We Are Holy, as He is Holy

06/28/17

We are Holy as He is Holy

A few weeks ago, in my blog post titled Hagios , I made the statement that “We are holy as Christ is holy.” This may seem like an audacious claim, and it is. We will always fall short when comparing ourselves to Jesus. He was/is perfect, and we are not. Each of us continuously fulfills Romans 3:23 which states, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” Jesus never fell short of the glory of God; in fact, He is the very personification of God’s glory. How in the world can we say that we are anywhere close to Jesus when it comes to holiness? Much like everything else in the Christian faith, it all revolves around the cross and the empty tomb. (Quick disclaimer: I am not saying that we are God. Jesus was 100% God and 100% human. We are just 100% human, as far as I know.) 
 
When Jesus went to the cross something spectacular happened, and it has a fancy theological name, Substitutionary Atonement. Substitutionary Atonement is the very foundation of our faith. It may sound complicated, but it is not. If you break the name down then, you get the words substitutionary and atonement. Let’s look at atonement first.
 

What does it mean to atone for something? It’s the act of making amends for some wrong that you have committed. In this instance, it is sinning against God. God established a system in the first few books of The Bible for how people were to atone for their sins; it came through sacrifice and blood. The book of Leviticus is more or less all about the specific sacrifice needed for different sins. It’s a real page-turner. God never changed His system. To this day, God still requires sacrifice and blood for the atonement of our sins. Now if you are particularly observant in church, you’ll notice that there aren’t very many animal sacrifices going on. That’s because Jesus became our sacrificial lamb. When He bled and died on the cross, He satisfied God’s requirement for the atonement of our sins. 1 John 2:2 says it like this, “He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only ours but also for the sins of the whole world.” When John writes “not only for ours but for the whole world,” he is not advocating for universalism (everyone goes to heaven) but is saying that Christ’s death is not just for the Jews, as they had previously believed. This atonement is received only by faith.

Now let’s look at the substitutionary part. A substitute, which I’m sure you’re aware, is something that stands in for something else. When Jesus went to the cross, He substituted Himself for us. We are the ones who deserve to pay for our sins. We are the ones who deserve that death. Romans 6:23 tells us that “For the wages of sin is death…” Jesus was sinless; thus He didn’t deserve to die. Nevertheless, Jesus willingly took on our sin, our punishment, and God’s wrath when He gave His life on Calvary. As they like to say in cheesy infomercials, “But wait, there’s more!” Not only did he take on our sin but, when we when we become Christians, He gives us His righteousness!Yes, you read that right.

Substitutionary atonement is a two-way transaction. We give Jesus our sin, and He gives us His righteousness. We get the much, much better end of the deal. This is known as (brace yourself for another theological term) imputed righteousness. To impute something means to ascribe something to a person and that is precisely what Christ did for us with His righteousness. “He made the One who did not know sin to be sin for us, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Cor 5:21) “He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree, so that, having died to sins, we might live for His righteousness; you have been healed by His wounds.” (1 Pet 2:24)

Do you see yourself as righteous? My assumption is that you do not. If you are anything like me, then your mind immediately goes to all the sins that you have committed, and you think “I know myself too well to see me as righteous.” God knows you better than you do and yet, He sees you as righteous. If you have given your life to Christ, then He no longer sees you as sinful but as a saint. He looks on you and sees His son.

I was praying as I was driving to the office one morning a couple of months ago and I started my prayer by saying “God I am a sinner” then I paused. In that moment of silence, I heard God speak to me. There is no question in my mind that it was God’s voice. What He said to me shook me to the core, and I haven’t been the same since. He said, “No, my son, you are a saint.” At that moment, I realized that I had been defining myself by my sin whereas God defined me by what Christ did for me.

We are holy as He is holy, not because of a single thing that we have done. We are holy because of what the Holy One did for us. Hebrews 10:10 explains it like this, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.”  If you are a Christian, then you are no longer defined by your sin so stop living your life like that. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” When you start following Jesus, you become a new creation and that creation is righteous and is a saint. No, we are not perfect. We will still fall into sin and do what we know we shouldn’t however, “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 8:1). Let me hammer home my point by quoting one of my favorites. April 4th in Charles Spurgeon’s devotional “Morning by Morning” reads (translated into modern by me English…you’re welcome):

You have learned to hate sin; but you have also learned to know that sin is not yours – it was laid upon Christ’s head. Your standing is not in yourself, but in your Lord; you are as much accepted of God today, with all your sinfulness, as you will be when you stand before His throne, free from all corruption. Oh, I beg you, lay hold of this precious thought, perfection in Christ!

This doesn’t mean that we get to do whatever we want because, as I quoted out of 1 Peter earlier, we are to live for God’s righteousness. Jesus tells us, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments.” (John 14:25) What it does mean is that there is ample amount of forgiveness and grace for you through Christ Jesus, our Lord.

Don’t let your sin weigh you down; you are holy as He is holy simply through faith in Him. When those times come that you’re feeling down because you have stumbled, remember what Martin Luther had to say “So when the devil throws your sins in your face and declares that you deserve death and hell, tell him this; I admit that I deserve death and hell, what of it? For I know one who suffered and made satisfaction on my behalf. His name is Jesus Christ, Son of God, and where He is, there I shall be also.” Fellow saints, rejoice in the title that God has bestowed upon you and do everything you can to live into that title. If you are in Christ, you are not a sinner. You are a saint!
 
Kyle Smith, Director of Youth Ministries

2 Responses to “We Are Holy, as He is Holy”

  1. Kathi Smith says:

    Your talent and love for Christ truly amazes me and I am proud of who you are and what you do…love you!!!

  2. Barbara Edens says:

    A great reminder for me to not look back @ my life, but to work for my redeemer as a new creature. There is so much more I need to do for Him and I doubt myself. Thank you Kyle for this reminder.

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