Holiness and Service


In living the Christian life, the big challenge is to match our practice to our position. Being declared holy by God's act of atonement is one thing, but it's quite another to live a holy life.

One thing I love is that God looks for volunteers. He doesn't force or push or "guilt" a person into service. He simply asks and looks for volunteers. I think there are far too many Christian organizations and churches that try to artificially produce something within people that is really a natural process, by the Spirit of God. I'm talking about service. You shouldn't do it unless you feel that "I-want-to-do-that" sense. 

One way God's holiness should affect us is to develop a sense of mission, a desire to serve Him. In Isaiah 6:8, the prophet writes, "Also I heard the voice of the Lord, saying: 'Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?'" (I think this is the Father speaking to the Son and the Holy Spirit. It's the triune God "in conference" with each other.) 

And Isaiah's response is this: "Then I said, 'Here am I! Send me.'" In this passage, Isaiah goes from the revelation of a holy God, to the conviction of his own sin, to the cleansing of that sin, to the decision, "Send me, God. Let me serve You."

Holiness develops commission. This is always the pattern: An unholy person is declared holy by a holy God, and then decides at some point, "I want God to have all of me. I want to do whatever He wants. I want to do His work, to serve Him." Every Christian worker is simply a saved sinner who met a holy God who brought a deep sense of conviction and cleansed them. And they came to a place where they said, "I want to serve the Lord." It's a natural process by the Holy Spirit.

As we live the Christian life, the big challenge is to increasingly match our practice to our position. It's one thing to be declared holy by God's act of atonement, but it's quite another to live a holy life. For example, a famous text is Ephesians 1:4: "God chose us that we should be holy and without blame before Him." That's a positional statement; that's how God sees you in Christ: holy and without blame. But we fall short on a daily basis. The sanctification that comes after salvation, where we become holier and more like the Lord, is paramount.

I've always loved what Leighton Ford said: "God loves us the way we are, but too much to leave us that way." And so, He makes us increasingly like Him by His grace...and that will include service.

Our desire should be to be like Christ, whose desire was to "work the works of Him who sent Me" (John 9:4).

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