When I speak of total trust in Christ, I mean not only in his saving power but also in his keeping power. We have to trust his Spirit to keep us and conform us to Jesus’ likeness.
Think about your own testimony. At one time you were alienated, cut off from God by wicked works. What good work did you do to make things right with him? None! No one has ever been able to save himself.
Likewise, nobody has ever been able to make or keep himself holy. We are brought into Christ’s holiness daily by faith alone, as we trust in what God’s Word says: “If you are in Christ, you are holy as he is holy.”
“You, that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight: if ye continue in the faith” (Colossians 1:21-23).
Note the phrase “if ye continue in the faith.” Jesus is saying, “Continue trusting in me, living by faith. I will present you as clean, faultless, unblameable, holy before the Father.”
Beloved, this is all the sanctifying work of the Holy Ghost. As the Spirit empowers you to mortify the deeds of the flesh, he will lead you by his conviction and his comfort.
There is but one holiness: Christ’s! Therefore, no one believer is “holier than thou.” There are no degrees of holiness, only degrees of maturity in Christ. You can be a new Christian and still be absolutely holy in Jesus. So it’s foolish to measure yourself against someone you picture as being “holy.” We are all measured by one standard: the holiness of Christ. And if we are in him, his holiness is ours in equal measure.
You can never again look at another Christian and say, “Oh, I wish I were as holy as he is.” You may not have that person’s discipline or his prayer life; you may struggle more often and make more mistakes than he does. But he is no more accepted by the Father than you are. You are to compare yourself to no one, because no one is more loved in the eyes of the Father than you!
Dear saint, take off your shoes. Put off all reliance on your flesh. Here is the ground upon which you’re to live: “I claim my holiness, which is in Christ Jesus. I am part of his body. And my Father sees me as holy because I abide in him.”