Election to Holiness

P1010057Just a short excerpt from Webster’s Holiness… In writing about the holiness of the Christian, Webster reminds us that our holiness is a work of God, not our work: ‘the Christian’s holiness does not stem from the Christian’s decision.’ He continues (p80):

However, there is an important complementary truth here: election is election to a way of life. The condition of ‘being elect’ is not simply a state but a history; election to holiness is not merely segregation. Rather, election is determination, appointment to be and to act in a certain way. The movement of segregation is, certainly, indispensable, for consecration means difference. But segregation cannot be made absolute; what is established by God’s election of grace is not a state, but the consecration of the sinner for active service of God:

“[P]ractice is the aim of that eternal election which is the first ground of the bestowment of all true grace. Good practice is not the ground of election . . . But Christian practice is the scope and end of election. Though God does not elect men because he foresees that they will live holy, yet he elects them that they may live holy.” (quoting Jonathan Edwards).

Sometimes our presentation of the gospel de-emphasises our obedience to the gospel and leaves the impression that we are sinners like everyone else. We seem to think that grace is magnified if we leave out that the goal of election is not sinners, saved despite themselves, but holy saints, saved despite themselves, but transformed by God’s Spirit to and towards living righteous lives .

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