2 Timothy 1:9 [For it is He] Who delivered and saved us and called us with a calling IN ITSELF holy and LEADING TO holiness - that is, to a life of consecration, a vocation of holiness; [He did it] not because of anything we have done, but BECAUSE OF AND TO FURTHER ***HIS*** OWN PURPOSE AND GRACE (unmerited favor) which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began - eternal ages ago (Amp).
I like what this verse says concerning holiness. First of, God's calling is IN ITSELF holy. Many wonder what their calling is today, but God's ultimate call is to be holy. Not only is God's call holy, but it is TO LEAD TO a life of holiness from the time we accept that call on our lives. You can be a cook, a street cleaner, a rich businessman, a preacher, whatever, but God's call is the same to all: be holy for He is holy. The same is true for God working all things to our good, that good being to be conformed to the character of Christ, i.e. a holy character. The cook, the street cleaner, the businessman and the preacher each have their own particular set of personal problems, but God says it doesn't matter what the problem is because He is going to use those situations to conform us to the character of His Son. Thus, God's work is the same in all, even though everyone has a separate, unique set of problems. The result of His work is that we walk as Jesus walked, being holy in all we do. How different our problems should seem to us in this light. When we realize these things, we realize, too, that God works all things to our good for His, not our, purposes. His purpose: he predestined that all who would believe would be without blame and holy before Him in love. To know if a Christian has truly desired to enter into a relationship with God through Christ, there should be at least some evidence of wrestling in the word toward a holy life. Knowing the will of God is actually a simple thing: be holy in all you do. That's what God's word says:
1 Thessalonians 4:3 For this is the will of God, even your sanctification
Hebrews 12:14 . . . holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord
GOD SANCTIFIED US BY GRACE THROUGH FAITH
God's call to man through the gospel is to holiness, and when one believes on Christ and His finished work, God declares him justified through the shed blood of Christ. We are brought from a position of being unrighteous and at enmity with Him to a place of being declared righteous before Him and now reconciled to Him. We are set apart at the time of our salvation that His purpose for our lives might be brought to fulfillment. Again,
Ephesians 1:4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will,
IN CHRIST, this sanctification (being set apart) and being holy is already perfect:
Hebrews 10:10 By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
1 Peter 1:2 Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ.
By believing on Christ, we are set apart for God and His purposes. Nevertheless, the Christian still retains the presence of his old sin nature, and what he is in Christ has to be worked out on a daily basis. Thus Paul prayed,
1 Thessalonians 5:23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly;
THE BELIEVER MUST WORK OUT HIS ALREADY ACQUIRED SALVATION
2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
Ephesians 4:21 If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus:
22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;
23 And be renewed in the spirit of your mind;
24 And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
Paul said we are to put on Christ. We are to put on the new man "created in righteousness and true holiness." In Philippians 2, Paul told the believers that they are to work out the salvation they ALREADY HAVE in Christ because God was working in them to bring about His good pleasure:
12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.
13 For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.
What is that good pleasure of His will? To repeat, Ephesians 1:4-5:
Ephesians 1:4 . . . that we should be holy and without blame before him in love:
5 . . . according to the good pleasure of his will,
Romans 8:29 . . . he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
In other words, we are to CONTINUE IN that which we have received in Christ at the time of our salvation by yielding and cooperating with the Holy Spirit to form the character of Christ in us in all circumstances:
Romans 6:19 . . . for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servants to righteousness unto holiness.
20 For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness.
21 What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? for the end of those things is death.
22 But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.
2 Corinthians 7:1 Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.
2 Timothy 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
1 John 2:6 He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.
We are commanded by Scripture to "put on Christ." How do we do that? In Romans 6:21 (above), Paul speaks of bad fruit. However, in Colossians 2:12 (below), he shows us that to "put on Christ" is to grow in the fruit of the Holy Spirit, which is the character of Christ, which is our holiness:
Colossians 3:12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering;
13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.
14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.
15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful.
The good fruit and the bad fruit are descriptively contrasted in Galatians 5;17-26.
So, we are to work out and walk in the holiness that is the Lamb of God. God predestined those who would believe in Christ for this very thing. Again, we often struggle with what the will of God is and what we can do to be pleasing to Him. The answer is simply, be holy, continue in Christ as you began in Him, don't grieve the Holy Spirit by walking otherwise, but grow in the fruit of the Spirit in every situation: love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. That's God's will for us, and that's His good pleasure. There isn't a single circumstance in our life that doesn't afford us that opportunity.
End of Part 2.
Introduction: Tribulation Preparation: Called To be Holy
Part 1: God Is Holy And His Purpose For Us Is Holiness
Part 2: God Works All Things To Make Us Holy
Part 3: God brings About Our Progressive Sanctification Through His Word
Part 4: The Holy Spirit Works For Our Sanctification
Part 5: God Chastens Us For Our Sanctification
Part 6: Our Working Out Sanctification In Christ Has An End
Part 7: Our Christian Life: It Begins And Ends With Holiness
Part 8: Being Made Holy (Like Him) When He Comes
Part 9: God Shall Judge The World In The Beauty Of His Holiness