By Steve Troxel
In the message "Believe and Be Restored" we considered our need to believe that what God said is true. He said the death and resurrection of Jesus was the final sacrifice for our sin, and that those who believe would receive the gift of eternal life.
Clearly, our Salvation is a gift from God; "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith" (Ephesians 2:8). We did nothing to earn our Salvation and there is nothing we must now do to keep it, we simply must believe; "there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus" (Romans 8:1).
Though our sins are forgiven and Jesus is 100% sufficient for Salvation - though we walk in grace and are absolutely free of condemnation - sin in our life still causes temporary separation and tension in our relationship with God. Therefore, over and over in scripture, we are called to a life of holiness: "As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as He who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do" (1 Peter 1:14-15). Holiness is to receive top priority in our life; "Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy" (Hebrews 12:14).
So why such an emphasis on holy living? After all, if we are saved by grace, our effort toward holiness plays no part in our Salvation. The answer is found in examining our purpose for life beyond Salvation: "Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship" (Romans 12:1).
2 Peter 1:5-7
"For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love."
After we are saved, we live to worship and glorify God; but this can only be done by growing in our faith and presenting ourselves as a living sacrifice. For any sacrifice to be pleasing to God, the sacrifice itself must be pure, and the one who presents the sacrifice must be holy. So when we "make every effort" toward a life of holiness, we don't do so in order to earn or maintain our Salvation; we strive for holiness because we desire to truly worship our Heavenly Father with every heartbeat of our life.
We must never lose sight of God's wonderful gift given purely by His grace. But now our Father's plan is for us to be conformed to the likeness of His Son and live in a continual state of worship. His design for our life is that we mature in our faith and worship Him by living a holy life.
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