Ah, at last we come to the seat of controversy…the thing people suggest when you mention questioning Nazarene doctrine…Christian Holiness and Entire Sanctification!
If I am reading this correctly from the Nazarene Articles of Faith,they place believers on a spectrum of faith. It starts with belief in God, and an initial state of being justified before God. Then comes Entire Sanctification where the Holy Spirit fills the believer and cleanses the heart from original sin. When the believer is fully conformed to the image of Christ, they have reached glorification. It sounds mostly familiar, but what was that about original sin? Remember from my earlier blog post on sin that Original Sin refers to the corruption of a believer’s nature, and inclination to evil that is inherited, not chosen. So would it be possible to lose that natural inclination to sin through the Holy Spirit’s help? It is a new concept for me, and one that I will be studying closely. While I do not initially agree with it, I will be the first to admit that I do not understand how God works, and I am interested to see if this is one of His ways that I have missed.
Whether we are freed from part of our sin nature by the Holy Spirit or not, He does help us to become more like Christ: holy. It is a frustrating word sometimes, because of how special it is and how difficult! Set apart. Pure. Untainted by sin.
Holiness is found throughout the Bible…
“15 but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, 16 because it is written, ‘Be holy, for I am holy'” (1 Peter 1).
“who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was given to us in Christ Jesus before time began” ( 2 Timothy 1:9).
If God gave us so many instructions to act in a holy way, I suspect that it has a greater depth of meaning than I have assigned to it. How can I live a holy life in a world that is full of sin? Is it possible to live a sinless life, as the Nazarene Articles suggest by saying that the inclination to sin is dissolved in the baptism of the Holy Spirit? That would only leave chosen or actual sin. But the more I think about not sinning, the easier I find myself slipping into sin.This will be an interesting study.
God, You are holy. That is easy to see. How can I live a life anything close to Yours? Why do You call me to a holy life? The more rules I have, the easier it is for me to see my sin. So thank You for loving, guiding, healing, and redirecting my steps. God, please help me on this study to look to You, not at myself. And be surprised by You again. To Your glory, Amen.