In reference to assurance, Hebrews 12:14 speaks of actively pursuing holiness. Would you say that this pursuit of holiness is based on one’s position in Christ’s holiness and if so, one who is not in pursuit of holiness has never encountered the living Christ for salvation? Is this pursuit of holiness an evidence of salvation? Thank you.
Thank you for your question. Practical holiness must come out of real holiness. The issue comes down to whether or not this practical holiness is automatic.
We often think in terms of the two categories of positional truth and practical truth. But there is also a third category of provisional truth. Positionally, one is placed into Christ at salvation. That does not change. We could call this positional holiness. Provisionally, God’s nature is implanted into the believer (Eph. 4:24; 1 John 3:9). This nature is holy and righteous since it is the divine nature. This is where the Holy Spirit then indwells to lead and empower. We could call this provisional holiness. The two aspects of position and provision are provided at salvation.
The category of practical truth is potentially true, based on the believer’s position and provision, but only becomes practically true as faith is exercised and accesses the position and provision. Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord.” The very fact that believers are admonished to pursue holiness reveals the truth that practical holiness is not automatic. It’s by faith. However, when one accesses their position and provision into practical experience, it evidences their salvation in the sense that it really evidences that they are walking in the Spirit, and therefore, are saved. While lack of evidence could mean someone does not have positional and provisional holiness, it could also mean they are not making practical, by faith, what they have in Christ.
In summary, practical holiness is based on positional holiness and provisional holiness. To make this practical the Spirit who indwells the regenerated spirit/divine nature certainly leads believers to walk by faith and experience practical holiness. However, the Spirit can be resisted and grieved. Also, some are not discipled in the Word which is the foundation for faith. So “visible holiness” is not automatic. But as one learns and grows by taking steps of faith, their salvation becomes more apparent.