How Holy Can We Become on This Earth?
Updated: Jun 27, 2022
People often ask me how holy can we as Christians become on this earth and in this world now? This is a great question and one I took seven chapters in my book “Wholly Holy: A Training Manual for Living a Completely Holy Life” to answer. The long and short of it is that many today have lowered the standard of holiness down to their level of experience rather than raising the standard to the level of the Scriptures. The key to answering this question lies in looking to the whole counsel of God’s Word and not to others experiences nor our own.
The reality is that we often struggle in living out this holy life before God even as saints who are set apart unto God, clothed in the righteousness of Christ, have the Holy Spirit within them, have the law placed upon their hearts, are slaves of righteousness and slaves of God, and who are new creations. As Hebrews 12:4 states, “In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood” (ESV). In this world, we will struggle against sin. Victory and freedom over sin is not automatic and guaranteed like it will be in the new heavens and new earth one day when we receive our perfected renewed bodies and we become fully like Jesus (1 John 3:2). Victory and freedom over sin in this world is possible but it is not automatic nor guaranteed. It will take us cooperating with God and constantly trusting and obeying God on a daily basis.
God will not obey or trust for us. He will help us to obey and trust Him as we look to Him and ask in prayer. But we must be willing day to day to go on obeying and trusting Him as He gives us victory and freedom over sin. The reality is that it is a struggle to walk in freedom and victory over sin but the good news is that it is possible to do so even in this world. It will require conditions to be met and will require good choices and hard work and complete trust in God’s grace, but it is possible. It will certainly not be easy nor will it be automatic. But the good news is that we can grow in holiness and Christlikeness and as a result, sin less. We can get more and more victory and freedom over sin day by day as we become more like Jesus.
As Christians, we are saints empowered by grace. God’s grace doesn’t cover our sins (that’s called mercy), but rather conquers sin in our lives. The whole Christian walk can be summed up with the words “by grace through faith” (Ephesians 2:8-9). By grace through faith is not only for justification (our conversion), but is also for our sanctification (our process in becoming holy). Titus 2:11-14 states, “For the grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age, looking for the blessed hope and the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed, and to purify for Himself a people for His own possession, zealous for good deeds.”
Notice in Titus 2:11-14 above, that God’s grace has appeared not only to bring us salvation, but also to bring us sanctification in “instructing us to deny ungodliness and worldly desires and to live sensibly, righteously and godly in the present age…” In order to reach maturity and to become completely holy in this world, we need God’s grace in abundance every day of our lives. God’s grace is conditional and it comes to those who are humble. James 4:6 states, “But He gives a greater grace. Therefore it says, “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” But how do we become humble? By simply trusting in God rather than in man or ourselves. As we live by faith, we are depending upon God for our source of strength rather than ourselves and we are looking to Jesus. We realize we are nothing apart from Jesus and that even though we are weak in and of ourselves, in Christ we are strong.
We will never come to the place of sinless perfection upon this earth. As I said above, that will only happen in the eternal life to come (1 John 3:2). However, we can continue to grow and mature and become more holy on this earth. With that ever-increasing holiness in our lives, we will sin less and less and get more and more victory and freedom over sin. Let’s go on to fulfill 2 Corinthians 7:1, “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all defilement of flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God,” and 1 Peter 1:15-16, “but like the Holy One who called you, be holy yourselves also in all your behavior; because it is written, “YOU SHALL BE HOLY, FOR I AM HOLY.” May we perfect or complete holiness in our lives to the point where we are holy in all of our behavior so that we reflect God’s holiness on this earth by His grace.