“Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:13-16, ESV)
If you are in Christ, you are called to holiness. The word sounds spiritual but it simply means being set apart, being different from the culture around you and kept for something better. Often this idea of holiness is lived out through our thoughts and behaviors. And that is obedience. Responding to the truth of what Christ has done we chose to live better than we would have before we realized that work as a gift.
At this point though things get sticky. This is the point at which the preaching of a free gift and the absence of our own work for salvation turns to something of work again. In an attempt to make sense of how we achieve holiness in our lives we turn to what we know and we make our holiness about our effort. We move into a work righteousness not for salvation but sanctification. The silly thing is that our standing before God in Christ changes not one iota. But we believe we are called to sweat and striving all of a sudden apart from the work of Christ.
We will even recognize how we are equipped for holiness by the living Christ and the Holy Spirit but we trust in our effort. And when we trust in our own effort we are left with the question of how holy is holy enough? And we never rest in Christ and his holiness granted to us – flowing in us.
Here is the truth; Christ’s work for you is permanent and sufficient. He desires for you to live obediently in response to what he has done for you, not out of duty or human discipline. And he is the reward. All your obedience is storing up for you more of Jesus. At this truth our obedience, our holy living is no effort at all. It is of such worth we want nothing else.
When you fail at obedience, and I promise you will, rest in what Christ has done and know that his holiness is enough for you. Then get back up, realize what has been done for you and what is being done in you to set you apart and give you new life.