Practical Holiness: Basic Principles

by Joanna Pierce on August 09, 2018

The Very Nature of God

As discussed last week, holiness is an essential attribute of God. It is who God is! We are called to be holy in all manner of our behavior because our God is holy (I Peter 1:15). We are to think how He thinks, love what He loves, hate what He hates, and act how He acts. Holiness is the target or end goal for the believer; we can’t make it to heaven unless we follow it in our life (Hebrews 12:14).

Inward and Outward Holiness

Holiness is comprised of two concepts that work together: 1) separation from sin and worldliness and 2) dedication to God and His will. We are called not to love the world or the things in it (I John 2:15–17). And, when we follow after holiness, this will be evident in the inner man as well as the outer man (body and spirit) (II Corinthians 7:1). Our attitudes, thoughts, and spiritual responsibility will transcend to actions and physical responsibility. Inward holiness will produce outward holiness (outward holiness will not produce inward holiness). We must be changed from the inside-out!

The Work of Holiness

Spiritual results will require spiritual work. Holiness will not come automatically; we must work at it. The Holy Ghost (Spirit of God) will develop this within us and grow our spiritual maturity. Paul admonished the church to be dead to sin and not allow it to reign in their body. Instead, we are to be instruments of righteousness and lend ourselves over to God working in us and through us (Romans 6:11–13).

Important Keys to Developing Holiness

It’s a Joint Venture

Developing holiness is a joint effort between us and our Savior. We need to work out our own salvation, but the operation of the Holy Ghost in us will help us to do God’s will and His good pleasure (Philippians 2:2). We must work on obtaining (and living a life of) holiness or we won’t have it. Realize, God won’t force holiness upon us. Our Lord has given us the ability to walk in holiness but has left us with the responsibility to do the walking. If live a life consecrated to Him, nothing—even achieving holiness—will be impossible.

It’s a Continual Process

The work of holiness in our life will be complete only when we get to heaven. God realizes our holiness work won’t be complete until then, but in the interim, He still calls us to be perfect in a relative sense. We are to be perfect in our mind (Philippians 3:15) and to grow in grace and our knowledge of our Lord and Savior (II Peter 3:18). As we all grow and mature at different rates, God holds us to different levels of accountability. God evaluates our personal maturity and growth in different ways; however, we all still must advance toward holiness and bear more spiritual fruit in Him. Remember, God is trying to get results out of us!

It’s a Daily Walk

If we live and abide in holiness one day at a time, holiness becomes achievable. As mentioned previously, holiness doesn’t happen over night, and won’t be complete until we make Heaven. But, it’s going to happen if we aim for holiness every single day. While holiness principles seem daunting, God is faithful to us and does not tempt us above what we’re able to bear. He will always make a way of escape for us to follow Him into holiness (I Corinthians 10:13). We can live today without sinning! There’s a promise in God’s Word that there is no temptation we can’t overcome. Jesus told people time after time to go and sin no more. They didn’t have the Holy Ghost. What’s our excuse?

Our Daily Walk in Holiness

We need to obey God’s Word and resist temptations to fall short of the glory of God.  The more we talk to Jesus the more we become like Him. Therefore, we need to pray daily. If others can pray that we become holy, we can pray that we become holy (I Thessalonians 5:23). Praying also coincides with reading the Word of God daily. If we plant the Word in our heart we won’t sin against God (James 1:21). After reading His Word, we need to meditate on it and determine how we can change our lives and obey it.

We also must personalize the Word of God. We need to realize our responsibility to die out to sin and follow after God, His Word, and His plan for holiness. This will be carried out when we eliminate the opportunities for sin in our life. We should abstain from unnecessary spiritual pressure and not make provision for the flesh. Keeping after holiness is a daily effort! Every thought needs to come under the obedience of Christ (II Corinthians 10:4–5). Lastly, we should practice until we’re made perfect: practice the walk of holiness. As we’ve spent most of our life learning to do things the wrong way (our way), we need to practice living our lives God’s way. The more we do it, the easier it will become.

Adapted from Wednesday Night Bible Study on August 08, 2018 with Pastor Nave