Importance of Holiness
Two kinds of righteousness
One day the Holy Spirit spoke to me, and said something to the effect of, "How are you representing me?" God's Word tells us that we are the body of Christ, and sent forth as His ambassadors, or representatives. However, many in the church today believe that because we are saved by grace, it means we don't have to keep the rules. They say that it is our heart that matters, but God's Word is clear that whatever is in our heart, will determine our actions and words. We need to draw a line between legalism, and God's ordained righteous living that He requires us to walk in. I believe this teaching will shed some light on how important it really is to live a holy and Godly life here on earth.
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
First of all, there are two different kinds of righteousness that we should find in a believer's life, and we do great error to confuse the two. Do not confuse the righteousness of God that is upon us through faith in Christ, and the fruits of righteousness that God wants us to bear as we grow in Him.
I am going to teach on the importance of living a holy life before the Lord. There are a lot of people in the church today that consider any adhering to the law a thing strictly in the Old Testament, but I want you to notice that almost every verse here in this teaching is from the New Testament. Nobody can say that I'm teaching Old Testament law, when almost [if not] every piece of evidence I'm going to bring forth is from the NEW Testament!
This teaching is a great companion to my earlier teaching, "But nobody is perfect!"
The righteousness of Christ upon us
Clothing for the journey: Think of the righteousness of Christ as our clothing to wear while we are on earth and growing into the image of Christ!
When we are walking in the light, placing our faith in Christ Jesus, and loving/forgiving those who offend us, then the Blood of Christ cleanses us of all unrighteousness:
If we say that we have fellowship with him, and walk in darkness, we lie, and do not the truth: But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
No matter how much that we mess up, how many times we fail, if we are walking in the light and loving others, including those who have wronged us, then the Blood of Christ constantly keeps our record clean. Now don't get me wrong, this is by no means a license to continue in sin, but it is a beautiful gift from God that allows us to grow in our walk with Him while keeping a clean and un-condemned conscience.
When we are in Christ, the very righteousness of God is upon us by faith in Christ. It is nothing that we could ever earn by good works or acts of righteousness.
Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe...
This is what makes us holy in our relationship with God, and gives us unsurpassed confidence when confronting demonic forces in our lives and the lives of others. If we confront demons relying on our own righteousness, then we're going to seriously lack faith and may not receive the victory that is ours through Christ. Our faith requires the knowledge of the Word of God, as we accept and believe that it applies to us in our own lives, and if we have a condemned conscience than we will have a difficult time receiving because we will feel unworthy. Christ did away with the unworthy factor when He clothed us with His righteousness for the journey.
Only the righteousness of Christ which is upon us is to be relied upon when we are walking or stepping out in faith and for our salvation. We are not to rely on our own righteousness, because of a feeling of unworthiness and condemnation can cause our faith to severely suffer inconsistencies and failure. Our righteousness does not qualify for true genuine faith in Christ, but the righteousness of God which is upon us, does. This means that a person who has accepted Christ, is walking in the light (loving and forgiving one another), but fails and struggles at times with various bondages, can still approach the holy of holies because the Blood continually washes us clean, and provides for us the righteousness of Christ.
Having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus.
Do not expect to do this with your own righteousness, but only with the righteousness of Christ which is upon you through faith in Christ.
One of the main reasons why so many today fall into condemnation today, is because they are relying on their own righteousness rather than the righteousness of Christ.
For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.
Justification by faith alone
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.
We need to properly divide all of these overwhelming scriptures about how we are to keep the commandments of Jesus (which are to love God with all your heart, and to love others as yourself), and then the concept of being justified by faith alone. When we place our faith in Christ, the righteousness of Christ is upon us. That is the reason we are able to freely receive the Holy Spirit baptism, that is spoken about in Galatians:
O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh? Have ye suffered so many things in vain? if it be yet in vain. He therefore that ministereth to you the Spirit, and worketh miracles among you, doeth he it by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith? Even as Abraham believed God, and it was accounted to him for righteousness. Know ye therefore that they which are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham.
If you're going to rely on your own ability to keep the commandments of God (your own righteousness) in order to receive the Holy Spirit baptism, then you're going to be waiting a while. But when you rely on your faith in Christ (which clothes you with the righteousness of God), then you will be able to freely receive the promises of God by faith.
Don't try to earn your brownie points with God by keeping the law!
Paul goes on to tell us that no man can be justified by keeping the law:
But that no man is justified by the law in the sight of God, it is evident: for, The just shall live by faith. And the law is not of faith: but, The man that doeth them shall live in them.
It is not by keeping the law that makes us right with God. Being obedient to what Jesus commands of us is a result of genuine faith. If we believe Him, and love Him, then we will naturally begin to do what He asks of us:
By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
Keeping His commandments comes as a result of our genuine faith in Christ. Now this is where it all ties together - when we are told how genuine faith has works that naturally follow.
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.... For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
When we rely on our keeping the law to be made right with God, we fall into legalism. That is not at all what is being preached here in this teaching, or in the writings of the New Testament. We are to have genuine faith in Christ, and genuine faith calls our works into action.
This is a multi-part teaching