Holy Living Through Christ

Holy Living Through Christ

Fili Chambo Holy Living Through Christ

We were created to live in right relationship with God, created to live in God’s holiness. To live in right relationship with God is not something that we achieve or accomplish through our own wisdom and strength. It is made possible by God. We are holy only in relation to God, who is holy in character and nature. 

When God created Adam and Eve, they had the right relationship with God; they were created in the image of God. They had the likeness of God (holy) so long as they remained fully God’s.[1] But when humanity yielded to temptation and sin, they distanced themselves from God.  “Departing from God’s likeness is sinful, it is perversion of humanity’s original condition of being rightly related to God.”[2] As a result of the fall, humanity was far from God and unable to restore fellowship with God. Through God’s grace, humanity finds redemption and restoration to live in fellowship with God and with one another.

Redemption and restoration are God’s will for all people. But we must respond to his grace, entering into an ongoing relationship with God. God’s presence is transformational. He saves, makes holy, empowers for a Christ-like life, and enables us to participate fully in God’s redemptive agenda in the world.  The good news is that it is God’s desire to dwell among us in a covenantal relationship. God offers to dwell in our midst, to be our God, and to walk, live, and be with us always. Ezekiel 37:27 says, “My dwelling place will be with them; I will be their God, and they will be my people.” These words express a message of hope for restoration and transformation that is available from God to all people, for it is in relationship with God that we can live a holy life. God’s presence takes us on a journey of grace that leads to a life of obedience. As Brad Kelle puts it, God’s Spirit revives and shapes the human heart and character for “a life of undivided love and loyalty before a holy God.”[3]

God's presence in the world is best expressed through the incarnation of the Son of God, Jesus. Jesus has tabernacled among us! God came in the form of a human into the world He created, to bring redemption. Jesus was there before the creation; He is the creator. He is not a created being or order. Jesus participated in the creation process. God the Father created through Him and in partnership with Him (see John 1:1-3). It is important to recognize that when we talk about God’s intention and activity to redeem the world, we refer to the intention and activity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. But it is in the person of Jesus Christ that God’s redemptive intention and activity are best expressed and manifested (incarnated) to us.  We know God the Father because the Son made Him known to us. “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is Himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” (John 1:18). “Through God’s presence we see a glimpse of God’s infinite devotion to us, God’s dedication to our salvation – to our renewal in the image of God – as we directly experience God’s holiness.”[4]

Jesus is the express image of the holy nature and character of God. Entering a right relationship with God leads to deliverance from sin and its power, which is possible because, through Jesus, God deals definitively with the curse of sin in all its forms. Holy living (made possible through Christ) is a new way of life required of those who are followers of Christ. Through Christ, all that we need for holy living is given to us: “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Through these he has given us his very great and precious promises, so that through them you may participate in the divine nature, having escaped the corruption in the world caused by evil desires” (2 Peter 1:3-4). We are to live in the world as a display of his holiness.

Through Jesus, we learn what God intended for humanity to be like. We learn from Jesus what it means to be God’s image and God’s image-bearer in the world. Holiness compels us to seek to participate in activities that will bring redemption and restoration to others and the whole creation.  It is important not to confuse “doing the work” and “being fully God’s” possession. While doing or participating in God’s mission is important, this should never replace holy obedience, living in God’s likeness or holiness. God’s call for us to participate with Him in His redemptive mission in the world includes, above all, is a call to live a life of holiness. Jesus modeled for us what it looks like to obey God and overcome temptation and sin.

In Christ, humanity is restored and empowered to live as the holy people of God — His holy priesthood. We get to represent God to His creation and to represent creation to God. “God, whose holiness is expressed through His seeking love, has made it possible for his…creation to be brought back into that intended relationship with Him.”[5]

Filimão Chambo has served the Church of the Nazarene as a general superintendent since 2017. 

Holiness Today, May/June 2022

[1] As John Wesley said, “… man was created looking directly to God, as his last end; but falling into sin, he fell off from God, and turned into himself.” (Works 9:456)

[2] Ray Dunning, Grace, Faith & Holiness (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 1988), 277.

[3]Brad E. Kelle, Ezekiel: A Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2013), 305.

[4] Diane Leclerc, Discovering Christian Holiness: The Heart of Wesleyan-Holiness Theology (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2013).

[5] Kent Brower, Holiness in the Gospels (Kansas City: Beacon Hill Press, 2013), 79.