Behold Your God — Week Six, Day Two

4 Jul

Today’s study highlights the distinction between positional holiness and practical holiness. This is a very important distinction. We tend sometimes to skip over positional holiness and move straight to practical holiness. Other times we are prone to believe because we have positional holiness we need not be concerned with practical holiness. Some definitions are in order. By positional holiness we mean the holiness we have by virtue of God setting His love on us and saving us through Christ. All who belong to Jesus are holy positionally, because through faith in Him God has set them apart. This is why all the church in the New Testament is called saints, not just apostles or leaders. They are set apart by virtue of their salvation. But God always sets apart a person or thing in the Bible to serve His purposes. In other words, we are not set apart so that we can be an admirable trophy on God’s shelf, we are set apart in order to serve the Lord. This is where practical holiness comes in. Now to clarify, by practical holiness I do not mean holiness that is practical, in contrast to impractical positional holiness. Nothing could be further from the truth. Positional holiness is essential, and therefore eminently practical. What I mean by practical holiness is holiness fleshed out in the day-to-day life, holiness in practice. It is important to understand at this point that practical holiness too is rooted in the work of God and not in ourselves. First, we can have practical holiness only because we have positional holiness. Because we were dead in our sins, the only way we can hope to live a life of holiness is if God gives us spiritual life. This is what He does through saving us. God raises us from the death of sin and gives us salvation. He sets us apart as His own. But again, this setting apart does not mean being set aside. Instead, our positional holiness activates our practical holiness.

On top of all this, God gives us not only the foundation of practical holiness in positional holiness, He also gives us present power for practical holiness. In other words, although we are called to be holy, we are not left to ourselves for holiness. God gives us His Word, His Spirit, His power and the foundation of Christ’s imputed righteousness so that we can  live lives of holiness. For the rest of this week, we will be looking at how this works in everyday life.

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