Grace-Based Holiness

by Creflo Dollar | 25 Jun 2017


We hear much said about holiness, yet many of us may not understand what it really means to be holy. Holiness does not come from our own actions, but it is a result of getting born again and being in Christ. Because He is everything good and pleasing to God in human form, when we are in Jesus and He is in us, we become what He is. On our own we will not be able to see the fruit of wisdom, righteousness, and sanctification; we only see it when we are grafted into the root. Jesus is that root. Religion tells us sanctification is a process but it actually happens immediately when we get born again, even if we do not see the evidence right away. When our spiritual eyes are opened in this area, we see that true holiness is based in grace.

  1. We are made holy by Christ living in us. Our holiness is not based on our actions.
    1. But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption (1 Corinthians 1:30).
      1. Jesus has been made these things. When we are in Christ, we are made partakers of what He is.
      2. Sanctification and holiness both derive from the Greek word “hagiasmos.” Translated, this word means to set apart or separate. Holiness is a fruit of grace.
      3. When we are in Christ, even when our behavior is less than stellar we are still the righteousness of God. This does not change, even when we face the consequences of what we do.
      4. Under grace we grow in holiness in the way we live. Practical holiness is impossible if we do not understand that we are righteous in Christ.
      5. Holiness is not based in how we conduct ourselves. Holiness is a person, and His name is Jesus.
    2. He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things? (Romans 8:32).
      1. We freely receive all things only through Christ. We cannot take Him out of the equation.
    3. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel (1 Peter 3:3).
      1. Taking this Scripture out of context is misleading. It does not refer to dress codes, hairstyles, jewelry, or makeup, but to the inward adornment. Outward appearances do not matter to God.
  2. When we are in Christ, God sets us apart as His chosen people. We are different.
    1. Give unto the Lord the glory due unto his name: bring an offering, and come before him: worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness (1 Chronicles 16:29).
      1. Holiness means complete and whole.
      2. Religion tells us sin is the opposite of holiness, but the opposite of holiness is actually commonality with everyone else. To be common is to be the same in the church as people outside the church. When God tells us to be holy, He is telling us to stand out from the crowd and be separated from the world.
    2. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light (1 Peter 2:9).
      1. When we consider that to be holy is to be set aside as God’s own people, this describes true holiness. Peculiar people will not allow themselves to be common.
    3. Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world (1 John 4:17).
      1. Holiness is simply being as Christ is. It is based on our position in Him, not on our behavior.
  3. We undergo a supernatural transformation from the inside by the Holy Spirit.
    1. But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord (2 Corinthians 3:18).
      1. Holiness does not come by looking at ourselves, but by looking at Jesus. This is a guarantee by the Holy Spirit.
    2. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth (John 17:16, 17).
      1. We behold Jesus by beholding the Word. We look for and see Him through God’s Word, and the Holy Spirit transforms us.
      2. When Jesus was transfigured on the mountain (Matthew 17:1-5; Luke 9:28-35), God was trying to communicate the message to focus on Jesus. We can get distracted when we have so many other things on which to focus.
    3. And after six days Jesus taketh with him Peter, and James, and John, and leadeth them up into an high mountain apart by themselves: and he was transfigured before them. And his raiment became shining, exceeding white as snow; so as no fuller on earth can white them. And there appeared unto them Elias with Moses: and they were talking with Jesus. And Peter answered and said to Jesus, Master, it is good for us to be here: and let us make three tabernacles; one for thee, and one for Moses, and one for Elias. For he wist not what to say; for they were sore afraid. And there was a cloud that overshadowed them: and a voice came out of the cloud, saying, This is my beloved Son: hear him. And suddenly, when they had looked round about, they saw no man any more, save Jesus only with themselves (Mark 9:2-8).
      1. There was a specific reason why Jesus deliberately chose Peter, James, and John to accompany Him to the mountain top.
      2. Translated, John’s name means grace. The translation of James' name is to supplant, or replace, and the translation of Peter’s name is stone. The law was written in stone.
      3. Moses represented the law, Elijah represented the prophets, and Jesus represented grace and truth. Suddenly the law and the prophets disappeared, and nothing was left to look at except grace and truth. The message God was trying to give was that grace replaced the stone.
  4. We become holy by looking upon Jesus. It is not a result of anything we do.
    1. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled (Hebrews 12:14, 15).
      1. If we fall from grace, we will not be able to pursue peace or holiness, which is all about seeing God. Falling from grace means to fall back into self-effort.
      2. Religion tells us we have to be holy enough if we want to see God, but this inspires fear. The glory of the law frightens people, but the glory of grace attracts people.
    2. And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died. Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live (Numbers 21:5-8).
      1. God delivers us by getting us to take our eyes off ourselves and look on Him. The fiery serpent represented Jesus on the cross when He absorbed the world’s sins.
  5. The disciples were changed in Jesus’ presence. By faith, we will also be changed.
    1. And straightway Jesus constrained his disciples to get into a ship, and to go before him unto the other side, while he sent the multitudes away. And when he had sent the multitudes away, he went up into a mountain apart to pray: and when the evening was come, he was there alone. But the ship was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves: for the wind was contrary. And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea. And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear. But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid. And Peter answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water. And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on water, to go to Jesus. But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me (Matthew 14:22-30).
      1. A natural person cannot walk on water. Peter took his eyes off himself and refocused them on Jesus. Beholding Jesus transformed Pater into a supernatural man; he only sank when he stopped looking at Jesus.
    2. O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee (2 Chronicles 20:12).
      1. Supernatural things begin to happen when we look at Jesus. In situations where we do not know what to do, beholding Him gives us the ability to defeat the enemy.
      2. God, not ourselves, keeps us from falling and presents us faultless before God (Jude 1:24).
    3. Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were unlearned and ignorant men, they marvelled; and they took knowledge of them, that they had been with Jesus (Acts 4:13).
      1. Our most powerful weapon is the presence of God. We must live in it, even when we do not understand everything. We find everything we need in His presence.
      2. Thou wilt shew me the path of life: in thy presence is fulness of joy; at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore (Psalm 16:11).
      3. One moment in God’s presence is more than one hundred years of us performing, trying to get something to happen.
      4. We must immediately go into His presence when the enemy attacks. He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust (Psalm 91:1, 2).
      5. A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee (Psalm 91:7).


1 Corinthians 1:30 Mark 9:2-8
Romans 8:32 Hebrews 12:14, 15
1 Peter 3:3 Numbers 21:5-8
1 Chronicles 16:29 1 Peter 2:9
1 John 4:17 2 Corinthians 3:18
John 17:16, 17 Matthew 17:1-5
Luke 9:28-35 Matthew 14:22-30
2 Chronicles 20:12 Jude 1:24
Acts 4:13 Psalm 16:11
Psalm 91:1, 2, 7