No human being is capable of being truly holy, that is pleasing to God, on his or her own power.
If this does not seem obvious from our own experience, then we either have a low opinion of God’s holiness, or a very selective memory.
Our lives are littered with sins gross and petty. We regularly spout falsehoods, from careless exaggerations to the little white lies that we excuse as kindnesses. We engage in all sorts of hatred, from our anger at the guy who cuts us off in traffic to our rage at elected officials and thoughtless bosses. We live mired in covetousness, feeling entitled to everything from respect and praise to the rewards and honors we see others get but think should have come to us.
Of course, we could examine our adulteries (lusts), idolatries (false priorities), and other sins, but this is already leaving us (OK, me) wishing for a worse memory rather than a better one.
Christ has died for all those sins, and we have God’s forgiveness for them in Him.
…for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, (Romans 3:23-24, ESV)
But, how do we grow to live less and less in that pattern of sin from which we were saved? Can the evil in us be made holy?
Christ had the answer, when He said,
“If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:13)
Notice, Jesus started that declaration by stating that His listeners (His disciples) were evil! Jesus was not one to mince words. We are evil. We must start by recognizing that as our situation.
Jesus then states that the heavenly Father will give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him.
Why is that a solution for evil?
Simply put: He is called the Holy Spirit because He is Holy. If we seek Him, and ask the Father to grant His presence and control in our lives more and more, we will be made holy.
We do not possess that holiness in ourselves, apart from Him. We cannot fully yield to His holiness in us apart from His continual work in us.
But, as we have the desire to ask the Father to grant the Holy Spirit greater sway and control in our lives, even those of us who, in Jesus’s words “are evil” will see that the heavenly Father will give Him to us.
WE are evil, but God graciously gives us the Holy Spirit to transform us into the holy creatures He sees when He looks upon those for whom Christ died.