The pursuit of holiness must be anchored in God’s grace otherwise it is doomed to failure.
To some, the pursuit of holiness sounds like legalism and manmade rules. To others, an emphasis on grace seems to open the door to irresponsible sinful behavior based on the notion that God’s unconditional love means we are free to sin as we please. Grace and the personal discipline required to pursue holiness, however are not opposed to one another. In fact, they go hand in hand. An understanding of how grace and personal, vigorous effort work together is essential for a lifelong pursuit of holiness.
Every time the great Charles Spurgeon preached he prayed, “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Your worst days are never so bad that you’re beyond the reach of God’s grace. And your best days are never so good that you’re beyond the need of God’s grace.
When you set yourself to seriously pursue holiness, you will begin to realize what an awful sinner you are. And if you are not firmly rooted in the gospel, and have not learned to preach it to yourself everyday, you will soon become discouraged and will slack off in your pursuit of holiness.
We are saved by faith alone, but the faith that saves is never alone…it is always accompanied by works. Martin Luther
A Christian is a radically changed person the moment he trusts Christ. This doesn’t mean we become “saints” in practice overnight. It does mean we are a new creation, a new principle of life has been planted within us by the Holy Spirit.
There are thousands of professing Christians who think they have been justified, who think their sins are forgiven and that they are on their way to heaven, who show no evidence of the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
In justification we rely on what Christ did for us on the cross. In sanctification we rely on Christ to work in us by His Holy Spirit. In justification as well as regeneration God acts alone. In sanctification He works in us but elicits our response to cooperate with Him.
The level of our obedience is most often determined by the behavior standard of other Christians around us.
Sin has a tendency to exert an ever increasing power on us if it is not resisted on every occasion.
If we are going to make progress in the pursuit of holiness, we must aim to live according to the precepts of the scripture—not according to the culture, not even the Christian culture around us.
There is no such thing as neutral on the continuum of influence.
We cannot effectively pursue holiness without the word of God stored up in our minds where it can be used by the Holy Spirit.
Our tendency seems to be to equate knowledge of the truth, and even agreement with it, with obedience to it.
The Bible was not given just to increase our knowledge but to guide our behavior.
The more naturally disciplined person tends toward self-righteousness and wonders why everyone else can’t be as successful in self-control as he is. But all that person has done is exchanged one sin for another. The problem of impure thoughts, for example, is exchanged for pride and self-righteousness.
There is a fine line between using grace as an excuse for sin and grace as a remedy for sin.
In the area of Christian liberty our goal should be how safe can I be instead of how daring can I be.