by Brian E. Trenhaile, MTh, 25 October, 2010
This nugget of truth describes how we receive the holiness of God through faith. This holiness is not received as a result of our performance. Some verses describing the holiness that God gives are as follows:
To open their eyes that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may thus receive forgiveness and release from their sins and a place and portion among those who are consecrated and purified by faith in Me. (Acts 26:18, AMP, see the next paragraph for another version of this scripture).
To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me (Acts 26:18, KJV).
In these verses notice the use of past tense usage regarding the holiness (or sanctification) of a believer. A believer is put into Christ, by the Holy Spirit at salvation.[i] When we have faith in the fact that we are in Christ, we will experience His holiness. This holiness provides access for us to commune with God.
Jesus said, “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8, NASB). Here again holiness is mentioned as a requirement for closeness to God.
In his book “Holy in Christ,” Andrew Murray wrote some interesting observations regarding this matter of holiness (Sumner, pp 453-454):
As the sanctification that Christ accomplished for us, even to the point of offering His body, bears the death mark, we cannot partake of it, we cannot enter in, unless we die to self and its will. Crucifixion is the path to sanctification.
… No man can see God and live (Exod. 33:20, NKJV). It is only in death, the death of self and of nature, that we can draw near and behold God. Christ led the way. No man can see God and live. “Then let me die, Lord,” one has cried, “but see You I must.” Yes, blessed be God, so real is our interest in Christ and our union to Him that we may live in His death. As day by day self is kept in the place of death, the life and holiness of Christ can be ours.
And where is this place of death? And how can the crucifixion that leads to holiness and to God be accomplished in us? Thank God! It is no work of our own, no weary process of self-crucifixion. The crucifixion that is to sanctify us is an accomplished fact. The cross bears the banner, “It is finished” (John 19:30, NKJV). On it Christ sanctified Himself for us so that we might be sanctified in truth. Our crucifixion, as our sanctification, is something that in Christ has been completely and perfectly finished. “We have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all” (Hebrews 10:10, NKJV). “By one offering He perfected forever those who are being sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14, NKJV).[ii]
Holiness is required for communion with God; Christ provided us with His holiness so that we can commune with God. God sent Jesus so that we can enjoy the presence of God. Jesus said, “This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3, NASB).
Furthermore, Christ has also set Himself apart to maintain this holiness. Jesus said, “For their sakes I sanctify Myself, that they themselves also may be sanctified in truth” John 17:19, NASB).
Everything we need for fantastic fellowship with God is already provided to us by Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. This includes holiness. Our part involves daily putting aside the old life and constantly choosing to walk in the new nature. It is totally logical because the old nature is dead anyway, and nothing could be more wonderful than living in the presence of a loving God. All we need to do is walk in the provisions that He has already made for us and enjoy life with Him.
Sumner, Tracy M., Ed. The Essential Works of Andrew Murray; 12 Complete Books Covering the Entire Christian Life). Uhrichsville, Ohio: Barbour Publishing, 2008.
[i]For more details see the Nugget of Truth entitled “Death of the Old Nature.”
[ii] From The Essential Works of Andrew Murray, published by Barbour Publishing, Inc. Used by permission.