteousness of Yahshua should impact the life of a born again believer.
Holiness has been well defined by someone as “Conformity to the Divine Nature.” The command (because that’s what it is) to be holy is not in the realm of the impossible to the children of His new creation. Neither is it unreasonable, because His commandments are not grievous; but it is the desire of a loving Father to have children who conform to His Divine nature as “…blameless and harmless. The sons of Yahweh, without rebuke, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation.” (Philippians 2:15) It is easy to lose the personal significance of Yahweh’s Word and demands upon us, by applying them solely to the Congregation. We read that He is coming for a church without spot or wrinkle, and our thoughts can immediately turn to others whom we feel need cleansing. Let us not side step or point the finger, but take His words personally: Be YE holy. John Wesley once said, “Our religion has three main doctrines. Repentance, faith, and holiness. Repentance is the porch; faith is the door; holiness is the religion itself.” This is true because holiness is not just one grace but actually “the union and concentration of all.”
“…He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.” (Ephesians 1:4) Yahweh’s foreknowledge of us has been a theme of wonder and rejoicing, and we are bound to acknowledge that His thoughts towards us are very great, and that in His predetermined plan He chose us. Our lives in Yahshua were not an accident. The Plan of Yahweh for us existed, hidden in the Father’s heart, before the foundation of the world! Before Yahweh began His first recorded creative work, He had the knowledge of, and predetermined plan for, the creatures of His new creation. The unveiling and revealing of His will are “… according to His good pleasure which He hath purposed in Himself.” (verse 9) To what end and for what purpose are we chosen? To be “…holy and without blame before Him in love”. (Ephesians 1:4) This is inseparable from His call! We are saved by the atoning blood of Yahshua that we may know, in experience, the sanctifying power of His blood. Our ultimate salvation though is dependant on our yielding to the sanctifying influence of His Spirit, “…because He hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth”. (2 Thessalonians 2:13) In short, then, we are saved to be sanctified and sanctified to be saved. The apostle Paul did not say, “this is the will of Yahweh even your salvation”, (though we know that it is indeed Yahweh’s will) but rather, “…this is the will of Yahweh, even your sanctification”, (1 Thessalonians 4:3) because the demonstration of a sanctified life is the demonstration of a full salvation. We can see how much space and time the apostle devotes when ending his letters to the giving of instructions for the daily walk and the conduct of those professing salvation, and he emphasises certain types of conduct that will bar professing saints from the Kingdom of Yahweh; his main reason is, “…Yahweh hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.” (1 Thessalonians 4:7)
In Paul’s letter to the Corinthians we come across a very paradoxical situation. He writes, “Unto the assembly of Yahweh which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Yahshua the Messiah, called to be saints…” (1 Corinthians 1:2) On reading further into this and the following chapters we discover that there were certain conditions existing among the believers which were completely contrary to the things that accompany salvation. There were serious divisions, sharp contentions, envy and strife, carnality and uncleanness; some were puffed up with the leaven of malice and uncleanness, brother was taking brother to court; surely they had “… not so learned from the Messiah”? (Ephesians 4:20) Yet Paul addresses them as “..them that are sanctified in Yahshua…” (1 Corinthians 1:2) It becomes clear that the walk and actual experience of some of the believers at Corinth was far below the available exalted position in Yahshua. Their walk was not after the Spirit but after the flesh. They were “…called to be saints…” (1:2) but many were living as sinners. Canaan did not belong to Israel in experience simply because Yahweh had promised it; there had to be an entering in. Much has been procured for us by Yahshua, but it remains in the realm of promise until such time as we enter in by faith. Because Yahshua has died and taken the sin of the world does not mean that every sinner is saved in experience! Each sinner needs to believe on Yahshua, repent and be converted himself. What then is our experience concerning sanctification and holiness? Our experience has to be reconciled to the call and plan of Yahweh for us.
In His dealings with man, Yahweh takes him from where he is, to the place where He wants him to be. He always begins where we are, never from where we would like to be! Truth in the inward parts, concerning ourselves, is always a pre-requisite. That in itself cannot be our doing, but through His Spirit He moves upon the heart and reveals man unto himself. He does not need to tell us our failure and shortcomings in great detail. His very Presence makes us sin-conscious! When He whose ‘name is Holy’: ‘the Father of lights, with Whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (James 1:17), when He confronts us by His holy Spirit and we see just how wretched we really are, we are compelled to cry like Isaiah, “Woe is me for I am undone;” (Isaiah 6:5) and, like Daniel, our “…comeliness is turned into corruption.” (Daniel 10:8) We may wonder if holiness or sanctification is attainable. It is not! But it is obtainable. We can no more attain to it than we could attain to salvation. “But of Him are ye in the Messiah Yahshua, Who of Yahweh is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption.” (1 Corinthians 1:30) We have nothing to offer unto Yahweh but ourselves and that only after we have been made acceptable through Yahshua. Yahshua has “…by one offering…perfected forever them that are sanctified.” (Hebrews 10:14) Through Yahshua the soul can be cleansed from pollution and delivered from the power of sin. We can receive nothing from Yahweh except through faith. Neither can we be sanctified except by faith - not faith in our own strength or abilities, but “…sanctified by faith that is in Me.” (Acts 26:18) The commission which was entrusted to the apostle Paul by Yahshua was “to open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of satan unto Yahweh, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me.” (Acts 26:18) It is not simply an instantaneous experience, but an ongoing experience. The need to grow and mature remains. We cannot grow into grace, but only in grace. Holiness has to be perfected (Gk .going on to complete…) in the fear of Yahweh. (2 Cor. 7:1) This calls for obedience to His Word, which is the truth, (John 17:17) and a remaining in the faith that is in Yahshua. “Let every man abide in the same calling wherein he was called.” (1 Corinthians 7:20)
For just as each of us has one body with many members...