Several years ago a book was written entitled –‘The Pursuit of Holiness’ by Jerry Bridges. Personal holiness is not something that we talk a lot about these days in the church. We use the word sometimes in our songs, but we rarely consider it as something we should actively pursue. As a matter of fact, the definition of what it means to be a Christian has become somewhat fuzzy. The popular thought is to see how close we can get to the world, rather than how far away. There are several tragic results of this kind of thinking.
For one thing, a failure to actively pursue holiness could be an indication of a lack of salvation. Jesus said:
“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Mt 7:21)
John the Apostle wrote:
1 John 3:7 Dear children, don’t let anyone deceive you about this: When people do what is right, it is because they are righteous, even as Christ is righteous. 8 But when people keep on sinning, it shows they belong to the Devil, who has been sinning since the beginning. But the Son of God came to destroy these works of the Devil. 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not sin, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they have been born of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the Devil. (NLT) James says: “Faith without works is dead…” (James 2:26)
In addition, a lack of holiness in the life of a believer could keep others from being saved. Again to quote our Lord: “Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? It is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.” (Mt 5:13) Dirty salt is useless to the kingdom of heaven.
How different this is from what Peter wrote:
1 Peter 1:13 Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; 14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: 15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; 16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
It is God’s will that every born-again believer actively pursue a lifestyle of holiness.“Be ye holy; for I am holy.” That’s God’s definition of what it means to be a Christian.