Introduction: God’s goal for us is to become like Jesus. If you are a believer, He has already given you Christ’s righteousness, and now He wants to conform you into Christ’s image. “For those God foreknew He also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brothers.” (Romans 8:29 NIV) The Lord also wants us to be blameless and holy. “It is God’s will that you should be sanctified… .” (1 Thessalonians 4:3 NIV) In this lesson we will learn:
§ The meaning of holiness (sanctification).
§ How you can become holy or live holy (practical steps to living holy).
I. What is holiness?
A. Holiness literally means “to be set apart for God.” (John 17:17-19)
- It is the same word as sanctification.
B. A definition of holiness is “the continuing work of God and man that makes us more and more free from sin and more like Christ.”
- God’s intention is for believers to live free from the bondage of sin. Why? Sin prevents us from living the abundant life that God has designed for us. (1 Peter 1:14-16)
C. Holiness has two stages.
1. It begins when we are born again. “And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.” (1 Corinthians 6:11 NIV)
a) We are called “saints.” “Paul, called to be an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and our brother Sosthenes, to the church of God in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus and called to be saints, together with all those everywhere who call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ-their Lord and ours.” (1 Corinthians 1:1-2 NKJ)
b) We have been set free from sin!
“You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.” (Romans 6:18 NIV)
2. Throughout life, you are to continue to be transformed into Christ’s likeness by the sanctification process.
a) It begins at the “new birth” but is also a process throughout our lives.
b) We are being changed from one degree to another.
“And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, Who is the Spirit.” (2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV).
D. The key to your sanctification is knowing who you are in Christ.
1. Holiness is not a negative process, but a positive one.
a) Some think of it as a list of “don’ts.”
b) Scripture views it as a way of sharing Jesus’ life.
2. Jesus is God’s “working model” for your life as a believer.
a) We are inseparably linked with Jesus.
1) “Just as the living Father sent Me and l live because of the Father; so the one who feeds on Me will live because of Me.” (John 6:57 NIV)
2) Just as a baby’s umbilical cord connects it with its mother, we are connected with Jesus and share His life.
b) If we abide in Jesus, we “ought to walk in the same manner as He walked.” (1 John 2:6 NAS)
II. How do you become sanctified or live holy?
A. Believe that God is good, created you with purpose, wants a relationship with you, and has given you His Word. (Titus 2:11-14, 3:4-8)
B. Know who you are and where true life is to be found.
1. We are aliens in this world.
“I have given them Your word and the world has hated them, for they are not of the world any more than I am of the world.” (John 17:14 NIV)
2. The values of the world are not my values.
“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want.” (Philippians 4:11-12 NIV)
C. Be convinced that God’s expectation for his children is that they do not sin.
1. “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” (1 John 2:1 NIV).
2. “No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God’s seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born of God.” (1 John 3:9 NIV)
D. Repent and confess any sin in your life, and drink in God’s forgiveness.
1. “God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.” (2 Corinthians 5:21 NIV)
2. We grieve the Spirit when we sin, but when we come “clean” with God, He rejoices over us. (Luke 15:24)
3. We must maintain a clear conscience.
E. Renew your mind.
1. “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is-His good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2 NIV)
2. The mind is the part of the body that needs the most discipline.
3. We take every “thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5)
F. Continually admit that you are dependent on the Holy Spirit to help you live a life like Jesus.
1. Developing an ongoing friendship with God does this.
G. Place yourself in situations where holiness can grow.
1. Drink in God’s Word.
2. Maintain regular prayer times.
3. Get busy with the tasks God wants you to do.
4. Physically remove yourself from places of temptation.
5. Refuse to entertain thoughts that could lead to sin. Choose instead to think “Philippians” thoughts:
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable-if anything is excellent or praiseworthy-think about such things.” (Philippians 4:8 NIV)