Called to be Holy
It is the Salvationists’ clear understanding that we are God’s people and that we are called to live holy lives. The Call to Holiness is the 10th call of the International Spiritual Life Commission’s 12 Calls for Salvationists, and it declares that
We call Salvationists worldwide to restate and live out the doctrine of holiness in all its dimensions – personal, relational, social, and political—in the context of our cultures and in the idioms of our day while allowing for, and indeed prizing, such diversity of experience and expression as is in accord with the Scriptures.
—Commissioner Robert Street, Called to Be God’s People
Salvationists firmly believe that holiness is an essential aspect of God’s nature. “There was no holiness apart from God. People or things only became holy when they participated in the life of God,” writes Commissioner Street.
Salvationists agree that holiness is God’s desire and command to His people. “For this Christ died, for this Christ rose again, for this the Spirit was given. We therefore determine to claim as God’s gracious gift that holiness which is ours in Christ,” writes Street.
As a key biblical definition, Salvationists understand that “holiness is Christ–likeness.” The essential way of being Christ–like is to live out His great commandment to all God’s children: to love God with all one’s heart and one’s neighbor as oneself (Matt. 22:37–40). This affirmation leads us to confess, “at times we have failed to realize the practical consequences of the call to holiness within our relationships, within our communities and within our Movement.” This earnest confession reaffirms a crucial lesson for the church that a system, program, or regulation does not make us be holy! It requires an intentional resolve “to make every effort to embrace holiness of life, knowing that this is only possible by means of the power of the Holy Spirit producing his fruit in us,” writes Street.
Following God’s call to holiness, Salvationists boldly declare our 10th doctrine, which speaks to “the very heart of Salvationism,” Street writes. “We believe that it is the privilege of all believers to be ‘wholly sanctified,’ and that their ‘whole spirit and soul and body’ may ‘be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ’” (1 Thessalonians 5:23. KJV). May God help us to possess an unalloyed passion for holy living and to live it out in His grace!
—Major Kim is the Territorial Ambassador for Holiness