Holiness a Goal & a Necessity

Posted: August 13, 2012 by doulos tou Theou in Christianity, Discipleship, Sanctification

“Not only is holiness the goal of your redemption, it is necessary for your redemption. Now before you sound the legalist alarm, tie me up by my own moral bootstraps, and feed my carcass to the Galatians, we should see what Scripture has to say. . . . It’s the consistent and frequent teaching of the Bible that those whose lives are marked by habitual ungodliness will not go to heaven. To find acquittal from God on the last day there must be evidence flowing out of us that grace has flowed into us.” (26)

“On the last day, God will not acquit us because our good works were good enough, but he will look for evidence that our good confession was not phony. It’s in this sense that we must be holy.” (29)


Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in Our Holiness

  1. kim/nannykim says:

    So my question to is –is De Young saying that the judgment is for determining if we have a saving faith? Are our works looked at by God to see if the faith was real or sincere? Does this mean that our works decide or prove whether or not we have saving faith and if we don’t have them or we don’t have enough, we will be judged as unsaved?

  2. doulos tou Theou says:

    Good question. I think this is a link in a chain for DeYoung’s goal of getting us to see sanctification/holiness as important element of the life of a follower of Jesus.

    I don’t have the book yet, it releases in a week, so I’m just showing some quotes that have been posted on web. But as we think about what he has said above we could compare to what Jesus says here in Matt.

    Matt 7:21 “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. 22 On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ 23 And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’

  3. kim/nannykim says:

    Matt 7 in the context (and in the broader context of the sermon on the mount) seems to be contrasting an external keeping of the law with an internal keeping (heart change) of the law. So it would seem that true holiness has to have not just an outward show , but an internal aspect (like not just keeping the eternal law about adultery ,but keeping the internal aspect of not lusting).

    So then a true faith is one that does not just have eternal signs, but internal as well. This would seem to actually define faith as producing a real internal change. I am wondering how this would play in to the idea of imputation. It looks like sanctification (the inward change) is necessary. It looks to me like true salvation can’t be just an imputed righteousness (ie external pronouncement) but that there has to be at the same time a new heart–an internal change with the law written on the heart. How would that square with a salvation that only requires a justification that is an external imputation or declaration? Can salvation only be an external declaration or must it include an internal change of heart? How does this tie in with the imputation of Christ’s righteousness saving us if we also need a change inside of us? In other words, if Christ’s righteousness is declared by God to be mine because of faith from grace, how can that be a true righteousness if there is not an inward change in me (like an infusion)?

  4. boydmonster says:

    Kim, I think you’re spot on with your questions. The classic Reformed “Ordo Salutis” answer’s a lot of those questions. Too often we boil salvation down to the lowest common denominator (justification by faith). The Biblical picture of salvation has multiple components that are all inextricably linked. Anyone who divorces any of these is presenting neither a biblical or a reformed picture of salvation. So, Biblically, salvation starts with God’s predestination (Eph 1:3-6). The next link in the chain is God’s effective call (Romans 10:14). When we hear the Gospel preached, God regenerates our hearts (1 Peter 1:23). It is important that the regeneration is a direct result of God’s effective call. That’s why so many people hear the Gospel thousands of times and then one day it just ‘clicks’. When we are regenerated, we are given a new nature, a new heart, and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. This is exactly that internal component you are talking about Kim. That all Christians have a new nature created in them is clearly shown in Romans 5-7 as well as Galatians 5. That regenerate heart is now capable of doing what the unregenerate heart can’t do, namely it sees Jesus as trustworthy and lovely and so it both rests its trust in Jesus and loves Him. Romans 8:7-9 states that “those who are in the flesh are hostile to God for they do not submit to God’s law, indeed they cannot. Those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” The Christian there is defined as one who is in the Spirit even while Paul affirms that the old sinful nature continues in the Christian. When we have trusted Christ, we receive God’s free gift of justification. (Romans 3:22-25) Sanctification, then, is the inevitable war between the flesh (our sinful nature) and the Spirit (our regenerate nature) (Galatians 5:17). We are progressively sanctified all our lives until Christ returns and perfects and glorifies us. The important point here is that in the work of salvation, sanctification never precedes justification or faith in Christ. So, it is simply unthinkable (from a Biblical perspective) that there is a person who is being sanctified who has not placed their faith in Christ. The other seldom mentioned side of this coin is that when we are regenerated, trust Christ, and are justified the process of sanctification inevitably starts. Sanctification follows regeneration as sure as breathing, eating, and pooping follows birth. There are no stillborn children of God. Paul assures the Philippians that “He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Christ Jesus.” The purpose of these texts about the judgment of God is to say “Here is what a regenerate person looks like. If you are masquerading as a believer but fail to exude the evidence of that faith, these things will be presented as evidence against you. It is not that the absence of these things exclude you from the kingdom. Being in the kingdom will be shown by the presence of works.

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