Is Holiness Really Possible?
Have you heard the statement "Carry Your Cross" before?
It’s one that many Christian people say, but most people don’t really understand it in depth. They may proclaim the verse with their lips, but when it comes to reality and the way that they live their life, they act as if it's an impossible task.
That leads me to this question... Is it truly possible to carry your cross successfully every single day? Is holiness possible on this side of heaven?
Carrying your cross is an idea that comes directly from Jesus. That means it's extra important, right? Would Jesus command that we do something if it is truly unfeasible to do? Why would He waste time saying it if that was the case?
So maybe it is possible to truly deny ourselves entirely... but even if it is, that doesn't mean most Christians want to.
People like giving into anger once in a while.
They enjoy lusting from time to time.
People in the church love to gossip.
Why would they give that up when they can convince themselves it is okay because Romans 7 claims that we are a slave to sin, even after we have been converted? ( I believe Romans 7 is Paul talking about himself as a Jewish leader, not a changed Christian. I believe that he is not referring to his current Christian walk when discussing the points in those verses. That's another debate for another time though... Moving on...)
Whatever your fleshly ties are, pay attention to scripture. Excuses won't fly on the White Throne on Judgement day where we are rewarded for our deeds. The cross is a symbol of death. It is how criminals in the Roman empire were killed for their transgressions. We need to crucify our flesh daily. Look at these verses below!
"I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.”
"to put off your old self, which belongs to your former manner of life and is corrupt through deceitful desires, and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, and to put on the new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.”
It isn't only possible for a Christian to be holy on this side of heaven. It is a requirement.
While yes, we are blameless and holy when covered with the blood of Christ, we are also able, through His spirit and power, to live out that holiness in our actions and hearts.
I am not saying that this pursuit of holiness will be perfect... but our obedience to God should be much more frequent than our transgressions. Sin should be rare in the Christian life. Sanctification is key.
I absolutely love this verse:
“Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure”
In this verse, we see cooperation between God and His children in sanctification. We don't just rely on God to fully make us blameless through Jesus and then walk away doing whatever we want!!!!
We must sweat and toil while putting in work to remain holy for God. Holiness will not be brought to completion in our lives with no effort on our part. God was merciful enough to purchase us and redeem us, so now we surrender our lives to Him. Not just some of our lives, but the whole thing.
We cannot serve two masters like it says in Matthew.
We will either serve our flesh or we will serve Jesus.
Holiness is not a far or insane concept. It's not an unattainable standard of perfection. Holiness is birthed from a growing relationship with the Lord. God wants His children to be like Him, so instead of making excuses, it is time for us to take Him at his word and pursue holiness by taking up our cross and carrying it each and every day.