Is Holiness Necessary for Salvation?

by Pastor Riley Fraas

Is Holiness necessary for salvation? The Bible says so:

holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord. Hebrews 12:14

But what does it mean, and why is it necessary?

Holiness is a setting a part for the use of God, a resignation to Him and from anything that is not pleasing to Him. Holiness extends to every part of human life, implying a pervasive faith, obedient submission, and continual honoring toward God in all of ones life. It necessarily requires a separation from the sinful world, not by living in seclusion or not making contact with unholy people, but by an utter personal rejection of the sins that pervade the world around us including everything which is not in accordance with God’s will as recorded in the Holy Bible.   

Holiness does not mean perfection, for no one is perfect in this life. It does mean a resolve, resolution, and effort to believe in, obey, and honor God in all of life as his will is shown to us in the Holy Bible. The one who is seeking holiness will not be content with compromising God’s instructions for living. He will do his utmost to keep all of God’s commandments in thought, word, and action, praying on his knees continually asking for God to assist him in his effort to obey.

Holiness is not a way of earning acceptance with God. All human beings have already violated God’s law.  Therefore they are utterly without hope of pleasing Him by their own effort. Yet, by His grace, many rotten sinners come to Him. And when they come to Him, they come to be holy, for He is holy. When we say that holiness is necessary for salvation, it does not mean that God accepts us for our holiness. It only means that all those who will one day go to heaven are made holy in this life.

Holiness is required of those who come to Jesus Christ to be saved, because He is holy. Let’s say there is someone who comes to Jesus without wanting to be holy. He wants to be saved from the eternal flames of hell, so he walks down an aisle and prays a prayer. In the meantime he intends to keep practicing his favorite sins. He doesn’t really think he needs to give them up; and deep down, he loves them. He lives in them. Perhaps he has heard a preacher say that he will be saved: that he is eternally secure because he made a decision for Jesus. But has he really come to Jesus, or is it just a figment of his imagination? There are many men named Jesus in the world, especially in Spanish-speaking countries. Just coming to “Jesus” isn’t enough. It has to be Jesus the Savior of whom the Bible testifies! Just forming ones own idea of who Jesus is won’t do, either. The one who comes to Jesus the Savior comes to Him as He is described in the Bible, or he doesn’t come to Him at all. Jesus is the Holy God. He is entirely other, separate, and apart from the sin of this world. That is:  He is holy. He is entirely untainted by sin. In fact, he never sinned. This is why He is the Savior of sinners. The one who comes to Him, must come to holiness, for Jesus is holy. Otherwise, that person has not come to the real Jesus.

Here is what holiness looks like:

1. Hearing and reading the Scriptures to know what pleases God.

You honestly can’t pretend to want to please God if you won’t make the effort to know what pleases Him, can you? Hearing is when you listen to the Scriptures preached in Church. Reading is reading your Bible. These are both equally important.

2. Praying to the Father in Jesus’ name.

Prayer is one of the great means God has provided for us to become holy. He answers prayer that is according to His will. One prime example of this is prayers for holiness.  When we pray for holiness, it engages our minds and our wills toward it as a goal, and puts our faith in the God who makes the unholy holy.

3. Worshiping God among His people.

The solemn worship of God in His Church is not just a formality or a nice option that can be done without. It’s your weekly chance to meet with the God whom you desire to please. This meeting pleases Him. If you don’t love these meetings, you don’t love Him.

4. Loving others.

Those who love God from the heart will also love other human beings, because they are made in His image. They will especially love others who are on the road of holiness because of their common connection to the Savior.

The one who comes to Jesus must come to holiness, because Jesus is holy. The one who doesn’t want to be holy, doesn’t want Jesus.

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