Often within the church, debate opponents, are required to take the grace side or the holiness side. Those who prefer liberty in thought and action often refer to the holiness side as rigid, legalistic or law keepers. Those who prefer the “narrow way” often refer to the grace side as liberal and worldly. These two have clashed since the biblical portions of scripture have been penned, often leaving no room for reconciliation.
There are differences in people and interpretation as noted in Mark 15;25 When Jesus is crucified at nine in the morning and John 19;24 records Jesus as crucified at “six in the morning.” Jesus could have been crucified either in the middle of the two hours or Mark and John writing of two different events leading up to the crucifixion. Did the crucifixion occur at the whipping, the actual cross bearing, at Golgotha’s hill, or once the cross was raised?
While differences in people may develop different theological arguments the Holy Bible is the anchor of truth holding all hearts accountable.
Holiness, best defined, is the nature of God and defined by Webster’s Dictionary as, “the quality or state of being holy. Grace, best defined, according to Webster’s Dictionary, as “the unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification.” The qualifying definition of both grace and holiness must be biblically defined, if we are to ascertain the truth of God’s Word. Sadly, we have adapted a “Christian worldview” that has become increasingly apart from a “biblical worldview.”
In the Old Testament, God is referenced as HOLINESS, Kadesh, sacred, consecrated, or hallowed. Because God is holy, (Isaiah 6), he can set apart and consecrate, and He did make holy:
Holy Anointing Oil
And much more, it appears what God touched, consecrated and set apart were made holy.
In the New Testament, we are determined by God to live holy. Romans 12:1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And commanded to be holy, 1 Peter 1:16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. Holy is not to be fought against but actually we are to be passionate for His nature of holiness to live within us. Resistance, struggle and disobedience are enemies of God’s holiness. 2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
If I am responsible to allow the nature of God, holiness, to flourish within me, doesn’t this contradict grace?, There is nothing I can do to be holy, or I am working for my salvation? And of course, the answer is, there is no clash. We can never work or be “good enough” to be saved, that is a works based salvation and it absolves the power of grace. Ephesians 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God. Grace and grace alone saves but when grace saves you, it also changes you. 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
When the nature of God, holiness, is imparted in your life, the nature of God creates a new creature and you begin to adapt the nature of God to be your nature. Grace empowers you to live holy. Examine this verse carefully, notice grace opens the door for God’s nature of holiness to live within you. Titus 2:11-12 For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;
Grace and holiness are not opposites but actually partners in the path of salvation. Grace opens the door for the nature of God, holiness, to live within us. We are given grace to deny ungodliness, to deny worldly lusts, liver soberly, live righteously, live godly – all pointing us to God’s nature of holiness.
Holiness is not works but holiness is grace at work in our life and works will follow.
If the nature of God is within us then we will live, walk, talk, and act like God. Any other grace is simply a cheap or weak substitute.
God’s grace must “teach us” what ungodliness we should deny, what worldly lusts we should deny and how to live soberly, righteously and godly. That is grace and holiness in partnership to conform us into His image. 2 Corinthians 3:18 But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.
Copyright by Jim Laudell. Materials may not be copied, reproduced or distributed without the written permission of the author. You may share on Facebook, Twitter, and other forms of social media while giving credit to the author. This post should not be construed as medical, legal, counselling or professional advice.