The chapter eighth chapter of Sproul’s book is titled: Be Holy Because I Am Holy. And, like all the chapters preceding it, it is awesome.
The author starts off by talking about the word saint and what the word actually means. Through out the Bible we see average believers referred to as saints. Is this okay? Now days we associate the word saint with someone that did something amazing for Christianity, or someone especially righteous. I’ve actually seen list of things one has to do to be worthy of the title “saint.” The list of steps to becoming a saint are usually far too long, as they require more than one thing. In reality all believers are saints. Saints are what makes up the church. So, really the only step required to becoming a saint is: justification. And we know, we are justified by faith alone (in Christ alone).
But, wait. Don’t “saints” usually do all sorts of good and righteous things? Yes. And all Christians should strive to live upright, holy, and blameless before God. I like how Martin Luther put it:
“Justification is by faith alone, but not by a faith that is alone.” -Luther
From our justification comes our sanctification. We have been chosen for this. As children of God we have been chosen for a set apart life. A life striving toward holiness. Of course, we will never see our sanctification complete this side of heaven. We still live in a fallen world, and have on our sinful flesh. The battle will be raging on until Christ’s glorious return . Our lives should look different. RC Sproul reminds us, we are called to a life of non-conformity:
The Bible calls us “holy ones.” We are holy because we have been consecrated to God. We have been set apart. We have been called to a life that is different. The Christian life is a life of nonconformity.
We can see this idea expressed in Romans:
I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (12:1-2)
Notice, this is not a cheap, shallow idea of non-conformity. Paul is talking about inwardly transforming yourself, starting with the renewal of your mind.
“The simplistic way of not conforming is to see what is in style in our culture and then do the opposite. When piety is defined exclusively in terms of externals, the whole point of the apostle’s teaching has been lost. Somehow we have failed to hear Jesus’ words that it is not what goes into a person’s mouth that defiles a person but what comes out of it.”
Sproul goes on to talk about how it takes no great moral courage to avoid dancing or certain movies. This is a cheap morality being substituted for a real, deep righteousness. This kind of righteousness starts with the renewal of the mind, as Paul mentioned. What is this? It is disciplined education on the Word of God. We can never begin to reach true righteousness if we neglect the precious Word. Children of God should love His Word, we should feast upon it. We need to be masters of the Word. This is the renewing of our minds. Knowing the Word will help us to know Jesus. To learn to value what he valued and despise what he despised. This should be at the heart of the saints.
This is all part of the daily process of becoming holy. Since we are justified we are being sanctified. This does not mean we are perfect.
“Simul justus et peccator” – Luther ( At the same time just and sinner).
We must never, never forget that we are not justified before God based on anything we have done or will ever do. We are justified only because of the righteousness of Christ that has been imputed to us. This is truly an amazing thing. Grace should never stop being amazing, and should always propel us forwarded to live the life God has called us to as, “holy ones.”