Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — You Are Holy

Monday, 26th April 2021
Image: lets-read-the-hole-in-our-holiness-you-are-holy

You Are Holy

I want you to imagine a classroom full of school children. Surprisingly, they have all arrived on time and can be found sitting in their seats patiently awaiting the arrival of the teacher.

Fifteen minutes after the class should have started the teacher saunters into the classroom. He is wearing a shirt, tie and jacket—but the shirt is untucked, the tie is crooked and his top button is undone. To top it off he is wearing trainers instead of dress shoes. Rather than standing at the front of the classroom he takes a seat with the school children. Rocking his chair back on two legs, he throws his feet up onto the table. All the while munching on a chocolate bar and sipping on a fizzy drink.

In stunned silence the children stare wide-eyed at this “teacher” as he asks (with his mouth full), “What should we do today then?”

If you were a studious student, an interested parent or indeed the principal of the school, what would you want to say to this man? Surely, it would be something along the lines of: “You are supposed to be a teacher—tidy yourself up, stand at the front of the classroom and act like a teacher!” In other words, we would want to tell him to be who he is—if you are a teacher, act like it.

As we continue our reflections on The Hole in our Holiness the same words should be echoing in our ears: be who you are.

You are Holy

Naturally, the question that follows is “who are we?” For Christians the answer to that question is: holy. We are holy.

Hebrews 10 is the climax and culmination of the author’s argument that Jesus is the superior priest. From chapter 5 onwards the author of the book of Hebrews has been forcing home the reality that Jesus’s priesthood is superior to the Levitical priesthood, and even the strange priest-king Melchizedek. Ultimately this is accomplished in Jesus Christ’s sacrifice:

And by that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all. . . For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified. (Heb. 10:10, 14)

The argument being made throughout Hebrews 10 is that Jesus’s priesthood is shown to be superior because he offered a single sacrifice, which is effective for all time (vv. 11–12). That once-for-all-time sacrifice is of course Jesus Christ himself—the perfectly righteous one enduring the consequence of sin—death. In verses 10 and 14 we see the outcome of this sacrifice.

The author to the Hebrews tells his readers that through this sacrifice we have been sanctified (v. 10) and perfected (v. 14). What we see here is that because of an act in the past (Jesus’s sacrifice), Christians in the present enjoy a standing of perfection which guarantees a future glorification. This is what is called definitive or positional sanctification. The Bible sometimes talks about being made holy or being sanctified (Heb. 10:14) and this is known as progressive sanctification—something that grows and develops as we mature. But there is also a definitive or a positional sanctification which is a statement of our cleansing in light of Jesus’s saving us. In other words, we are pure and spotless in God’s sight. We are holy. 

Union with Christ

DeYoung connects all of this to the doctrine of Union with Christ. He writes:

Union with Christ is not a single specific blessing we receive in our salvation. Rather it is the best phrase to describe all the blessings of salvation, whether in eternity past (election), in history (redemption), in the present (effectual calling, justification, and sanctification), or in the future (glorification). (pg. 94)

Union with Christ is what happens when we are saved, we are united to Jesus. All of the blessings that flow from this are then conveyed in the NT through phrases like “in Christ”, “in him”, and “in Jesus”. In this salvation, in Jesus Christ, asserts the author to the Hebrews, we have been sanctified/perfected. We are holy. Therefore, argues DeYoung, “Christlikeness is possible, but not by merely working with Jesus or simply imitating his example. Only by knowing our position in Jesus can we begin to live like Jesus” (pg. 93–94).

By considering our union with Christ, the fact that we are united to him, we can think differently about the call to personal holiness. Instead of fighting to be something we are not, we are striving to be who we really are—“Don’t think of Christianity as having to do what a peevish God wants. Think of it as being able to do what God demands. Through union with Christ we are empowered for holiness” (pg. 112).

We return to the words I want echoing in our ears: be who you are. In Christ you are holy, so act like it. DeYoung suggests, “In effect God says to us, ‘. . . Your position right now, objectively and factually, is as a holy, beloved child of God, dead to sin, alive to righteousness, and seated in my holy heaven—now live like it’” (pg. 105).

This is the hope we, as Christians, enjoy when it comes to the fight for personal holiness. We are already holy. And so DeYoung can write, quite forcefully:

No matter how entrenched the patterns of sin, I tell you on the authority of God’s word: your situation is not hopeless. With the gospel there is hope of cleansing. With the spirit there is hope of power. With Christ there is hope of a transformation. With the Word of God there is hope of holiness. (pg. 122)

How can he be so certain? Read Hebrews 10.


“As a believer, you belong to Christ. More than that, you are joined to Christ. By faith, through the Holy Spirit, we have union with him. Christ lives in you and you live in him. You are one with Christ, so live like Christ. Be who you are.” (pg. 100–101)


1) Examine who you are in Christ according to Romans 6:11; 1 Corinthians 1:2; Ephesians 2:6; Philippians 3:9.

2) Is there a difference between aiming at something you are not and becoming something you are?

3) Why might understanding who we are in Christ help us to strive for personal holiness?

    Blog Archive

Let’s Read: Spurgeon the Pastor: Recovering a Biblical and Theological Vision for Ministry Let's Talk: Surviving Ministry Staff & Students Favourite Books of 2022 Let's Read: Spurgeon the Pastor: The Church Gathered BYE Teams Hugh D. Brown Lectures How I spent my sabbatical Let’s Read Spurgeon the Pastor: The Church Identified 1st Year Reflections from Andrew and Debbie Second Year Placement (Josh and Glenn) Final Year Reflection: Chris Banks Let’s Read Spurgeon the Pastor: The Church Functioning New Library Books (April 2023) Easter Reflection 2023 Irish Baptist Historical Society Lecture Report on the Life of Hugh Orr Let's Read: Spurgeon the Pastor: The Church Multiplying Friends of the College May 2023 Let's Read: Reflections on Spurgeon the Pastor by Geoff Chang Student Reflections on Graduation 2023 Where will our students will be serving this summer? Pray Without Ceasing: A Week of Summer Prayer 2023 Reflections on returning to Peru Recognition Service Report 2023 Commencement Service Report 2023 Cross Cultural Report in Ireland Cross Cultural Reports 2023 2 Short Book Reviews Let's Read: Keeping Your Children's Ministry On Mission: Practical Strategies For Discipling The Next Generation by Jared Kennedy Let's Read: When Children Become Brothers And Sisters What's in a name? Evangelism Teams 2023: Coleraine and Keady Evangelism Teams 2023: Castlederg and Tobermore Let's Read: Welcoming and Safeguarding Book Review: Weakness Our Strength A Strange Man from Another World
Let’s Read: The Path to Being a Pastor: A Guide for the Aspiring Graduate Updates Tribute How to Avoid Becoming a Graceless Theological Thug Let's Read: The Path to Being a Pastor Hugh D. Brown Lectures—Understanding and Applying Zephaniah Book Review: Children of Abraham: A Reformed Baptist View of the Covenants by David Kingdon Graduate Updates: Laetitia Let's Read: The Path to Being a Pastor (chapters 5-12) New Books in the Library Friends of the College—March 2022 Graduate Updates: Andrew Let's Read: The Path To Being A Pastor (chapters 13-23) Deacons The Risen Christ Changes Everything Why Four Gospels? Let's Read: The Path to Being a Pastor (Chapters 24–27) The College Graduation MA Missions Module Reflection Student Reflections (first and second year) Book Review: The Crucible of Leadership Let’s Read: Why Should We Love the Local Church? (Introduction) Let’s Read: Why Should We Love the Local Church? (Introduction) Friends of the College: September 2022 Let’s Read: Why Should We Love the Local Church—You’re Beautiful Commencement Report Cross Cultural Placements 1 Cross Cultural Placements 2 Cross Cultural Placements 3 Let’s Read: Why Should We Love the Local Church—Beauty Demonstrated 1st Year Reflection (Ana Rut) Evangelism Teams 2022 (Armagh and Cavan) Evangelism Team 2022 (Ballycrochan & Comber) Let's Read: Living Beautifully Let's Read: Why Should We Love The Local Church “Always winter and never Christmas” Three Kings
Let’s Read Irish Baptist College Conference (Online) From Intern to Undergraduate (Emily Middleton) Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — The Reason for Redemption Baptists and Revival in the Long 18th Century Second Year Placements From Intern to Undergraduate (Josh Brown) Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — The What and Why of Holiness Final Year During A Pandemic 2nd Year Placement Experience Friends of the College 2021 Update The Art of Reading More Books Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — The Real Possibility of Holiness A Basic Easter Fact The Servant King Podcast Let's Read: The Hole in our Holiness — You Are Holy Third Year Reflection Gospel Guardians: Protecting the Purity of the Gospel for Future Generations Graduation 2021 Book Review: Succeeding at Seminary Let's Read: The Hole in Our Holiness — A Work in Progress Why the Irish Baptist College is Vital to the Health of the Association A Good News Story: The Ministry Partnership Scheme Why Study the Biblical Languages? Profit in Toil: A Short Message on A Level Results Day Let's Read: Small Preaching Recognition Service Report 2021 Sin Forgiven: Nourishment for Life and Joy for Living Let’s Read: Small Preaching—The Character of the Preacher Commencement Service Report Placement God Rejoices over His People: A Meditation on Zephaniah 3:17 Let’s Read: Small Preaching—Constructing the Sermon Evangelism Teams: Newcastle and Brannockstown Evangelism Teams: Stonepark and North Belfast Christian Fellowship First Year Reflections (Reuben and Andrew) Some New Books Let’s Read: Small Preaching—The Craft of Preaching Let's Read: Small Preaching—What is God Saying? A Christmas Reflection on John 1 - ‘The coming of the light’ Christmas Reflection on John 1 - ‘Life, Light & Glory’
Time to read Genesis...again Friends of the College - January 2020 Friends of the College - January 2020 Finances Tribute to Marion Craig The Resilient Pastor: Surviving & Thriving in Ministry Just a Blow-in? What is new on the shelves at IBC? Friends of the College - February 2020 Four Reasons to Study Theology Academically From Spain to Moira Testimonial Financial Update Friends of the College – March 2020 Irish Baptist Historical Society: The Mayflower Thomas Patient: the Father of the Irish Baptist Church Testimonials The Pastors’ Conference: An Encouraging Privilege Testimonials (part-time studies) In the worst of times: COVID-19 and the Book of Ruth Friends of the College - April 2020 The Long Wait: Victory Delayed Testimonials - Preparation for Ministry and Evening Classes The Leadership Podcast Testimonials - Ladies Study Fellowship The Leadership Podcast (part 2) Friends of the College - May 2020 Reflections from the Student Chairman Why do we teach the Old Testament? Reflections on first year at IBC Friends of the College - June 2020 Why do we teach Romans? IBC Placement Is Church History a Thing of the Past? Friends of the College - July 2020 Friends of the College – August 2020 Friends of the College September 2020 Recognition and Graduation Service Introducing the Irish Baptist College’s New Logo Commencement Service Friends of the College - October 2020 Filled with the Spirit: Soundings in Luke’s Theology of the Holy Spirit The Famous Five: The Abiding Relevance of the Solas of the Reformation Friends of the College - November 2020 The Importance of Theological Training in Fulfilling the Great Commission First Year Reflections — Tim Houston Singing: The Place of Theology in Corporate Worship New Library Books Friends of the College – Unite to Pray – December Christmas Reflections
Agree and Close notice.

By continuing on our website you agree with our Privacy Policy and to the use of cookies by third party plugins. Find out more here