Our Holy Identity
There is unquestionable, biblical proof that all born-again believers are called saints. The word saint is used approximately sixty-one times to describe believers throughout most modern translations of the New Testament, and it is never used to refer to a nonbeliever. But do you know what the word saint means? The Greek word for saint is hagios, and it literally translates to mean “holy.” Want to know where else in the Bible the word saint, or holy, appears? It is used to describe the Holy Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the Holy Father, the Holy One of God (another name for Jesus) and is even the same word used to describe the Holy of Holies, which is the innermost room of the tabernacle where God’s presence dwelled with ancient Israel (Hebrews 9:3, 8).
Did you know that during every single moment of existence for all eternity, there are four living creatures in heaven who worship God nonstop, singing, “Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God Almighty, Who was and is and is to come,” and they are saying the same word as our name (Revelation 4:8)!!?? It is emphatically astounding to fathom the height, the depth, the length, and the width of God’s extraordinary, endless love for us when we realize that He gave us a name bearing such incredible glory and honor—His very own name!! “For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is His name” (Luke 1:49). And another incredible example: “Our Father who art in heaven, Hallowed (i.e. holy) be thy name“ (Matthew 6:9)
Knowing this brings light to the true intentions of God for us through scriptures such as 1 Peter 1:15–16, which says, “Be holy, for I am holy.” What is the ultimate purpose of your life? Why were you born? Why do you exist at all? These are questions that the world will always ask, but as believers and followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we alone hold the answer. You were made to bear the name and the image of God and be a brightly shining lighthouse where the Lord Himself dwells, and there is no greater purpose, destiny, or calling in all existence! You were made to represent Him and He is holy, therefore you were made to be holy just like God is. It is time to claim what He purchased for you and live and walk in faith! You were made to bear His glory, His image, and His name for the kingdom of heaven to proclaim on earth, and it is time to believe it!!
You have heard it said that God will not share His glory with another: “I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another…” (Isaiah 42:8). But I say to you that you are not just anybody to God; you are His body, and God wants us to carry and manifest His glory everywhere we go! In John 17:22–26, Jesus Christ prays the following prayer for all believers on earth:
“And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me. Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world. O righteous Father! The world has not known You, but I have known You; and these have known that You sent Me. And I have declared to them Your name (i.e. holy), and will declare it, that the love with which You loved Me may be in them, and I in them.”
Consider this point as well: We are sons and daughters of our Father God, we are betrothed to the Son of God to be His holy bride in marriage, and the Holy Spirit lives within every believer! Does God need to be any clearer about the fact that we are in His holy club? If you truly want to see the depth of God’s desire to be one with us, then I highly encourage you to study out these scriptures and come to your own conclusion: Psalms 82:6, John 10:31–39, John 17:20–26, Romans 8:14–17, Hebrews 2:10–11. As deceived humans, we regularly attempt to place veils between ourselves and our Father, but never forget that He is always trying to tear the veil between us and connect us to Himself! Here’s my final passage of scripture to drive this point home—in Revelation 3:9, Jesus says to the faithful church on earth, “Indeed I will make those of the synagogue of Satan, who say they are Jews and are not, but lie—indeed I will make them come and worship before your feet, and to know that I have loved you.” Do you see that in the last days, God will force disobedient men to come and actually worship faithful believers in the church? Did you ever expect that part of God’s will is that certain men will receive worship from others?
I realize that the content in this chapter will deeply challenge many readers, and I am not intending to push or even suggest that I have a dogmatic position on these statements about our oneness with God other than this one fact: God’s desire is not for us to continually focus on differences between us and Him (thereby separating ourselves from God and forming a veil) but rather focus on our oneness and likeness with Him, such as what He determined in the beginning: “Then God said, ‘Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness…’” (Genesis 1:26a).
In response to what I am writing, many will say that the idea of perfectionism will cause great arrogance to come to the Body of Christ and that will cause enormous problems for the church. It is possible and probable that many will take this doctrine too far and can become arrogant and proud and stray from God’s path. But let us not forget that Jesus, not us, is the head of His church, the body, and that the Lord will chasten those whom He loves. We are meant to judge one another and keep our brethren from slipping into sin, but not at the expense of truth in our own lives, so I say let us move forward toward perfection and expect correction, chastisement, and guidance from God the entire way! Do not look at the future and be fearful of other men’s abilities to stray from the path; instead look at the future with hope, knowing that God is leading and collectively guiding our lives into maturity, tremendous fruit, and great increase for the kingdom! This is the perfection that God wants for us!
Believing that you have been perfected by Christ and completely transformed is, by no means, the widely traveled or easy road. It takes sincere faith to hold on to God’s truth for our lives. It’s not any type of cop-out or a delusion of grandeur; it is a battle of the mind for faith. Jesus promised that we would face opposition because of our faith, and the truth is that this opposition won’t simply come from our own battles within our minds, but it will also come from the world, from family, from friends, and even from fellow believers. Jesus said that we would be hated by all for His name’s sake, but he who endures to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22). This tells us that true faith in God is never taking the easy road, but remember that the right path goes through the narrow gate.
I’m not afraid of the moment when I finally meet Jesus face-to-face that He will say to me, “Whoa, buddy! You believed that I accomplished WAY too much on the cross! Did you really think that My blood was that powerful? I can’t just make you perfect through faith alone!” This fantasy is actually humorous because we all know that Jesus would never respond that way. Instead, I know that when He returns, He will wonder to Himself, “Will I really find faith on the earth?” (Luke 18:8).
The Bible is very clear in telling us that it takes humility in order to come to God. God resists the proud but gives grace to the humble (Proverbs 3:34). It takes humility to realize that you need a Savior, but it also takes humility to realize that your Savior has really changed you, even to the point of perfection. We could say to ourselves that it isn’t possible for God to perfect us in this life and believe that we are taking the humble approach, but what we are truly doing is elevating our own understanding of what we believe God’s intentions are for us while completely ignoring what He clearly said His intentions are in His word! This is not humility at all. It’s pride. Instead, let us genuinely humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt us in due time (1 Peter 5:6), because if God said that He would make us perfect, who do we think we are to argue?
Chapter 17: Sanctification – How Does This Fit In?…
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