“Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord . . . declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness” (Roman 1:3-4). True holiness has a spirit operating behind it. Wherever you find the presence of Jesus working in or among His people, you will discover abundantly more in them than obedience, more than separation from the world, more than abstinence from ungodly things. You will find a spirit of obedience.
To these people, obedience is no longer just a matter of doing what is right and avoiding what is wrong. The believer who so delights in pleasing the Lord has a spirit resting upon him which automatically draws him to the light. “For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved. But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God” (John 3:20-21).
A holy person is not afraid of the light of God’s presence. Rather, he invites that glaring light, because a spirit of holiness within him cries out, “I want all hidden things to be brought out! I want to be as much like Jesus as is possible for a human being on this earth.” This servant runs to the light and when he surrenders, the light of Christ’s presence becomes pure glory to him.
Listen to the language of the Spirit of holiness, to the motivation of that spirit: “We keep his commandment, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight” (1 John 3:22). In the Greek translation, these words are very strong: “We keep His commandments, taking them up with great excitement because we know it pleases Him!”
Here is how I believe this spirit of holiness operates in a church where the presence of Jesus is manifested. First of all, brothers and sisters come to your church in victory with the smile of an overcomer. They testify, “I’m being changed! The Lord is putting a desire in my heart to obey and walk blameless in His presence.” As you witness this, your spirit rejoices, saying within, “Thank God, another servant is bringing Him pleasure! My brother and my sister are making heaven rejoice!” Your excitement extends beyond the freedom we presently enjoy, beyond our rescue from the devil’s power. Because more than all else, we are becoming a body that is learning how to please Him. We obey not out of duty or out of slavish fear, but because inside us lives a spirit of obedience. We delight in Christ’s joy, rejoicing that His heart rejoices! This is holiness.