An old disco song from the early 80s contained these lyrics:
I’ll be working my way back to you, babe, with a burning love inside
Yeah, I’m working my way back to you, babe, and the happiness that died
I let it get away
That old hit (written by Denny Randall and Sandy Linzer) could easily be made into a Christian song, but it would be so wrong. In the song, released by the Spinners in late 1979, the story teller boasts to his love that, even though he has cheated and emotionally abused her, he begs her forgiveness and will be “working my way back to you.”
Too often, Christians feel the same way. We promise God that we love Him and will never go back to our habitual sins (this that we love so much). Then, when we fall into the same old trap and sin again, we set out to work our way back into His favor.
The thing is, that doesn’t work for God. When Christ died for us, His sacrifice was for all our sin, past or future. Neither salvation nor sanctification is based on our merit. We can earn neither.
Then how does one become sanctified? Through faith, just like salvation. Read Hebrews 10:10:
And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
We have been sanctified. Notice that the word “sanctified” is passive. We are not sanctifying ourselves; rather, God has sanctified us.
Because we are human, stuck in bodies, with imperfect minds, and fragile emotions, we are no more able to live a holy life than we are able to save ourselves from hell.
Why, then, so most Christians get hung up on how we live? Because we often confuse sanctification and holiness with discipleship. Nothing we do will get us into heaven. Nothing we do will make God love us more.
Likewise, so long as we are believers in Jesus Christ, nothing we do will lose is our spot in heaven, and nothing we do will cause God to live is less.
This may sound radical to many in A holiness church, but it is true. There is a place for holy living and Good sites call us to separate ourselves from the world, but we are unable to do either.
We cannot live a holy life. We can only have faith that Christ can live His life through me. Only He can sanctify me and only He can live a holy life through me.
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.