Somewhere along the way, we’ve been deceived into believing that living with a divided heart is easier than living with one united, fully devoted to Christ. In this article, Brandon Dasinger shows why holiness is good news to the sinner and the saint.
“For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”
1 John 5:3
In our culture, words like law, obedience, and holiness have a negative connotation. Thus, we tend to see God’s laws and commands as a heavy burden. We see holiness as an ideal that is unattainable.
However, Scripture doesn’t have this view. In fact, Jesus and the apostles understood these words quite differently. They understood obedience to God’s commands as a good thing—a really good thing. The Scriptural teaching about holiness is the amazing truth that God not only forgives our sin, but also gives us the power to overcome sin. This is good news. This is the gospel! And if we really think about it, Scripture is right:
Wouldn’t our relationships be better if we were free from things like pride, selfishness, and hate?
What would it be like to be content with what we have instead of desperate for what we don’t have?
Wouldn’t it be great to be delivered from strongholds like lust and anger?
What a relief it would be to be set free from all that plagues us.
Somewhere along the way, we’ve been led to believe that living with a divided heart is easier than living with one united, fully devoted to Christ.
For those who trace their spiritual and theological heritage to the Wesley brothers, we believe it is possible to love God with all our heart, soul, and mind and to love our neighbors as ourselves. This is what it means to have an undivided heart. This is what holiness is all about. God in his grace frees us from our past mistakes. God in his grace empowers us to live a new life. We are now able to live out his word. We are now able to live as we were created to live.
God’s Word was not given to us to burden us or to restrict us. God’s Word is our path to freedom. Sin is not freedom, but rather the worst kind of slavery.
God made us good. Sin messed it up. Holiness is the promise that he can make us good again. That is good news!
When we see God’s commands as burdens, as negatives, it is an easy and tragic step to either ignoring them, denying they are Scriptural, or “re-interpreting” them until they are devoid of their original and true meaning.
This happens with commands like “Repent and believe the Gospel” (Mk 1:15) and “You shall be holy, for I am holy” (1 Pet 1:13-16).
But what is more positive than turning away from sin, turning to God, believing in and confessing Jesus Christ as crucified and risen Lord, and being saved not only from the guilt but also from the power of sin? It is truly Good News that we can grow living in perfect love toward God and our neighbor. What a glorious truth it is that we are created in the image of God and, though sin has brought corruption, bondage and death, we are by grace through faith being restored in the image of God!
Thanks, Brandon, for this inspiring post!
Thanks for the kind words Victor! And yes, holiness is not just turning from sin…it’s primarily about turning to God. Great point!