We often speak of God’s Word as the absolute truth by which we are to live. We encourage one another to live without compromise and not to be pulled by the temptations of the world. But this type of discussion always implies a standard for Christian living, a standard for holiness. And, as much as we hate to admit it, a standard implies rules. Oh, how these words make some uncomfortable – some even angry!
Much of the Christian teaching we receive today is focused on the free gift of God’s grace; “For it is by grace you have been saved” (Ephesians 2:8), and this grace seems to be in conflict with the presence of rules. Since our sins have already been forgiven, and “there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus” (Romans 8:1), how can we talk about rules or standards or expectations?
It is absolutely clear in the Word of God that we are saved by grace and can do nothing to earn or improve upon our Salvation – we live and breathe under God’s grace. However, it is also perfectly clear in His Word that there exists a standard of holiness for which we must strive. Sin is defined against a standard and the precious gift of God’s grace never gives permission for sin!
“What shall we say, then? Shall we go on sinning so that grace may abound? By no means!”
As children of God, we now have complete freedom; “the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:2). But the freedom we have been given is the freedom to claim victory over sin and live a pure and holy life; “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do” (1 Peter 1:15). We will never attain perfect holiness, never live in perfect compliance with God’s standard. And though we who belong to Jesus are no longer under condemnation, we are still called to holiness.
So why should we strive? First, holiness is honoring to God because God hates sin. Sin kills those our Father loves – those He loves so much that He sent Jesus to die as a sacrifice for the penalty of sin. God hates sin and we ought to hate what God hates. And next, as we strive for holiness (while remembering that our striving plays no part in our Salvation) we will see even more clearly how far we fall from God’s required perfection. As we strive, our sin will become even more apparent and we will see with ever increasing thankfulness how much grace and forgiveness we have been given through faith in Jesus.
Salvation is ALL grace!! We live under His grace and have been set free from the law of sin and death. So now, let’s truly learn of His grace by seeking to follow in His steps and striving for a thankful heart through a life of grace-filled holiness.
Have a Christ Centered Day!
God’s Daily Word Ministries
**** Reading Plan ****
Sep 25 Isaiah 45:11-48:11; Ephesians 4:1-16; Psalm 68:19-35; Proverbs 24:3-4