Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Good News vs fake news: He alone is Holy?

15 Now let me remind you, brothers, of what the Gospel really is, for it has not changed—it is the same Good News I preached to you before. You welcomed it then and still do now, for your faith is squarely built upon this wonderful message; 1 Corinthians 15:1 TLB

13 making the word of God of no effect through your tradition which you have handed down. And many such things you do. Mark 7:13 NKJV

 We've been in an extended study as of late. We've been contrasting the Good News of Jesus Christ with the fake news of religious traditions. In doing so, I must continually emphasize that people are not our enemy. God isn't angry at anyone. The same over the top Grace He's shown us He also has for the religious minded ones rejecting Grace and the goodness of God. 

 In our last study, we struck a nerve. We addressed the issue of the sin nature. We established that believers no longer have a sin nature but rather, are made alive in Christ, made a completely new creature and are made the very righteousness of God in Christ. This didn't sit well with some. I understand it cuts cross grain to religious tradition.

 With this in mind, I sensed the need to again address the believers standing and position in Christ Jesus. With so much interest in the article, it proves this is a much-needed issue to discuss. The way religion sees the believer and the way the New Covenant does are strikingly different. 

 For instance, religious tradition says things like;
"We are just sinners saved by Grace."
"Righteousness is what He did, holiness is what you do."
"He alone is holy."

 What we are really dealing with is the lowly view many have of the believer. When we say we are made the righteousness of God in Christ, we rejoice but religion treats this as just some doctrine of justification and it doesn't really translate into how they see themselves. They rather focus on the holiness issue. They don't see believers as being holy. Or if they acknowledge that we are "positionally sanctified" this is some "low grade" holiness. God's holiness is special and unique. We can never be like Him.

 The truth is many have a concept, a philosophy, a view that is so deeply rooted, so ingrained within, that it is developed into a stronghold. This concept or view is that the believer in Christ is still a wretched, lowly, unworthy sinner. This is the deep root that must be uprooted in the hearts and minds of Christians. We must relinquish tradition, and unlearn what they drilled into our thinking.

Sinners saved by Grace?

 Christians are not sinners. Being a sinner is an identity it is not actions. Identity determines actions, not the other way around. A sinner is one who is spiritually dead, cut off or separated from God. This means no matter how moral a person is it doesn't save them. Only becoming a new creation is what brings salvation. 

 The truth is we were sinners. We then received the Good News of Jesus Christ. We Were then saved by Grace. Now we are the very righteousness of God in Christ. Stop labeling yourself with an old identity that is dead and gone. Christians are not "saved sinners."

He alone is Holy?

 This is a major stronghold. People see God as perfect and holy and Christians as receiving some inferior righteousness and holy standing before Him. We hear it in worship anthems and such. The claim that He alone is holy. Does this mean that believers aren't holy? "Oh, brother wait the Scriptures say God alone is holy." Does it?
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name?
For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested.” Revelation 15:4 NKJV

 I am so glad to expound on this powerful passage. In fact, many atheists use this passage to try and prove the apparent contradictions in the Bible. For why would God say be holy in 1 Peter but then in Revelation say only God is holy? Obviously, there is no contradiction when we rightly divide the Word of God.

 I believe the original King James words this passage best. When reading Revelation 15:4 in the KJV it makes it clearer what John was saying. The passage is reciting a praise of God. It is saying that God you're only holy. Meaning that you're only holy, not partially holy and partially sinful. Young's translation brings an even bigger truth out.
who may not fear Thee, O Lord, and glorify Thy name? because Thou alone [art] kind, because all the nations shall come and bow before Thee, because Thy righteous acts were manifested.' Revelation 15:4 YLT
Young's doesn't use holy but kind. What gives? Because this word translated holy isn't the Greek word Hagios which is the Greek word most associated with purity and holiness and sanctification. The word in this passage is entirely different. 

 The word translated holy in Revelation 15 reveals the character of God. It's actually the Greek word hosios. It really speaks of God's purity and goodness. In other words, this word reveals why we know there is no darkness in God. This word reveals why we know God won't say one thing and do another. This passage is praising God's perfect character. He is sinless and pure. He is kind and loving. He is good through and through. 

 With that stated, we now understand there is no contradiction. This passage isn't saying God is the only one holy. It is just revealing the one true character of God, perfectly pure, and wholly good and loving. This means that when He made us new in Christ, He also made us righteous and holy. This isn't some low-level holiness either.
10 For God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time. Hebrews 10:10 NLT
14 For by one offering He has perfected for all time those who are sanctified Hebrews 10:14 NASB 
 It is crystal clear. He has not only declared us righteous but made us righteous. In the Finished Work, He also perfected us and made us holy, once for all time. We are already holy. We are already sanctified. Holiness isn't what we do but what He made us once for all time in the Finished Work.

 What about progressive sanctification? I mean we sure don't always act holy. True, but we aren't striving to become what we already are. That is the problem with religion. They wish for us to struggle and strive to attain something that has already been freely given. 

 The truth is we are already made holy. The growth process is simply progressive maturity into who we already are. Imagine, what a paradigm shift would occur in most churches if instead of preaching to Christians they need to strive to arrive, achieve to receive, to pursue holiness, they were instead told you're already holy? What if they were told just be who you already are? 

In summation, are Christians simply sinners saved by Grace? No, we're the righteousness of God. Is God the only one holy? No, He made Christians holy once for all time in the Finished Work. Is this holiness some third rate, low-level holiness? No, He made us as holy as He is. Set apart by His precious blood and made forever acceptable before our Father. Don't see yourself as lowly or unclean. We are cleansed by the blood, made righteous and set apart forever in Christ. This is the true Good News of Grace. This is your new identity. 
Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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