Resolving The Divide: ”You are holy” and ”Be holy”

Proverbs 26:7  “The legs of the lame are not equal: so is a parable in the mouth of fools.”

Ever wondered why Jesus asked us to walk the narrow path ? It  is simply because non-chalancy can make one to fall into the ditch. Either sides of the narrow path are not healthy for us.

Many have accused those that insist that we are already holy, perfect, righteous and accepted as people promoting sloppy agape and greasy grace. Well, you know what?  They have scriptures to back it up. You can read more about this here in our previous post.

So, fighting these stand points could actually amount to disagreeing with the word of the lord. However, the confusion for many believers who intend to live by grace is how to reconcile this standpoint of the grace of God with scriptures that then ask us ‘’to be holy  as our heavenly father is holy… ( 1 Peter 1:15-16 ).  This kind of scriptures are the ones that those who are trying to please God and earn his favour use to back up their well-meaning but graceless venture. The problem with these Christless ventures is that they make our faith useless and unproductive

Resolving this for our spiritual benefit requires a great deal of humility as we unfold the truth from the word of  God.  James 1: 21 actually asks us to receive with meekness the ingrafted word which is able to save our soul. So, please be ready to humbly drop assumptions and imaginations as you allow the word of the lord to slice through your soul.

So, let us examine that scripture in 1 Peter 1:13-16 which is of interest in this case,

13 Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; 15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy

In verse 13, it says rests your hope fully (not partially) upon the grace that comes through the revelation of Jesus Christ. He is simply saying your hope, confidence, dependence etc should rest entirely on grace. And he is saying more of this grace can be received as we get to know Jesus Christ or at his unveiling. Then in verse 14, he reminds us that the reason why we would live wrongly would be because of our ignorance.  Well, what really is  ignorance ?.

This  online dictionary  states that the original root verb word  is ‘’ignore’’  which is where the noun word ‘’ignorance’’ came from. To be ignorant, you must not be taking notice of something that is obviously there. You are not really ignorant until you either intentionally or otherwise continue to be unaware of something that is actually present. Ignorant of  what? What did he tell them in ‘’verse 13’’  to depend on?. Grace through Jesus Christ ! . He is simply saying rely completely on grace through Jesus Christ.

If you dare start living life  like before, it is simply because you are ignorant of the very thing I told you to depend on ‘’grace’’. In fact, that was the reason you lived life the way you did before coming to christ.  Grace is what credits you what you did not achieve with your own pedigree. If it is of works or human achievement , then it cannot be by grace. If it is of grace, it cannot be by works. There is no ground for mixing.

And if by grace, then it is no longer of works; otherwise grace is no longer grace. But if it is of works, it is no longer grace; otherwise work is no longer work. (Romans 11:6  NKJV)

So in verse 15, he says ‘’ be holy because he that called you is holy’’ . Well, I thought if it was of grace, it is no longer based on what you do (works) . Yes !  you are right. The revelation that the Apostle Peter is sharing here through the holy spirit is in complete sync with the new covenant. All we have to do is to drop our lens of religion. That lens is the most stubborn and resilient  in the world. We can by God’s grace get rid of it and walk in the freedom in which Christ has set us free (Galatians 5:1).

What is this verse saying then, asking us to do some things to complete our holiness? No ! no! no! , he is not saying that. He is saying think and act like who you are.  For example, if you tell a man to think and act like a man. I hope you know asking him to think and act like one is not what makes him a man. He is a man, however, due to some things that do not match up in his conduct, you then simply tell him to stand up as a man. How silly would it be for a man to try and do some few things and then announce to everyone that I am now a man. That would be laughable. Why? He is obviously a man whether or not  he thinks or acts like one. He already has the full  composition. We can only remind him that he should talk and act like one because  he is one.  This is why religion is a bag of confusion deflating and puncturing our confidence towards God.

Sure, religion with all its activities overpromises to make you holy but never delivers its promises. You may become self confident and proud for a while about your achievements. Soon, you become fearful and unsure about what is and would happen to you.  Why do you think the most religious people still come to Jesus in the Gospels to ask him about where they stand?

Let us look at some other scriptures or witnesses. Out of the mouth of 2 or 3 witnesses, every word ought to be established (2 Corinthians 13:1). Finis Dakes who commented on the Dake’s Bible had often advocated that with this approach to scriptural revelation, you would hardly go wrong.

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. 2 Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth. 3 For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. 4 When Christ who is our life appears, then you also will appear with Him in glory. 5 Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. 6 Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, 7 in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. ( Galatians 3: 1-7)

Check out verse 1. “If you were raised with Christ…” It is like saying, if you believe or agree  you were raised with him as a believer, then look and think from that perspective. So, if you look at the check list of conduct in verse 5, they were never meant to make you sit with Christ. You are already seated with Christ. This is why it is a shame to see whole ministries dedicated to demanding people do this and practice that so that they can make heaven.

Verse 1 says that is where you are. Nevertheless, he is saying think like someone who is there. And then he goes on to say, if you think like someone who is there (verse 2), you would then act like someone who is there (verse 5). All the checklist of verse 5 are meant to be seen in that light.  It is as simple as that. Don’t try to make heaven, you are already in heaven.  The order is ‘’know’’ , ‘’think’’  and  ‘’act’’ .

So, even if you fail or stumble in your ‘acting’ process, you still know you are who you are. You would not need to pretend or put up a show. You would be confident and comforted in the fact you know that your position is in heaven with Christ already. Don’t let religion put you back into bondage, it would never deliver its promises. It puts ‘’act’’ before ‘’knowing’’. At best, it would make a hypocrite out of you.

 

Let us go on to another witness: Romans 6: 1-12 (KJV)

 

1 What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? 2 Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? 3 Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4 Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.

5 For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6 knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7 For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8 Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him,9 knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11 Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body, that you should obey it in its lusts. 13 And do not present your members as instruments of unrighteousness to sin, but present yourselves to God as being alive from the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness to God. 14 For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under law but under grace.

This a long scriptural reference. However, it  would  deliver the revelation.  Read it meditatively. Look at the idea from verses 1-11. The summary idea is that in Christ, you are freed from sin and you are dead to it. He says you need to know that (verse 3) . Now, specifically in verse 11, he says you need to ‘’reckon’’  or ‘’think’’ like that. Then in verses 12-13, he now says you need to ‘’act’’ like one.  Can you see that trend again,  ‘’know’’ , ‘’think’’ and ‘’act’’ ?

So, what is the conclusion of this matter? Acting and doing a lot of good stuff (behaving right, praying, evangelizing, reading the bible etc) does not make you what you are no more than making barking sounds makes you a dog no matter how long you do it.

You are already made holy (Hebrews 10:10), perfect (Hebrews 10:14), righteous (2 Corinthians 5:21) etc. In fact, you are already given a measure of faith (Romans 12:3). In later blogs, we would see that it is this religious misnomer that makes people to struggle to have faith.  So, what do you do with this? Dwell on this knowing, think like it and then in an unforced manner, you would act like one. Reject any man-made rearrangement of that pattern as it would kill your real person and siphon the very faith you need to walk in the kingdom.

 

We would be happy to receive your responses and questions.

 

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