A Call To Holiness

See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you. (John 5:14).

In a general understanding of Scripture, all of our human weaknesses, diseases and infirmities are a result of sin entering the human race, though not all diseases are a result of personal sin (see Genesis 3:16-19, c.f. John 9:1-2).

In the opening text, Jesus heals a man and commands him against continuing in sin. In other words; now that he has been healed of his sickness, brought upon him by sin, he is called upon to live a holy life.  There is a popular refrain of modern day Christianty championing a cause that “God accepts you just as you are”.

Though true, if the statement is not placed in its proper context, great harm will be done to holy Christian living. In fact, great harm is already taking place by those who want to remain in their sins yet call themselves Christians. Now, the statement “God accepts you just as you are” is true in a certain sense and false in another sense hence we need to strike a proper balance. Firstly, it is true that “God accepts you just as you are” in the sense that there is nothing humanly possible we can do to gain God’s acceptance. The words of the hymn “Just as I am without one plea” comes to mind. Nothing we bring, apart from faith in Christ’s finished work on Calvary can atone for our sins. We are accepted only in Christ purely on his atoning work. We have no works to present to be accepted by God. If you have placed your faith in Christ, your sins are forgiven and you are accepted in Christ (Ephesians 1:7, 2:8).

So in what sense is it false that “God accepts us just as we are”?There is, for some people, an undertone of antinomianism in the statement. But when we come to Christ in faith just as we are, we can’t continue to be just as we are/just as we came. The evidence that we are Christ’s is a changed life from our old ways.

In Christ, we have been called to a life of progressive sanctification. We have been separated from the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of light. We can’t remain the same. God is moulding us into the image of Christ and though we live in a fallen body in a fallen world, there must be an evidence of ongoing sanctification because that is what we have been called to: “that we should be holy and blameless before him” (Ephesians 1:4).

Remember Jesus’ words to the woman caught in adultery.

Neither do I condemn you;go, and … sin no more. ( John 8:11).

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