The gift of holiness.
2 Timothy 1:9
9 He has saved us and called us to a holy life—not because of anything we have done but because of his own purpose and grace. This grace was given us in Christ Jesus before the beginning of time (NIV)
The Lord has called us not only to salvation but to holiness. He has done this because of His grace.
Grace is unmerited favor. It is gifts from God undeserved. Holiness is a gift from God. It is a gift in that we cannot make ourselves holy, but His gift is to sanctify us holy. But the lifestyle of holiness is a gift.
Do you think of holiness as a gift from God?
We usually think of holiness in the context of living right which can easily be associated with the “Thou shall not’s” of the Ten Commandments. This gives holiness the image of self-discipline and the struggle to not fall into the temptations that we have been riddled with.
Holiness, however, is a change of heart. It is God transforming our hearts so that our desires change. We move from the vile affections born in selfishness and pride to holy desires coming out of the fruits of the spirit. Pastor Ted, our old youth pastor used to say that now that God has sanctified him, he smokes all the pot he wants, gets drunk as often as he wants, and participates in every vice as often as he desires. However, the Lord had changed his desires so he no longer wanted to do those things.
Holiness is freedom from temptations to do those things that will eventually really mess us up ruining our life and those around us too. This is why the Bible speaks of the Highway of Holiness as a wonderful place of everlasting joy where sadness, frustration, and depression fall away.
We can never earn this gift, but the Lord gives it to us anyway when He sees we truly desire it. We make known this desire by putting forth the effort to live the way God has called us to live without excuse or justification. Then, the Lord gives what we don’t deserve because He sees it is the desire of our heart and He loves to give us the desires of our heart when those desires are righteous.
Prayer: Lord, let me view your commands as a path to freedom through the gift of holiness that I may love them and desire to follow them. Amen.