Importance of Holiness
Fruits of righteousness in our lives
The idea that we can live as we please, without having to keep God's commands, is a trap that the devil has laid for many believers today. The truth is that, yes, through grace we have been saved and obtain forgiveness for our sins, but that is by no means gives us a license to continue in sin without growing in our life with Christ. As we grow closer to Him, we will become more like Him; we will begin to love the things that He loves, and hate the things that He hates. God's Word tells us that we are predestined (that is, God's plan for our lives) to be conformed to the image (likeness) of God's Son Jesus Christ:
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Is perfection a reality? Is sanctification a reality? God's Word tells us plainly that we are to go on to perfection:
Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God.
Smith Wigglesworth once said, "It is the purpose of God that we, as we are indwelt by the Spirit of His Son, should likewise love righteousness and hate iniquity."
Thou hast loved righteousness, and hated iniquity; therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows.
God's Word tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, so that we can prove the acceptable and perfect will of God in our lives:
And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
The Bible tells us that the fruit of the Spirit includes righteousness. The fruit of the Spirit is something that grows in our lives as we walk in the Spirit. Apparently, this isn't speaking about the righteousness that we have through Christ, but the righteous and Godly lifestyle that we ought to live as believers in Christ:
For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.
God's Word also tells us to be holy; this is not the type of righteousness that is upon us through Christ, or God wouldn't be telling us to be holy.
But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation [meaning behavior]; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Would God ask something of us that we could not do? Absolutely not! Then how can He ask us to be holy in the verse above? Because the power of sin is broken when we were baptized into Christ's death and has no more authority over us. This is another thing which makes deliverance ministry Children's bread - an absolute essential in the victorious life of a follower of Christ. Without deliverance from evil spirits of bondage (lust, perversion, anger, etc.), it is almost impossible to walk in the fullness of holiness that God has set before us to walk in. The verse below is speaking of being delivered from our enemies (foul spirits) so that we can serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness.
That he would grant unto us, that we being delivered out of the hand of our enemies might serve him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before him, all the days of our life.
God want us to live holy and godly lives as we represent Him by our actions here on earth:
Now then we are ambassadors [representatives] for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God.
After all that He has done for us, the least we can do is be good and worthy representatives of our Lord Jesus Christ!
Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.
How we live our lives down here on earth does matter! For God has not called us to uncleanliness, but to holiness:
For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness.
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity.
I will therefore that men pray every where, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and doubting.... Notwithstanding she shall be saved in childbearing, if they continue in faith and charity and holiness with sobriety.
But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.
We are expected to bear fruit
That ye may approve things that are excellent; that ye may be sincere and without offence till the day of Christ; Being filled with the fruits of righteousness, which are by Jesus Christ, unto the glory and praise of God.
For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth.
Wherefore, my brethren, ye also are become dead to the law by the body of Christ; that ye should be married to another, even to him who is raised from the dead, that we should bring forth fruit unto God.
What kind of fruit? Fruit unto maturity in Christ and righteousness. We are not to stay babes in Christ, but to grow and mature into their relationship with Christ and be conformed into His image and likeness:
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved. They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away. And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection [maturity]. But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image [likeness] of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
Now before you fall into condemnation, let me point out in the last part of the above passage in Luke, it tells us that we shall bring forth fruit with patience. We will not become perfect overnight, no more than a piece of natural fruit grows in a matter of hours, but we are to grow and seek maturity in our relationship with Christ. The Bible tells us that it is through our faith in Christ that brings forth fruits resulting in righteousness:
For with the heart a person believes, resulting in righteousness, and with the mouth he confesses, resulting in salvation.
What happens to those who do not produce fruit or grow to maturity in the kingdom? They are cut down, removed, and cast into the fire:
He spake also this parable; A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it: And if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.
I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman [gardener]. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit... If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
Yes, we are supposed to produce the fruits of the Spirit in our lives, if we are indeed walking in the Spirit. If our faith and trust in Christ is genuine, our lives will begin to reflect our faith and produce a lifestyle of righteousness and good deeds. It is not by good deeds that we are saved, but if our faith is genuine, then righteousness will be a fruit or result of our faith in Christ.
Even so faith, if it hath not works, is dead, being alone. Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works. Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble. But wilt thou know, O vain man, that faith without works is dead? Was not Abraham our father justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar? Seest thou how faith wrought with his works, and by works was faith made perfect? And the Scripture was fulfilled which saith, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness: and he was called the Friend of God. Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only. Likewise also was not Rahab the harlot justified by works, when she had received the messengers, and had sent them out another way? For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
Our faith in Christ needs to yield fruit of maturity and a righteous (Godly) lifestyle. The Holy Spirit has been speaking to me lately on living a holy and Godly life. His Word tells us that without holiness, no man shall see the Lord:
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
This is a multi-part teaching