In an age of easy believeism, name it-claim it theology and self help gospel presentations, the call to holiness and a sanctified life is constantly being obscured by many so-called evangelical leaders. Is believing in Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection just simply our ticket to Heaven? Is the Gospel only about what Jesus can do for us? Does being saved by grace through faith nullify the need for continual repentance and holiness in one’s life? Let’s look to the 4th chapter of Paul’s letter to the church at Ephesus for the answer.
From chapters 1 through 3 Paul sets the context for what he is about to say in chapter 4. He reminds his readers that they are chosen by God, made alive in Christ, have every spiritual blessing, saved by grace through faith, etc. The doctrines of grace permeate through the first 3 chapters. With all of that as the backdrop Paul begins chapter 4 with these words, “Therefore I, the prisoner of the Lord, implore you to walk in a manner worthy of the calling with which you have been called…”
Some translations render the word implore as urge, beseech or to beg. With a sense of urgency Paul begs his readers to live in a way that is worthy of the calling they have received. In other words, live in a way that is consistent with the fact that God chose you to be the recipient of His grace inspite of your deadness in sin; that you are justified by faith alone in Christ alone; and that you have been reconciled to God through Christ’s substitutionary atonement and not by your works. In light of all this, live your life in a way that reflects these wonderful truths, which he goes on to give examples of how this is manifested in the following verses and chapters.
The whole act of redemption beginning with the Father choosing us, the Son ransoming us, and the Spirit regenerating us should create in us a desire to live a life of righteousness and holiness. It is In Christ alone that we are freed from our bondage to sin. In 1 Peter 2:24 Peter echoes this same truth when he says, “and He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sin and live to righteousness ; for by His wounds you were healed.” We sometimes forget this as we proclaim the Gospel. We are not calling people to a one time act of repentance and faith; rather we are calling people to live a life characterized by continual repentance and faith. Jesus Christ died for our sins not just for our justification but also for our sanctification. If you are claiming that the righteousness of Christ has been imputed to you through faith in His name, yet there is no evidence of a constant mortification of sin, then I would suggest that your faith in Christ is suspect at best or you are failing to live a life worthy of the calling you which you have been called.