"Because of Him, you are in Christ Jesus, Who became for us wisdom from God - and righteousness and SANCTIFICATION and redemption. ~1 Corinthians 1:30
In the Old Testament, believers are referred to as "righteous", while in the New Testament, they are called saints- holy ones, sanctified in Christ Jesus. It is only because we are holy that we can approach a Holy God, who said "Be ye holy, for I am holy." (See Matt.5:48; I Pet.1:16)
In personal experience, righteousness comes BEFORE holiness. A new Christian is overjoyed with the deliverance he has experienced. He knows it was God's gracious work that justified him, and he figures it is now his work to live a sanctified life out of gratitude for all Christ has done for him.
Reality soon hits, and the new believer finds himself struggling hopelessly to live a holy life. He prays. He cries out to God. He tries harder, and makes lists of things to do, and things not to do. He only has to learn to partake in the holiness of God by faith.
Consider the example of a fruit tree that needs to have branches grafted in so that it will bear fruit:
"Make a tree good and its fruit will be good." ~Matthew 12:33
I can graft a tree so that only a single branch bears good fruit, while many of the natural branches remain, and bear their old fruit--a type of believer in whom a small part of the life is sanctified, but in whom, from ignorance or other reasons, the carnal life still in many respects has full dominion. ~ Andrew Murray, Abiding in Christ
Most new believers struggle with the old nature like this type of tree.
I can graft a tree so that every branch is cut off, and the whole tree becomes renewed to bear good fruit; and yet, unless I watch over the tendency of the stems to give sprouts, they may again rise and grow strong, and, robbing the new graft of the strength it needs, make it weak. Such are Christians who, when apparently powerfully converted, forsake all to follow Christ, and yet after a time, through unwatchfulness, allow old habits to regain their power, and whose Christian life and fruit are but feeble.This is the reality for many believers who become weary.Consecrated Christian
But if I want a tree wholly made good, I take it when young, and, cutting the stem clean off on the ground, I graft it just where it emerges from the soil. I watch over every bud which the old nature could possibly put forth, until the flow of sap from the old roots into the new stem is so complete, that the old life has, as it were, been entirely conquered and covered by the new. Here I have a tree entirely renewed--emblem of the Christian who has learnt in entire consecration to surrender everything for Christ, and in a whole-hearted faith wholly to abide in Him.
It is true for all of us that the old nature is ever-present within, continually seeking to rise up and lead you to evil. But do not fear, because Your Heavenly Father, the Vinedresser, has grafted the life of Christ onto your life. That holy life is STRONGER than your evil life.
You WILL bear fruit to the glory of the Father!
This holy nature within you is especially made for living a holy life and performing holy duties. It will grow stronger as you abide and allow the life-giving sap from the Source to flow through you.
- Believe that God delights in keeping you holy and vibrant in Him
- Surrender daily all of your self-confidence
- Confess daily the utter corruption of your old nature
- Remember that IN HIM you can be holy
- Lay yourself and your time, talents and energy on the altar for His use
"Do not look upon a life of holiness as a strain and an effort, but as the natural outgrowth of the life of Christ within you."
What do I know of holy? Nothing.
But Christ is in me, the hope of glory. And He is holy. As I surrender to His will, He sanctifies me, and in Him, I am holy.