God wills for His people an uttermost salvation. That has always been God’s will. The meaning of the word holy was deepened by the prophets and altogether transformed by Jesus. Yet the New Testament can freely quote the Old Testament command, “Be holy, because I am holy,” (1 Pet. 1:16) because that has always been the purpose of God.
The word itself comes from a root word meaning separated, and with Israel it was the divine will that God’s people should be separate from their neighbors in faith and in practice. With the new Israel it is still God’s will that we should separate from the world in habits because we are separate at heart.
Often “I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out” (Romans 7:18). But with God it is axiomatic that what He wills He can perform. So my sanctification, like my salvation, lies in yielding myself to Him with whom all things are possible.
Here then is ground which believers may feel firm beneath their feet. Here personal desire and scriptural teaching meet to provide the open door by which grace may fully enter. The experience of holiness is not merely one for which I long nor to which I am counseled by my teachers. This is that which God wills and which, with man’s active consent, can be fulfilled in every life.
This is where we must give the life of holiness as exemplified by Jesus a fair chance. Some of us do not do that. We do not take the trouble to look long enough at Him. We pay more attention to a human interest picture in the daily paper. We gaze more intently at the television screen.
Ought we not to give this spiritual ideal at least equal time and attention? Sometimes we say of a person who may not have impressed us favorably at first blush: “He improves with knowing.” Reverently we may say the same of the life of holiness as exemplified in Jesus.
Seize the banner, “Holiness unto the Lord,” and make for the summit of the holy hill of God. Look to Jesus that He may quicken you with holy desire which, by the presence and power of the Holy Spirit, may find its fullest expression in holy—that is to say, Christlike—living.
Frederick Coutts, The War Cry