Holiness is a fight. It doesn’t come any other way. We know that our righteousness is IN CHRIST, given to us based on HIS work, not ours. In 2 Corinthians 5:21, Paul says, “For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God”. God GIVES us the very righteousness that he demands. But he tells us to BE holy. And he doesn’t just tell us to be “some kind of holy.” He tells us to be holy as HE is holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). He sets the standard.
There is a specific pursuit of holiness. To be holy as He is holy is not just to do good or abstain from sin. That is moralism. He is calling us to be like Him. He is calling us to be devoted to His glory, and to turn our affections and desires toward Him. He is wholly devoted to himself and calls us to this devotion. He expects it and demands it. But it is a good gift. It is a gift to take in the glory of God.
One of the realities of the life Christ calls us to is daily death to the desires of the flesh. It is never easy to die, and the enemy of the flesh never goes away quietly. But Christ has given us the ultimate example of how to fight. The writer of Hebrews tells us that Christ was tempted in EVERY way just as we are, yet He never yielded to sin (Hebrews 4:12). In fact, it is He alone who has ever felt the full weight of sin, because He bore it all on himself and never buckled under it’s weight. I seem to buckle daily. Instead Christ chose, daily in his earthly life, to yield to the will of the Father for the glory of the Father. Christ has shown us what it looks like to be holy.
The Apostle Paul also identifies with us in this regard. He said in Romans 7 that evil is always present in his own life. He says, “So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand” (Romans 7:21). The reality is that I don’t need any help when it comes to sinning.
The problem is within me, and it is always close at hand. The human side of me, made of flesh, desires and demands its own way. It seeks cheap, momentary thrills that leave me empty in the end. This is the way of the world and the way of the flesh. Since Adam bought the snake’s lie, this is how it has been.
Through the pursuit of holiness and submission to the Word of God, I am invited to a relationship with The Father that exposes the cheapness of the desires and pleasures the flesh demands. I am so grateful that God calls us out of this world and into a relationship that Christ has made available through his victory in life over sin and temptation, and his victory in death over sin and its affects.
There is no fight against sin, apart from a fight FOR holiness.