I was recently asked about the “holiness movement” and whether I “believe that while you’re set free from the bondage and dominion of sin, do you now claim to walk perfectly uprightly, or, are you still grappling with your sin nature (flesh patterns) in a fallen world?”
Here is my answer that might be helpful to you as well:
“Hi ______, thanks for the message and taking the time to understand my position. I fully reject the “holiness” movement, or what I understand as Nazarene or holiness pentecostalism. I reject sinless perfectionism taught by Pelagians, and also the “second blessing” or “entire sanctification” commonly taught in Weslyan Arminian traditions. [added – or “baptism in the Holy Spirit” apart from initial salvation, sometimes known as a “second work of grace”]
“I believe Scripture says that the Christian has been set free from the bondage of sin (John 8:31-36; Romans 6:15-23). He is a new creation in Christ (2 Cor. 5:17) and is no longer an unrighteous sinner (1 Cor. 6:9-10) but has been washed, sanctified, and justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit (1 Cor. 6:11). I believe that once God has justified and positionally sanctified the sinner, who is now a saint, he or she will live out the implications of a heart changed by the Gospel (Eph. 2:8-10).
“As a regenerate (born again) child of God (John 3:3-5; Titus 3:4-8), the saint will will “work out his salvation with fear and trembling” (Phil. 2:12-13; Titus 2:11-14)), purify himself as He is pure (1 John 3:3), and no longer live in a habitual lifestyle of sin because the fruit of the Spirit is manifest in him, he has been born of God, and God’s seed remains in him. (Galatians 5:19-26; 1 John 3:1-9) He will progressively and surely put of the old man and put on the new man (Colossians 3; Ephesians 4:17-24).
“This means the believer progresses in a life of sanctification, battling sin for the duration, though becoming holy as God is holy, because Jesus will finish the work He started, until the believer’s final glorification, all for the glory of God alone (Romans 12:1-2; Romans 6-8; 1 Peter 1:13-16; Phil. 1:6; Rom. 8:28-30; Eph. 1:1-14).
“Christians do sin, though not as a habitual lifestyle, and when we do sin and confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us and cleanse us, and Christ advocates before the Father on our behalf as our Mediator and High Priest (1 John 1:8-2:2).
“I like what Steven Lawson says in that the Christian walk is not one of sinless perfection, but of sinless direction.”