A few misguided people will actually downplay the need for holiness. But, many Christians who start out strong and then find themselves struggling with indwelling sin will drift into the discouraged mindset that simply gives up on holiness. These people stop asking how to obey God and start asking why they should keep trying to do so.
Romans 8 gives us “three in one” reasons for holiness.
The reason we pursue holiness is to honor God. And, honoring God means honoring the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. One God in three persons has planned, accomplished, and supplied the strength for our holiness.
We pursue holiness to honor God the Father.
God our Father has done for us what the law of God could not do. The law of God is perfect and good, but we are sinners. Not even the law could make us holy. So, God did (Romans 8:3). In fact, God the Father chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless before him (Ephesians 1:3-4). Romans 8 says he planned and provided for our holiness by sending his Son and giving his Spirit. What grace he has shown toward us!
We honor the Father who provided for our holiness by receiving his Son and his Spirit by faith.
We pursue holiness to honor God the Son.
God sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to take our condemnation for sin in his body on the cross (Romans 8:3). Jesus was condemned in our place. By faith, we are united to Jesus so that his death ends condemnation for us (Romans 8:1). Now, we are free from the penalty of sin for the purpose of pursuing a life of obedience to God (Romans 8:4). What a Savior we have!
We honor the Son who died for our holiness by following him as Lord.
We pursue holiness to honor God the Holy Spirit.
God has given us his Spirit. By the Spirit, we are born again and filled with a new power to positively obey God from the heart (Romans 8:4). It is by the Spirit that we walk in holiness. The Spirit is with us to stay, for he lives within us (Romans 8:9). The Spirit helps us in our weakness (Romans 8:26). By the Spirit, we put to death the sinful deeds that work through our bodies (Romans 8:13). We set our minds on the Spirit so we will live according to the Spirit (Romans 8:5). What a gift that has been given to us!
We honor the Spirit who empowers our holiness by daily yielding to him.
The clearest picture of holiness we have is Jesus Christ. To be holy is to be like Christ (Romans 8:29).
God the Father had our Christlikeness in mind when he chose us before the foundation of the world.
God the Son showed us how to be like himself when he became one of us and called us to follow him.
God the Spirit is now conforming us to the image of Christ as he works in us toward that great end.
Let us pursue holiness for the love and honor of God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
I look forward to seeing you Sunday as we worship our great God together.