But our holiness depends on our mentality. What do we choose to do and [who do we choose to] be? We live in the flesh but we are not of the flesh – unless we choose to be. Paul says, “Though you used to be slaves to sin, you have wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted. YOU HAVE BEEN SET FREE FROM SIN and have become slaves of righteousness. I put this in human terms,” he continues, “because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness LEADING TO HOLINESS.” (Romans 6:17-20)
[This] reminds me of what peter said in his first letter, “You are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, A HOLY NATION, a people belonging to God!” Present tense – A HOLY NATION. NOT “Going to be.“ You ARE a holy nation!
Yet, Peter goes on to lay out a few exhortations, a few rules and regulations for this “Holy Nation” to live by. Obviously, they weren’t there yet. Still he says to them, “Once you were not a people, but now you are THE people of God!” And then he says such things as, “Abstain from sinful desires.”; “Submit yourself. . .to every authority initiated among men.“; “Live in harmony with one another.“; “Do not repay evil for evil.“; “Be clear-minded and self-controlled.” Obviously, the members of this “holy nation” weren’t in a stage of perfection yet. They still had a way to go.
So how do we BECOME holy? I’ve struggled with that command a long time, and I know many many young Christians who are right now struggling with it as well. How [do I] live a HOLY and blameless life before god and Man? We sing it from the Scriptures, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us,” etc. That’s from Titus 3:5, which goes on to say, “He saved us through the washing and REBIRTH and RENEWAL by the Holy Spirit.” So, our HOLINESS is an established thing through the work of REDEMPTION, and that’s something only Jesus can do!
So Paul tells the Colossian church (a part of the “holy nation“), “Once you were alienated from God and were ENEMIES in your MINDS because of your evil behavior. But now He has RECONCILED reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you H-O-L-Y in His sight, without blemish and FREE FROM ACCUSATION.”
Now let me remind you of what I said at the beginning of this letter: “Man was NOT created for SIN. Man WAS created in the IMAGE of God – a HOLY God! God the Father, had Jesus in mind when He decided to extend His family outside the Godhead.” The first man, Adam, was created HOLY. But he fell, and with him all the rest of us, the family of Adam. So for us to come into the Holiness of God, we have to become a part of HIS family. And that comes not by natural birth, but by REBIRTH – REGENERATION. And with REBIRTH comes HOLINESS!
From Jay Fesperman’s “Letters of Exhortation”, Number 11, June 1981.