God’s Goal for Believers

1 Peter 1:15-16

The work of sanctification, of making holy, actually commences when a person repents and turns from sin, and is “born of the Spirit” by the grace of God through faith in Jesus Christ. The new birth, therefore, is the gateway to spiritual growth in the grace and knowledge of the Lord.

A careful reading of the New Testament makes it abundantly clear that holiness, which has to do with the dedication, cleansing and disciplining of human nature, is the goal toward which God calls all believers. “But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy'” (1 Peter 1:15-16).

As defined in Scripture, holiness of life depends upon deliverance from the moral corruption and pride that infect heart and mind when the lower nature is cleansed and filled with the fullness of God’s love. “The standard by which all requirements are measured,” states The Salvation Army Handbook of Doctrine, “is not left in uncertainty: it is the standard of Christlikeness.”

The Christlike life of holiness does not depend on the approval of others, but yearns for the approval of God. The holy life grows from within by the operation of the Holy Spirit in the heart, not by externally imposed rules, laws and disciplines.

If you examine a needle through a microscope of high magnifying power it will appear as rough as a piece of metal ore. But if you look at a thorn its surface will appear as polished and smooth under magnification as it does to the natural eye. The needle has been fashioned from without, the thorn from within. The needle was produced by man’s ingenuity and skill, the thorn by the operation of God’s natural laws. The life of holiness is the supernatural fruit of the sanctifying power of the God of peace Himself, working by His Spirit from within outward.

God is eager to bestow the blessing of full salvation on His children. Through His death on the cross, Jesus made this possible, for He purchased “our righteousness, holiness and redemption” (1 Corinthians 1:30). God never commands what He cannot perform. Therefore, the rich, victorious, blessing-filled experience of the Spirit-filled life may be claimed by faith the moment you are willing to meet the Lord’s conditions.

Clarence D. Wiseman, The Desert Road To Glory

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