Although we cannot earn our salvation, Jesus calls His people to a holy, righteous life. According to Ephesians 2:8-9, salvation is a gift from God, not because of anything we have done.
a Christian response to God’s gift of salvation:
1. Glorify the Father. A holy life reflects the Lord, and therefore, brings honor to Him. (Colossians 3:17, 1 Corinthians 10:21)
We bring glory to God by giving our hearts totally to Him. From the point of conversion, God grows His people in righteousness (Righteousness meaning thoughts, words, and deeds that please God), helping them live according to His Word.
The more we seek Christ, the less we love sin. God calls us to sacrifice our sin, and the result is so joyous that, at times, it doesn’t feel like a sacrifice.
2. Obey His commands. Followers of Christ are called to live holy lives. If we claim to be His disciples, then we ought to obey His Word (Romans 1:5, John 14:15).
The Gospel changes everything about us - our perspective, actions, choices, and even opinions. Our identity changes.
Prior to Christ’s death and resurrection, believers obediently performed certain sacrificial rituals in order to receive right standing in the eyes of the Lord.
However, Jesus wholly fulfilled God’s requirement. He was a perfect sacrifice for the sin of man. The implications of that are massive. We no longer have to live in bondage to obedience. Obedience comes from a changed heart, not an obligated heart.
Righteousness Works From The Inside Out
In the New Testament, the Scribes and Pharisees were viewed as the most accurate depiction of holy living. However, in Matthew 5 : 20 Jesus says, “For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus’ followers are called to a different level of righteousness than even the most religious people in the Bible. This level of purity can only happen through the power of God’s Holy Spirit working from the inside out of our hearts.
The difference between a holy life and trying to clean ourselves up for God is our heart posture. They both may have the same end goal of pleasing God. However, a holy life comes from a Holy Spirit ordained heart change. We will fail at cleaning ourselves up for God every time.
The beautiful thing about following Jesus is we are not alone. He is right there with us. He sustains our desire to obey Him. My obedience does not rest on my strength and willpower.