You Can Be Holy

Romans 6:1-11
December 30, 2018
Abraham Hong

 

A brand new year is right around the corner. And during this time of year, many believers in Christ look forward to being better Christians. We might say to ourselves, “I want to read my bible more in this new year.” “I am committed next year to being a better husband or wife, a better student or worker, a better son or daugther, a better church member or friend.” “I wish I can overcome this sin issue in this new year.” “I hope to love God more with all my heart, soul, strength and mind.”

These are all wonderful things to say. It is truly encouraging to see brothers and sisters in Christ who really want to grow in holiness and in good works for the Lord.

But many believers in Christ struggle with the idea of being better Christians. Some might think that holiness and good works is not possible. Others might think that they will never be able to change their ways. Some might feel hopeless about dealing with a particular sin issue in their lives. Others might feel cynical because they tried everything to and nothing really worked for them. And still others might tired or burnt out with regard to sanctification. This is a real struggle for many. And at the end of the day, many of us say to ourselves, “I can’t be holy.” “I can’t be like Jesus.” “I can’t be like other brothers and sisters and Christ who I look up to.” “I can’t be holy.”

If you think or feel that you cannot be holy as you ought to be, if you think or feel that you cannot do good works as you ought to do, then I have some very good news for you. You can be holy.

You can read your bible more. You can be a better husband or wife, a better student or worker, a better son or daugther, a better church member or friend. You can overcome sin issues in your life. You can love God with all your heart, soul, strength and mind. You can be holy.

And the reason why you can be holy is because you are united with Jesus Christ.

Imagine a roll of kimbap. Kimbap is a classic Korean dish where you take a bunch of meat and veggies and roll them all up in a sheet of dried seaweed and serve it in bite-sized slices. So you start with the sheet of seaweed. And then you add a thin layer of rice on it. And then you add a row of meat, you add strands of spinach and thin slices of cooked egg and carrot and cucumber and imitation crab meat. There’s usually a chunky and crunchy strand of yellow picked radish. You can put various other ingredients in there if you want. And then you roll it all up and chop it into bite-sized pieces.

So here’s an easy question: would each piece of a roll of kimbap taste the same? If made properly, the answer is, of course, yes! You can be confident that each piece will taste the same. Because each piece comes from the same roll.

And this is what our union with Christ looks like. We belong to the kimbap roll of Christ. We are one with him. He is the first piece to go. And you are the next piece to go.

So here’s an easy question: would you turn out like Jesus did? The answer is, of course, yes! You can be confident that you can be holy and do good works. Because you are united with Christ.

Jesus died. And Jesus rose again from the dead. This is like the meat of God’s delicious salvation. Since you are united with Christ, you also died to your sin. Since you are of the same kimbap roll as Christ, you also have resurrection life.

Jesus was loving and joyful and patient and kind and gentle and full of self-control. Jesus was there for the sick and the poor. Jesus never lied and never committed adultery. Jesus wept. All of this is like the vegetables of God’s delicious salvation. Since you are united with Christ, you also can be loving and joyful and patient and kind and gentle and full of self-control. Since you are of the same kimbap roll as Christ, you also can be there for the sick and the poor. You too can be truthful in your words and pure in your heart. You too can weep with deep compassion and love. Brothers and sisters, you can be holy.

Praise the Lord! Listen carefully again to God’s word here. You died to sin. You who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death. You were buried therefore with him, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, you too might walk in newness of life. Your old self was crucified with Jesus in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that you would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. Consider yourself dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Praise the Lord! Brothers and sisters, you can be holy!

Let us therefore be encouraged as we look forward to 2019 and as we look forward to the return of the Lord. You can stop that bad sinful habit of yours. You can lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and run with endurance the race that is set before you. You can say no to certain things as you take off the old.

And you can say yes to many things as you put on the new. You can read your Bible more. You can be a better husband or wife, a better student or worker, a better son or daugther, a better church member or friend. You can love God more with all my heart, soul, strength and mind. You can grow in holiness. You can increase in good works.

I am very excited and I look forward to seeing the inevitable result of God’s glorious salvation: holiness and good works in your life. Dear church, let us together be excited as we see God’s gracious sanctification unfold right before our eyes as we stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near.

God’s will cannot be stopped. Our holiness is his workmanship. Our good works is his prepared destiny. We who are the Bride of Christ are going to be that perfect and awesome city in the end of the book of Revelation, a city of infinite magnificience and immeasurable worth, the glorious New Jerusalem. Our dark past has been swallowed up by our bright future. Now everything is different. The immeasurable greatness of God’s power is toward us who believe. We the saints are God’s glorious inheritance. God has called us to a great hope.

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him!

End