Holiness & Grace
It’s my opinion that the church has swung too far into grace and too far from holiness. Grace says that all my sins are covered by the Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross. This is true. However, this doesn’t mean that we can willfully sin and then pull out the grace card. 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NIV) says, “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy.’” Our sin is covered by the blood of Jesus and because of that, God calls us to live holy lives.
What does it mean to live a holy life? It means to live like the true disciples of old and not like the world. It means to look different than everyone else. What is really means is to look, sound, react, think, and be like Jesus.
Now, I know what you are thinking, you will never be like Jesus and that’s true. He was the only perfect human since Adam and Eve. That’s where we get holiness wrong. Yes, there is an aspect of perfection, but what holy really means is to be set apart from the crowd. Jesus and the disciples were different than their crowd and it attracted others.
Romans 12:2(NIV) teaches us to be holy, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” We are not to look, act, sound, or be like the people of the world (those who haven’t accepted Jesus as their Savior). Instead, we are to be transformed by renewing the carnal mind with the Word of God. As we renew our minds, we slowly (or quickly in some areas) become like Jesus.
When I accepted Jesus, I was a very carnal man. My focus was totally on myself and my needs. I was constantly seeking ways to use people to make money. I was angry, addicted to pornography, and at times a heavy drinker. Now, nearly 25 years later, I’m free from the addictions, angry crops up very rarely, and I’m much more others focused. That’s holiness. Not that I’m perfect, as I’m far from it, but I am a whole lot more like Jesus than I used to be.
So, when everyone around you is drinking, smoking, doing drugs, having sex outside of marriage, looking at porn, swearing, getting angry, divorcing their spouses, and cheating to get ahead, as one living under grace and seeking holiness, you aren’t doing those things. When the rest see that you are different and your life is more peaceful and prosperous, they will want to know why and you can lead them to Jesus.