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Holiness and Victory Over Sin, Part 28
by Karl Kemp 
03/15/12
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Holy Father, we humble our hearts before you. We want to understand the new covenant. We want to live the new covenant, by your grace and for your glory. In Jesus' mighty holy name! Amen!

When we stopped last time, we were on page 186 of my book, under the heading, "Some Verses that Use 'Hagios' and Fit the Ideal Pattern." The Greek adjective hagios is used more than two hundred times in the New Testament; it is normally translated "Holy/holy" or "saints." A saint is a holy person, a person set apart for God. The "ideal pattern" refers to Christians actually being set apart from all sin and everything defiling, and living for God in an abiding state of holiness, by His grace, through faith, in accordance with the terms of the new covenant. This is good news, very good news! This is what we want, isn't it?

We come to Eph. 5:3-8. I'll quote verse 3. (I used the New American Standard Bible, 1977 edition, in my book.) "But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints [plural of hagios]." "Immorality or any impurity or greed" must never "be named [as existing] among [the] saints." The NIV's translation is effective, "But among you there must not be even a hint of sexual immorality, or of any kind of impurity, or of greed, because these are improper for God's holy people." Being holy; being a saint, includes being set apart from immorality, impurity, greed, and everything else that is sinful and defiling. Ephesians 5:4-8 (and the verses that follow) continue with the same emphasis on the need for Christians to live in an abiding state of holiness.

Now I'll quote verse 3 again, and then verses 4, 5. "But do not let immorality or any impurity or greed even be named among you, as is proper among saints [plural of hagios]; (4) and there must be no filthiness and silly talk, or coarse jesting, which are not fitting [which are not fitting for saints], but rather giving of thanks. (5) For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God."

It's important to see that the "immoral [person]" of verse 5 refers back to the word "immorality" of verse 3; that the "impure person" of verse 5 refers back to the word "impurity" of verse 3; and that the "covetous man" of verse 5 refers back to the word "greed" of verse 3. In verse 5 Paul said, "covetous man, who is an idolater." In other words, the covetous man makes an idol of the things he covets.

I'll quote Eph. 5:5 again, "For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God." If we don't have an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God the Father, we are not headed for heaven. This makes holiness very important, doesn't it?

I'll quote verse 6 and make a few comments, "Let no one deceive you with empty words [There were deceivers in Paul's day, and there are many deceivers in our day.], for because of these things [What things? The sinful things the apostle has been talking about] the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience." The way to avoid the wrath of God is to live as sons of obedience (through the sanctifying grace of God in Christ) instead of living as "sons of disobedience." We must make truth, obedience, holiness and righteousness top priorities.

I'll quote verse 6 again and verses 7, 8. "Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things [these sinful things] the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (7) Therefore do not be partakers with them [The "sons of disobedience" will partake of God's wrath. We certainly don't want to be partakers of God's wrath with them.]; (8) for you were formerly darkness [Darkness goes with sin, Satan, and his kingdom of darkness.], but now you are light in the Lord; walk as children of light." God's light includes His truth, His righteousness, and His holiness. In the ideal case Christians will walk as children of light in an abiding state of holiness, by His sufficient grace, through faith. We must aim at that target!

Holiness is not an optional matter for Christians (see Rom. 2:1-16; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; Gal. 5:19-21; and Col. 3:5-11, for example). Holiness is a big part of what new-covenant salvation is all about. I'll quote Heb. 12:14 from the NKJV, "Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord." This is good news; God enables us to do what He calls us to do. Also, the New Testament makes it clear that God forgives Christians when they sincerely repent.

Now we come to Col. 1:21-23. I'll quote the verses, "And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, (22) yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy [Greek hagios] and blameless and beyond reproach - (23) if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister."

The study of Col. 1:9-14 in chapter 7 of this book should be read as an introduction for this study of Col. 1:21-23. (We discussed Col. 1:9-14 in an earlier article.) Also, most of the content of chapters 6-8 of my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation Through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ," is relevant to this study of Col. 1:21-23.

Now I'll quote verse 21 again, and we'll discuss the verse, "And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds." They "were formerly alienated" from God (see Eph. 2:12; 4:18; both verses use the same Greek verb as Col. 1:21 for "alienated/excluded"). Colossians 1:21 speaks of the former sinful lifestyle of the Colossian Christians, their lifestyle before they became born-again Christians (see, for example, Col. 1:3, 14; 2:11, 13; 3:5-9; Eph. 2:1-3; 4:17-5:14). They had been "hostile in mind" (see Rom. 8:5-8; 12:2; and Eph. 4:17, 18); they had been "hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds." If we think wrong in our hearts, we will live wrong.

Now I'll quote verse 22 again, "yet He has now reconciled you in His fleshly body through death, in order to present you before Him holy [Greek hagios] and blameless and beyond reproach." I believe the word "He" in "He has now reconciled" speaks of God the Father. See verses 19, 20, for example. God the Father has reconciled us to Himself in [or, by] the body of [Christ's] flesh through death; that is, He has reconciled us to Himself by Christ's atoning death. The NIV has, "But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death."

I'll quote the first part of Rom. 5:10, "For if while we were enemies, we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son." As we discussed under Rom. 5:10 in chapter 6 of this book ("Holiness and Victory Over Sin"), and in an earlier article on this site, being reconciled to God necessarily includes the transformation (to the righteousness and holiness of God) of those who were formerly "ungodly" (Rom. 5:6); formerly "sinners" (Rom. 5:8); and formerly "enemies [of God]" (Rom. 5:10). This glorious transformation is frequently spoken of in the New Testament (including Col. 1:9-14; 2:10-15; and 3:1-4:1).

The Christians at Colossae were no longer "alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds" (Col. 1:21). They had been renewed in mind and were now engaged in righteous deeds. The old man had been buried (see Col. 2:11, 12), and they had "laid aside the old [man] with its evil practices" (Col. 3:9). They had been made alive together with Christ (see Col. 2:12, 13), and they had "put on the new [man], which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him" (Col. 3:10 KJV). Colossians 2:5-7 say, "For though I am absent in the flesh, yet I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good order and the steadfastness of your faith in Christ. (6) As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (7) rooted [or, "having been rooted"; this is a perfect participle in the Greek] and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving" (NKJV). Colossians 4:12 says, "Epaphras, who is one of your number, a bondslave of Jesus Christ, sends you his greetings, always laboring earnestly for you in his prayers, that you may stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God."

I'll read Col. 1:21, 22 again (incorporating the translation of the NIV for the first part of verse 22), "And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, (22) yet He [God the Father] has now reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death [through Christ's atoning death] to present you before Him [before Himself] holy [Greek hagios] and blameless and beyond reproach." The apostle wrote from the viewpoint that the Colossian Christians were already "holy and blameless and beyond reproach," and in verse 23 he went on to say that they had been "firmly established": and were "steadfast" in the faith. Other statements by Paul in this epistle show that he was being somewhat generous here. (See Col. 1:9-11, 28, 29; 2:1-4, 16-23; 3:1-4:1; and 4:13). He knew, for one thing, that some false teachings had been accepted by some at Colossae.

Now we'll discuss the words, "in order to present you before Him [before Himself] holy and blameless and beyond reproach" of verse 22. I would translate "before Himself" instead of "before Him. The New English Bible has, "so that he may present you before himself." All Christians will be presented before God the Father at the end of this age (see, for example, Rom. 14:10-12; Col. 1:28; 2 Cor. 4:14; 1 Thess. 3:13; and Jude 1:24). I'll quote Col. 1:28, which is one of the verses I listed, "We proclaim Him [Christ], admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, so that we may present every man complete [or "perfect"] in Christ."

Now we'll discuss the words, "holy [Greek hagios] and blameless." The apostle Paul also used these words together in Eph. 1:4; 5:27. He used the words "holy and blameless" in Eph. 1:4; 5:27 in the ideal sense that Christians are called, enabled, and required to be holy and blameless. We have already discussed Eph. 5:27 in some detail under the Greek verb hagiazo. Paul's viewpoint here in Col. 1:22 is essentially the same as in Eph. 1:4; 5:27.

Paul wrote Col. 1:22 from the viewpoint that his readers at Colossae were "holy and blameless and beyond reproach," but in the next verse he emphasized the need for his readers to maintain that state (by the grace of God in Christ) until Christ returns (or until the end of their lives on the earth). Then they will be presented before God the Father "holy and blameless and beyond reproach" (see 1 Thess. 3:13; 5:23; and Jude 1:24, for example).

The Greek noun "amomos" translated "blameless" in Col. 1:22; Eph. 1:4; 5:27 is also used in Jude 1:24; Phil. 2:15; Heb. 9:14; 1 Pet. 1:19; and Rev. 14:5. I'll read Phil. 2:14-16, "Do all things without grumbling or disputing; so that you will prove yourselves to be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach [amomos] in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, holding fast the word of life, so that in the day of Christ I will have reason to glory because I did not run in vain nor toil in vain."

Now I'll read Col. 1:21-23 again, and we'll discuss verse 23, "And although you were formerly alienated and hostile in mind, engaged in evil deeds, (22) yet He [God the Father] has now reconciled you [by Christ's physical body through death (by Christ's atoning death)] to present you before [Himself] holy [plural of hagios] and blameless and beyond reproach - (23) if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established [or, "having been firmly established"; this is a perfect participle in the Greek] and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I , Paul, was made a minister."

First we'll discuss the words, "if indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast." "The faith" is the Christian faith (see, for example, Acts 6:7, 14:22; 2 Cor. 13:5; Gal. 1:23; 3:23; 1 Tim. 1:2; 3:9, 13; 4:1, 6; 5:8; 6:10, 21; 2 Tim. 3:8; and Titus 3:15). To "continue in the faith" includes continuing in the truth of the gospel (correct doctrine) and continuing in the righteous and holy lifestyle required by the gospel. As I mentioned, the apostle wrote from the somewhat generous viewpoint that the Christians at Colossae were already "holy and blameless and beyond reproach" and "firmly established and steadfast." This epistle makes it clear that some of the Christians at Colossae needed to make some changes. That isn't too surprising, it is?

The Greek verb translated "continue" ("if you continue in the faith") is "epimeno." This same verb was used in Rom. 11:22, "but to you [The apostle Paul was speaking to Gentile Christians.] God's kindness, if you continue [epimeno] in His kindness; otherwise you also will be cut off." It was also used in Acts 13:43, "were urging them to continue [epimeno] in the grace of God." A similar verb ("emmeno") was used in Acts 14:22; Gal. 3:10; and Heb. 8:9. Each of these verses helps us understand the meaning of the words "continue in the faith" here in Col. 1:23. I'll quote Acts 14:21, 22, "And after they [Paul and Barnabus] had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, (22) strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging [or, exhorting] them to continue [emmeno] in the faith, and saying, 'Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.' "] 1 Tim. 6:10 speaks of some who "have wandered away from the faith," and 1 Tim. 6:21 speaks of some who have "gone astray from the faith."

Now we'll discuss the words, "and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister." "The hope of the gospel" speaks of the glory that all true Christians will begin to share at the time of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ (see, for example, Col. 1:5, 27; 3:4; Rom. 5:2; and 8:17-25). One of the verses I listed was Col. 1:5, "because of the hope laid up for you in heaven, of which you previously heard in the word of truth, the gospel." To "continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast" is to "not [be] moved away from the hope of the gospel." Those who do not continue in the faith until the end forfeit "the hope of the gospel."

Now we come to 1 Pet. 1:13-19, still under the major heading "Some Verses that Use 'Hagios' and Fit the Ideal Pattern." I'll quote the verses. "Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. (14) As obedient children, do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance, (15) but LIKE THE HOLY ONE [Greek hagios] WHO CALLED YOU, BE HOLY [Greek hagios] YOURSELVES ALSO IN ALL YOUR BEHAVIOR [my emphasis]; (16) because it is written, 'YOU SHALL BE HOLY [or, 'BE HOLY'; Greek hagios], FOR I AM HOLY [Greek hagios].' (17) And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth; (18) knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life [and I might add, "from your sinful way of life"] inherited from your forefathers, (19) but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ."

I'll quote verse 13 again and comment briefly on this verse, "Therefore, gird your minds for action, keep sober in spirit, fix your hope completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." As Christians live in the light of the return of the Lord Jesus Christ and the glory this will mean for them (see 1 Pet. 1:3-7; 4:13; 5:1, 4, 6, 10; Rom. 5:2; Col. 1:5, 22, 23, 27; and Titus 3:7, for example), they will be strongly motivated to live for God in His righteousness and holiness.

I'll quote verse 14 again and comment on this verse, "As obedient children [or, "children of obedience"], do not be conformed to the former lusts which were yours in your ignorance." Christians must be "children of obedience." These Christians from a Gentile background must not to be conformed any longer to their former sinful lifestyle (see 1 Pet. 1:18; 4:2-4, for example). They have put off the old man and have become born-again new creations in Christ Jesus (see 1 Pet. 1:22, 23; 2:1, 2, 24, 25; Rom. 6:1-23; 2 Cor. 5:14-17; Eph. 4:17-5:4; Col. 2:10-15; and 3:1-11, for example). I'll quote the first part of Rom. 12:2, which uses the same Greek verb for "conform," "And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing [or, better yet, "renewal"] of your mind."

Now I'll read 1 Pet. 1:15, 16 again and comment on these verses, "but LIKE THE HOLY ONE [Greek hagios] WHO CALLED YOU, BE HOLY [Greek hagios] YOURSELVES ALSO IN ALL YOUR BEHAVIOR; (16) because it is written, "YOU SHALL BE HOLY [or, "BE HOLY"; Greek hagios], FOR I AM HOLY [Greek hagios]." Instead of "You shall be holy," I prefer the NIV's "Be holy." This is a command, but what God commands us to do, He enables us to do (by His grace).

It would be difficult to imagine a stronger statement of the fact that Christians are called to be (and enabled to be) set apart from all sin than the exhortation contained in these two verses. (See Matt. 5:48; 1 John 2:6, 29; 3:3-12; and 4:17, for example.) It is clear that Peter was speaking of Christians actually being set apart from all sin and living for God in an abiding state of holiness. He said, "but LIKE THE HOLY ONE WHO CALLED YOU, BE HOLY YOURSELVES IN ALL YOUR BEHAVIOR."

Now I'll quote verse 17 again and comment on this verse. "And if you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each man's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay upon earth." Christians do address God as Father; we are His born-again children. In 1 Pet. 1:3, 23 Peter spoke of our being "born again"; and in 1:14 he spoke of our being "children of obedience." Knowing that God will judge us according to our "work" should provide very strong motivation for us to live in His righteousness and holiness. Our righteousness and holiness is produced by the saving, sanctifying grace of God in Christ, through faith. (See Eph. 2:8-10; Gal. 5:5, 16-18, 22-25; and Titus 2:14, for example.)

Since God will impartially judge each person according to their work, He will not show partiality to any, including Christians. Our "work," what we do, shows what is in our hearts. Faith without works is dead; it isn't saving faith. It is true, of course, that forgiveness is provided for Christians, but Christianity is about much more than forgiveness. If "Christians" are characterized by sin, they will be condemned (see Matt. 3:1-12; 7:13-27; 16:24-27; John 5:28, 29; Rom. 2:1-16; 6:21-23; 1 Cor. 6:9-11; 2 Cor. 5:10; Gal. 5:19-21; 6:7-9; Eph. 5:5-7; Col. 3:5-7; Rev. 21;7, 8; and 22:10-15, for example).

I'll quote Rev. 22:12-15, which is one of the passages I just listed. I'll quote these verses from the NIV. The Lord Jesus Christ is speaking here. "Behold, I am coming soon! My reward [My recompense] is with Me, and I will give to everyone according to what he has done. (13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First and the Last, the Beginning and the End. (14) Blessed are those who wash their robes, that they may have the right to the tree of life and may go through the gates into the city [the city of God's new Jerusalem]. (15) Outside are the dogs, those who practice magic arts, the sexually immoral, the murderers, the idolaters and everyone who loves and practices falsehood." "Those who wash their robes" are the ones who cleanse themselves and become sanctified through the sanctifying blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, which is backed up by the all-powerful Holy Spirit (see Rev. 7:14; 19:8, for example).

In John 5:28, 29 Jesus spoke of the coming hour of judgment "in which all who are in the tombs will hear His voice, and will come forth; those who did the good deeds [or, works] to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds [or, works] to a resurrection of judgment [condemnation]."

I'll quote 1 Pet. 1:17 again, "If you address as Father the One who impartially judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves in fear during the time of your stay on earth." Those who know that they will face the judgment of God must "conduct themselves in [reverent] fear [before Him]," living in His righteousness and holiness, always staying fully ready for the day of judgment. Such things as correct doctrine (though necessary), godly parents, or the externals of religion will not prepare us to stand before God any more than they sufficed for the children of Israel (see Matt. 3:7-10; John 8:31-47; and Rom. 2:1-29, for example).

"Christians" could be rejected on the day of judgment (see Matt. 7:13-27, for example). It is also true that a Christian could make it to heaven but lose rewards because of living by the flesh in certain areas (see 1 Cor. 3:5-15, for example). It is a serious matter for Christians to be unfaithful to God, and we must have a reverent fear regarding this matter. We will all have to answer to God (see Rom. 14:10-12, for example). The Bible shows that we must have a healthy fear of all sin (see Matt. 10:28; Luke 1:50; 12:5; Acts 9:31; 2 Cor. 7:1; Phil. 2:12; Heb. 4:1; and 1 Pet. 2:17, for example).

Now I'll quote 1 Pet. 1:18, 19 again, and we'll discuss these verses, "knowing that you were not redeemed with perishable things like silver or gold from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, (19) but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ." Christians have been redeemed from their former futile [sinful] way of life by the "precious blood [of Christ]" (see 1 Pet. 2:24, 25; 3:18; and 4:1-6, for example; and see under Rom. 3:24 in chapter 6 of this book). I'll quote 1 Pet. 2:24, "and He Himself bore our sins [He bore our sins with the guilt and with the penalties, including the major penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin] in his body on the cross, so that WE MIGHT DIE TO SIN AND LIVE TO RIGHTEOUSNESS [my emphasis]...."

As we have discussed in some detail, the Lamb of God bore our sins with the guilt and with the penalties (including the major penalties of spiritual death and bondage to sin), so we could be forgiven, be redeemed out of the kingdom of sin, be born again, and be made righteous and holy with the very imparted righteousness and holiness of God. God paid an infinite price in the sacrifice of His Son to save and sanctify us. When we learn who Jesus is and what He has done for us in His atoning death, and the fact that God hates sin, it is inconceivable that the blood of Christ does not have the power to set us free from all sin, as we appropriate that power through faith.

We're almost finished with this article. I'll quote a few key verses on the topic of holiness and victory over sin. I'll quote Gal. 5:16, 24, "But I say, walk by the Spirit [the Holy Spirit], and you [most certainly] will not carry out the desire [the sinful desire] of the flesh. ... (24) Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires." And I'll quote Rom. 6:1, 2, and 11 from the NKJV, "What shall we say then? Shall we continue to sin that grace may abound? (2) Certainly not! How shall we who died to sin live any longer in it? ... (11) Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord." And lastly, I'll quote Rom. 8:3, 4, "For what the Law [the Mosaic Law] could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did, sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, (4) so that the requirement [the righteous requirement] of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit [the Holy Spirit]."

This is the last article on the topic of holiness and victory over sin. We haven't covered everything in these twenty-eight articles, but we have rather thoroughly discussed this super-important topic. What we have found is good news, very good news. I trust that many of you will get my book, "Holiness and Victory Over Sin: Full Salvation through the Atoning Death of the Lord Jesus Christ" and the CDs of the broadcasts. Also, this topic is discussed in some detail in many of my papers that are located on my internet site (and quite a few are located on this
Christian article site). The book and CDs are available on my internet site (Google to Karl Kemp Teaching), and the book is available at amazon.com.

God bless you! May His will be fully accomplished in us and through us! In Jesus name!

Copyright by Karl Kemp


If you died today, are you absolutely certain that you would go to heaven? You can be! TRUST JESUS NOW

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