When did you first hear a message on holiness?
As a youth attending my parents’ church, I heard many sermons on holiness and sanctification. In my teenage years, I took notice that holiness was an attribute which God desired greatly from His people. It seemed to be so high up that it was impossible to attain. I felt as if my entire life was meant to be devoted to reaching up for that cherished prize, yet never being able to grasp it. To me, no one in our church was holy. We were all trying to be holy, but we knew that no one could achieve it. I wasn’t holy, no one in my church was holy, and not even my Pastor was holy!
Have you ever felt that way? Has holiness seemed unattainable to you?
Years ago, I set out to do a thorough study on holiness. I wanted to find out once and for all what God had to say about holiness and sanctification. I especially studied the letters of the Apostle Paul. To my amazement, I discovered that all the believers in Christ were called saints. The word “saint” means “holy one” – someone who is holy!
Look at the words of the Apostle Paul to the believers in Corinth:
“To those who are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all who in every place call on the name of Jesus Christ our Lord, both theirs and ours.” (1 Corinthians 1:1-2 NKJV)
Notice that the Apostle Paul said that these believers are sanctified in Christ Jesus. In other words they were sanctified because they were in Christ Jesus. The fact that they were in Christ made them sanctified, and because they were sanctified they were called saints – God’s holy ones! Now the word “sanctify” means to make holy. If you have been sanctified, you have been made holy. We have no trouble believing that we were saved by faith in Christ, but we have trouble accepting the fact that we were also sanctified by faith in Christ.
Jesus said to Saul of Tarsus, when He appeared to him on the road to Damascus:
“To open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are SANCTIFIED BY FAITH IN ME” (Acts 26:17-18 NKJV, emphasis mine)
Yes, just as you have been saved by faith in Christ, you are also sanctified by faith in Christ. You have been made holy in Christ Jesus. God now calls you one of His saints.
You are holy, dear saint!
[All quotations have been taken from The Holy Bible, New King James Version, copyright 1982, Thomas Nelson Inc.]