Holiness Brings Deliverance from Sin

by | Jun 1, 2008

When we speak of holiness as a deliverance from sin, we do not mean that one is delivered from the practice of sin or the committing of acts of sin when he is entirely sanctified. That is done for one at the time of regeneration. We mean that the soul is delivered from the disposition of sin within the heart. This deliverance is represented in the Scripture as follows:

A. The necessity for cleansing arises from the fact that carnality still remains in the heart of a person who has been born again. “And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ” (I Cor. 3:1).

B. The cleansing or deliverance from sin is described in various ways.

1. It is a cleansing, purifying, or purging. “And put no difference between us and them, purifying their heart by faith” (Acts 15:9). “But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin” (I John 1:7).

2. The condition produced by this purifying is described as purity, cleanness, etc. “Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me: (Ps. 51:10). “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matt. 5:8).

3. The deliverance is also called sanctification and its result is to make us holy or clean. “That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, that he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish” (Eph. 5:26, 27). “In the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight” (Col. 1:22).

4. The deliverance is sometimes described as a crucifixion or as death to sin. “Know ye not, that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death? …Know this, that our old man is crucified with him, that the body of sin might be destroyed, that henceforth we should not serve sin…. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom, 6:3, 6, 11).

5. This experience is described as a rest. Illustrations of this rest are to be found in the Sabbath and in the entrance of the Israelites into Canaan: “There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God. For he that is entered into his rest, he also hath ceased from his works, as God did from his. Let us labour therefore to enter into rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief.” (Heb. 4: 9–11).

6. The result of this experience is freedom from sin. “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:2).

When the word sanctify is related to man as its object, and God is said to do the sanctifying, then the word means the cleansing from sin and the bringing to a state of moral purity. “And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

Dr. Leslie Wilcox (1907–1991) was a well-known scholar and writer who served with distinction for many years at God’s Bible School & College. This article is abridged from Be Ye Holy.