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Thinking about God leads us to quickly affirm God’s holy and righteous character. But pondering our own holiness can leave us feeling bad about ourselves. We heartily confess that God is holy, that He is unchanging in His holiness, and that His being and character exemplify and define holiness, yet we are painfully aware of our own sins. We don’t feel very holy, and therefore we conclude that we are not holy.

In ourselves, we are not holy. We are born in sin, and thus we are radically corrupt, at enmity with God, and bound for God’s eternal and righteous judgment. When it comes to our sin, if we’re honest, not only do we have to confess the sins we commit that people see, but we must also confess those sins in our hearts and minds that only God sees. Most of us not only don’t feel holy; we feel like the opposite of holy. We don’t feel like we’re “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37); instead, we often feel like complete failures.

Moreover, we are quite willing to affirm the holiness of other Christians. We recognize the ways that they beautifully manifest humility, grace, the love of Christ, and the fruit of the Spirit. We do the same with those men and women throughout church history whose lives seem to have consistently displayed the holiness of God. But we often don’t see ourselves as holy because we don’t feel holy. Some of us even believe the antinomian lie that it’s appropriate and humble never to claim that we are holy in any way.

Nevertheless, God has declared us holy. Therefore, while we know that we sin, God does not identify us by our sin. Satan identifies us by our sin, and we often join him in doing so, but God identifies us in Christ. God identifies us as holy and calls us to be holy because He has declared us holy on account of the holiness of Christ. As Paul writes, God “chose us in [Christ] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Eph. 1:4). He further urges us, “Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience” (Col. 3:12). As Christians, we are definitively holy because God has declared us so, and we are to strive for holiness, exercising repentance by the power of the Holy Spirit, which is one of the greatest evidences of our holiness in Christ.

The Holiness of God

Keep Reading The Holiness of God and His People

From the July 2024 Issue
Jul 2024 Issue