Holiness is the substance of which happiness is the product. If we chase happiness by pursuing self-gratification we miss it. However, if we pursue holiness through the grace of Christ, happiness of spirit comes unasked. This is joy and it is our strength to continue in the journey, cleaving fast unto Christ and unto those promises which God hath made us for his sake which is our wisdom.
1 Finally then, brethren, we request and exhort you in the Lord Jesus, that as you received from us instruction as to how you ought to walk and please God (just as you actually do walk), that you excel still more. 2 For you know what commandments we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus. 3 For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; 4 that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, 5 not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God; 6 and that no man transgress and defraud his brother in the matter because the Lord is the avenger in all these things, just as we also told you before and solemnly warned you. 7 For God has not called us for the purpose of impurity, but in sanctification. 8 So, he who rejects this is not rejecting man but the God who gives His Holy Spirit to you. 1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 (NASB)
Holiness is commanded by God. He wills it. Our Lord Jesus Christ requires it and the Word of God calls for it. The goal of our redemption is that we become Holy as God is Holy. Our Lord died on the cross in order that all of His people would be justified. This justification is God’s declaration that we are righteous having Christ’s righteousness imputed to our account. This had to come first in order that we may be sanctified and made Holy.
“To be a saint means to be separated. But it means more than that. The saint also is to be involved in a vital process of sanctification. We are to be purified daily in the growing pursuit of holiness. If we are justified, we must also be sanctified.
Luther used a wonderful Latin phrase to describe the status of the justified sinner: simul justus et peccator. Let’s look at the phrase a word at a time to discern its meaning for us. Simul is the Latin word from which our English word simultaneous is derived; it means “at one and the same time.” Justus is the Latin from which our word just comes, and et is the Latin word for “and.” The word peccator is probably least familiar to us. We derive the English words impeccable and peccadillo from it. It is the Latin word for “sinner.” Putting the words together, we get simul justus et peccator: “at the same time just and sinner.” That is what saints are, people who are at one and the same time just, yet sinful.
That saints are still sinners is obvious. How then can they be just? Saints are just because they have been justified. In and of themselves they are not just. they are made just in God’s sight by the righteousness of Christ. This is what justification by faith is about.