I am going to try to illustrate how some people see living holy by giving an everyday example. That’s right, I’m parabalising it! Many folks think God gives us a holiness bank account upon salvation and that it is now our job to fill that account with holiness. When we do good, the account gets credited. When we do bad the account gets debited. The greater the balance, the better the relationship with the bank. The worse the balance, the more upset your bank manager becomes. (Side note: Read this interesting article about an actual bank called ‘The Bank Of The Holy Spirit’ founded by Pope Paul V. Hilarious!)
Having a big balance in the holiness account makes people think that this qualifies them for other privileges offered by the bank. Because they have a higher holiness balance, they believe they will be more easily approved for blessings from God. But sometimes when they apply for blessing approval and don’t see it being approved instantly, they think they don’t have enough monthly holiness deposits to receive approval, so off they go doubling their efforts to increase their holiness credit rating.
On the other side of the pendulum are those with little to no holiness savings or even a severe holiness debt. Their holiness balance is dwindling because of their regular withdrawals and spontaneous spending sprees. Their account is often overdrawn which has them groveling and begging the bank manager to not slap them with overdraft fines and late charges. They often don’t even contemplate applying for other banking privileges because of the poor state of their holiness account. Their monthly holiness deposits just barely cover the interest alone from their sin debt.
Trying your hand at investing in holiness through your own actions is not only a bad idea; it could kill you. Trying to increase holiness through your good deeds and avoidance of sin is Old Covenant 101. Doing good and not doing bad is the essence of the law. To live like holiness is dependent on your behaviour is to purposefully live under the law. Click here and here for more.
The law has many fruits. Most notably being death (2 Cor 3:7) and condemnation (2 Cor 3:9). Don’t be fooled into thinking that living up to its rules will give you a good holiness rating for the law makes nothing perfect (Heb 7:19) and it is totally void of any form of faith (Gal 3:12). Since we have been called to live a life of faith, living under the law is doing completely the opposite of what we were called to do.
If you have been trying in vain to increase your holiness balance by rule keeping and religious duty, it’s time to realize that you have been scammed. The holiness stock market has crashed and your life’s work is for nothing. Close your account immediately and look to the cross. In God’s eyes what you did does not define who you are. It’s whom you are in that defines you in God’s eyes.
If you are in Christ, you are beloved, approved, accepted, forgiven, holy, righteous and so much more. Being in Christ is what makes you holy for you are hidden in The Holy One, you are united to the Holy One, and you are grafted into the Holy One.
Do not think of holiness is terms of good and bad. That is a deception easily avoided. I think holiness would be much better understood if it were spelled wholly-ness
Grace and Peace!