Sometimes, one sentence can change your life – forever. “I do.” “I’m pregnant.” “There’s been an accident.” “I am holy.”
This past weekend, I attended Family Worship Center’s Apologetics Conference. I listened as three wonderful speakers brought thought-provoking truths to our attention. The topics presented were intense, hotly debated issues on which our country is divided: Euthanasia, abortion, race, and homosexuality.
Keynote speaker Dr. Michael Brown took some time for a Q & A session Saturday morning, fielding tough, sometimes heartbreaking questions from family members, friends, teachers, and loved ones of those who identify as homosexual. One lovely lady took the microphone and asked, “What can I say to best help my Christian friend who, though he renounces the homosexual lifestyle as sin and abstains from that sin, still struggles with homosexual drives?” Dr. Brown then gave life-changing instruction:
Tell that person, ‘You are holy. You no longer should identify as homosexual, but as holy. When temptations come, know who you are in Christ. When you receive Christ and reject sin, those temptations are not who you are.
You. Are. Holy.
He spoke to the fact that when a person comes to Christ in faith, he or she becomes a new creation. We will never, until we reach heaven, stop struggling with our flesh, but we are no longer a sinful creature bound by sinful desires. We. Are. Holy.
I, too, know this to be true. I’ve experienced the power of holy identification – and the power of identifying with sin.
I’ve written about my own Road to Damascus in a blog titled “Raw Honest”. One of the lessons I’ve learned since that time many years ago is that how I view myself, how I identify myself, as simply sinner or as humbly holy, is a make-or-break factor, often determining failure or success. Knowing and proclaiming that, through regular repentance and the transforming power of the Holy Spirit, I am NOT the person I was, I DO have power over sin, and I AM holy through Christ is crucial to overcoming temptation.
Last year, a close friend, one who knows the intimate details of my past, pointed to some of my failures and questioned my change. This person expressed doubt that I had truly become a new creation. My friend identified me as a sinner, not as holy.
That person’s remarks crushed me and shook me to my core. I began to question things God had shown me. I knew what I knew…but what if? What if I truly was nothing but a filthy sinner? What if I had believed in a placebo of sorts? After all, redemption with a lifestyle of continuing sinfulness is no redemption at all.
For months this person’s opinion haunted me. Day after day I sat with my Bible on my lap and wept. Week after week I stood with the rest of my church family as they worshiped, only to battle unwanted tears could not be held back. Month after month I walked out of the sanctuary during communion, going instead to the lady’s room to wrestle with God.
I was having a colossal, enemy-thrilling identity crisis.
I tend to be one of God’s stubborn kids whose discipline calls for chastisement more often than gentle redirection, but God knew this was not one of those times. Instead, He patiently listened to my wailing and gently restored the vision of my true identity: Saved, redeemed…holy – in Christ alone. I am not a filthy sinner. I. Am. Holy.
Ladies, if you have accepted Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as payment for your sins, though you may stumble, you are not bound by sin. We are not talking about some power of positive profession, we are talking about the power of Christ to save to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25).
When we allow Christ to cover our sins, we are filthy sinners no more! We are instead bought with a price (1 Cor 6:20), made clean (Eph 5:26), washed white as snow (Is 1:18), and transformed into His holy nation (1 Pet 2:9)!
Will we ever sin again? Yes. We will miss the mark, we will be tempted, we will continue to fight a sinful nature, and we will fall at times. But though a righteous woman falls, she will rise again (Prov 24:16), because she is not identified in Christ as fallen, but as holy.
Sisters, we have the very power that raised Christ from the dead in us (Rom 8:11)! We were buried with him and, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we, too, can walk in newness of life. For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we will also be in the likeness of His resurrection. Knowing that our old self was crucified with Him, in order that our body of sin might be done away with, so that we would no longer be slaves to sin, for she who has died is freed from sin (Rom 6:4-7).
Paul continues on in Romans chapter six, saying, “Reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin… now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness…” (verses 11 and 22).
Not filthy sinners. Holy.
Sister, have you sinned? Have you broken God’s heart? Is it breaking yours, too? When we allow sin and failure to define us, we begin to walk accordingly. And only then can we become truly sinful and unholy.
But take hope! You don’t have to identify as a sinner! Confess your sin, take comfort in the forgiveness of your Lord, and continue on as a holy woman of God.
We are holy. This is the miracle of Easter.
In His name and for His glory, Jodi Greene