2 Tim. 1:9, " ... who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began, ... " 'A Holy Calling'; a vocation; consecrated service; 'the upward calling'; these are the phrases Paul uses in denoting the changed life of the redeemed sinner and what the purpose that life is to be in the pursuit of a personal relationship with God, through and with the corporate relationship of the Church with God. This call is a holy call, making holy. The call comes wholly from God and claims us wholly for God.
Ephes. 4:1, " ... I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, ... "
Every person has a soul committed to them; the question is: how was it employed? in the service of sin, or in the service of Christ?
The Christian is one who has learned the value and the danger of his own soul; he is one who has believed in Christ; he is one who has experienced the change wrought in his soul, and he has become the convinced believer in the fact that the Lord Jesus will keep him secure until he can be admitted into His heavenly kingdom. The vocation of the Christian is in striving against all the forces arrayed against and contrary to that goal. Those issues and forces which find their strength in covetousness, pride, corrupt passions, or zeal which rules within our heart, those elements of life which cause men to shut their eyes, and close their hearts, and adversely affect our desire to know anything apart from Christ and him crucified and which place ourselves at enmity with the revelation of God. The holiness of the Christian is kept, and by that I mean maintained, restrained and brought to maturity through the Christian doctrine committed to us as a trust; it is of unspeakable value in itself, and will be of unspeakable advantage to us. It is committed to us, to be preserved pure and entire, yet we must not think to keep it by our own strength, but by the power of the Holy Spirit dwelling in us; and it will not be gained or experienced by those who trust in their own hearts, and lean on their own understanding. No one can deliver and secure his soul through the trials of life and death, that is solely the work of God and is only within His ability to conclude.
Acts 4:12, " ... nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name (Jesus) under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
Acts 2:21, " ... and it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord (Jesus) shall be saved."
Acts 3:16, " ... and His name (Jesus), through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all."
We have these words of confidence and assurance designed to inflame our hope and faith in the power, grace and faithfulness of God. These words increase the intensity of the desire of the heart to serve, to not just believe in the soundness of the word, but, to love the word. This is the strength provided for the pursuit of that faith and patience which enables believers to follow peace and holiness, as a man follows his calling to be holy; constantly, diligently, and with pleasure.
Hebrews 12:14, "Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: ... "
1 Thes. 4:7, "For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness."
Matthew 5:8, "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
We also have these words of admonishment and correction providing the direction for life's course as a Christian. These words address and point to the true nature of the understanding of the grace of God. The true nature of the grace of God will not allow for the joining of the profane man's lust with the desires for the blessings of God. We cannot have the fruit of Christ's redemption and sacrifice while maintaining unmortified lust in the heart. Failure to understand grace is failure to understand the importance and significance of purity and holiness. " O make no mistake upon this point, dear reader: if you are not walking after the Spirit, you are walking after the flesh: if you are not living to please Christ, you are living to please self; if you have not been delivered from the power of Darkness, you cannot enjoy the Light." This holiness being sought after is personal and practical holiness, not the imputed holiness of God. This holiness is begun at the new birth ["Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God" (John 3:3)] and it is the implantation of a principle of holiness in the heart, which is the life task of the Christian to cultivate. This holiness is to be sought after in earnest, diligent, and persistent pursuit.
"It will be well for us to remember that the religion of Jesus Christ is not a matter of trifling, that the gaining of Heaven is not to be achieved by a few half-hearted efforts; and if we will at the same time recollect that all-sufficient succor is prepared for us in the covenant of grace we shall be in a right state of mind: resolute, yet humble, leaning upon the merits of Christ, and yet aiming at personal holiness. I am persuaded that if self-righteousness be deadly, self-indulgence is indeed ruinous." C.H. Spurgeon God will neither sever the means from the blessing, nor join the blessing with the satisfying of man’s lusts.
Practical holiness is a matter of growth. In this life holiness is infantile. It exists more in the form of longings and stirrings, hungriness and efforts, rather than in the fullness of realization and attainment. It exists as a calling and vocation for which the reward is found in the eternal. It is a work of the heart and the soul produced out of love, admiration and the desire to be an example of the One upon Whom our love resides. The very fact that the Christian is exhorted to 'follow' or pursue holiness proves that he has not yet reached it fully. Personal piety is part of the journey towards that which we would have as our own and is indicative of the value and worth that we place upon our soul and eternal welfare. Personal piety is about our eternal interests and concerns and the depth of our dedication and diligence in knowing and understanding the God Who calls us to '...be holy, as I am holy...". Personal piety provides the benchmarks and milestones that mark the continuing miracle of grace which is God's redemptive action in our lives. Holiness currently is borrowed or given to us, and for the present time the goal is to unfetter our minds; to remove blinders from our eyes and understand that we are " ... a generation that is pure in their own eyes and yet is not washed from their filthiness' (Proverbs 30:12) This life and the pursuit of holiness is a time of self-examination, realizing we are " ... wretched, and miserable and poor and blind and naked ... " (Revelation 3:17) We move from a need for salvation which provides for our pardon from iniquity to a position understanding of our salvation providing for our purity. The quest for holiness is not about settling for second best, it is in knowing the peace brought by the furnishing of holiness through Jesus Christ. Holiness is about process and progress and we cannot despise the means and methods of God in procuring for Himself a chosen people to whom He shows beneficence and love and blessing.
He wills that I should holy be,
That holiness I long to feel,
That full divine conformity
To all my Savior's righteous wilt
See, Lord, the travail of Thy soul
Accomplished in this change of mine;
And plunge me every whit make whole
In all the depths of love divine.
On Thee, O God, my soul is stayed,
And waits to prove thine utmost will;
The promise by Thy mercy made,
Thou must, Thou wilt in me fulfill.
-- C. Wesley. --