Scripture is clear that we were made holy through the sacrifice of Jesus. Hebrews 10:10 says, “And by that will, we have been made holy through the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.” Once and for all is now and forever with no conditional criteria. While that is great news, for some reason every time we fail we sink under the weight of guilt. If we are really saved and made holy once and for all, why do we feel this way?
We feel like this because we are wired to please. I love to impress my co-workers, my family, my kids, strangers, whoever, with a skill or knowledge or wit. It’s just in me, and we do the same thing with God. Prior to Jesus, we had to earn our righteousness, our right-standing, with God. How can we stand out when everyone is aiming for the same goal? You sacrifice more, you work more, you do more. You set yourself apart. This was all bridged for us through Jesus though. It is true that we no longer have to do this because of the cross. We are once and for all made holy and saved. We are, but we often stray from that and as a result, we feel far from saved and made holy.
Our guilt is a revert back to earning because we feel we have abused our freely given right-standing. That guilt is of a pure heart that God has made new in us. Under guilt, we have to earn it back ourselves as we feel we have cut ourselves off. We are wired to please and we are also wired to judge and we apply that judgment harshly to ourselves. It is a shock to our system to think we are loved regardless of our contribution. It is a shock to think that right-standing doesn’t go away. We aren’t cut off, but we are capable of more in our lives and more for God when we operate in that freedom. But how do we do that? If we are once and for all saved and made holy, how can we maintain this?
It is through sanctification. 2 Timothy 2:22 says, “Flee also youthful lust: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” It is through intention and what we seek that we operate in that life we were given access to. We were given access to being made holy and saved, and that access will not be stripped, but it is our responsibility to stay in it if we want the rewards of a holy life.
For us, a holy life is one of continual cleansing, continual learning, and continual growing. It is one of mercy, forgiveness, and love. It is not a life of perfection.
Romans 10:13 says, “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” This cannot be a one and done thing though. Our access is forever but our connection to God is based on our input. As we live, we must make this call a daily thing. We were given access to a choice through Jesus. We must realize we had no options prior to Calvary. We had only our level of contribution. Our freely given choices are this: We can call on the name of anger every day, of spite, of lack, of pain and vengeance..Or we can call on the name of righteousness, of faith, of free giving (charity) of peace, and of love. This is what it means to call on the name of the Lord.
So the better question is this: “Do we have access to being once and for all made holy and saved?” Yes, we have access, and it is your responsibility to explore it and to seek it. You are loved.