The only safe evidence that we are in Christ is a holy life. John said everyone who has within him the hope of eternal life purifies himself just as Christ is pure (1 John 3:3). Paul said, “Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God” (Romans 8:14). If we know nothing of holiness, we may flatter ourselves that we are Christians but we do not have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us.
It may be you have been more earnest and vehement for assurance, and the effects of it, viz., joy, comfort, and peace, than you have been for grace and holiness, for communion with God, and conformity to God. It may be your requests for assurance have been full of life and spirits, when your requests for grace and holiness, for communion with God, and conformity to God, have been lifeless and spiritless. If so, no wonder that assurance is denied you. Assurance makes most for your comfort, but holiness makes most for God’s honour. Man’s holiness is now his greatest happiness, and in heaven man’s greatest happiness will be his perfect holiness.
God decreed from eternity past that you would be like Christ (Rom. 8:29-30); He put His Holy Spirit in you to make sure that it would happen (Phil. 2:12-13); Christ prayed for you to be sanctified, and His prayers are always answered (Jn. 17:17); He even promises you that He will lovingly discipline you in order to return you to holiness whenever you stray (Heb. 12:5-10). How could we ever doubt that God means what He says, “Without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12:14)?
Say not that thou hast royal blood in thy veins and art born of God, unless thou canst prove thy pedigree by daring to be holy.
If you do not desire to be holy I do not see that you have any right to think that you are a Christian.
A person who is not being purified from sin has no claim on being saved from it.
There is no imagination wherewith man is besotted, more foolish, none so pernicious, as this – that persons not purified, not sanctified, not made holy in their life, should afterwards be taken into that state of blessedness which consists in the enjoyment of God. Neither can such persons enjoy God, nor would God be a reward to them. Holiness indeed is perfected in heaven: but the beginning of it is invariably confined to this world.
One of the surest tests to apply to the professed conversion is the heart’s attitude towards sin. Where the principle of holiness has been planted, there will necessarily be a loathing of all that is unholy. If our hatred of evil be genuine, we are thankful when the Word reproves even the evil which we suspected not.
I doubt, indeed, whether we have any warrant for saying that a man can possibly be converted without being consecrated to God. More consecrated he doubtless can be, and will be as his grace increases; but if he was not consecrated to God in the very day that he was converted and born again, I do not know what conversion means.
If you dislike a holy God now, why would you want to be with Him forever? If worship does not capture your attention at present, what makes you think it will thrill you in some heavenly future? If ungodliness is your delight here on earth, what will please you in heaven, where all is clean and pure? You would not be happy there if you are not holy here.
So if we are already declared perfectly holy in God’s eyes and our future is a place of perfect holiness and God’s goal for us is increasing holiness, it’s safe that the clearest sign that we are really saved will be the desire and ability to be more holy.
Christ will be master of the heart, and sin must be mortified. If your life is unholy, then your heart is unchanged, and you are an unsaved person.The Savior will sanctify His people, renew them, give them a hatred of sin, and a love of holiness. The grace that does not make a man better than others is a worthless counterfeit. Christ saves His people, not IN their sins, but FROM their sins. Without holiness, no man shall see the Lord.
A faith which works not for purification will work for putrefaction. Unless our faith makes us pine after holiness, it is no better than the faith of devils, and perhaps it is not even so good as that. A holy man is the workmanship of the Holy Spirit.