Recently, there’s been an influx of books catering to Christian women that encourage us to embrace our sin and trust that God’s grace is bigger. This runs counter to what we are commanded in Scripture! (See Romans 6:1–2; 1 Peter 1:16.) I knew that the perfect person to address these lies was Erin Benziger. Erin has spoken at two previous Answers for Women conferences and is podcast host and writer on Equipping Eve. Erin shared some thoughts on her presentation for this year’s conference:
“It’s too hard to be a Christian.”
It is true that Christians are called to holiness. This call can be a daunting one in light of Scriptures such as 1 Peter 1:15–16, which says, “[A]s he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy.’” How can we possibly be holy as God is holy? After all, we know that “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and, “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us” (1 John 1:8). Yet, we also know that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9). How are Christians to reconcile these two realities?
To answer these questions, we need to turn to Scripture, which “speaks of both a holiness which we have in Christ before God, and a holiness which we are to strive after.”1 In the Bible, we see how it is that God calls us—fallen sinners who will never achieve perfection in this life—to live godly lives. This is where we find a Savior whose perfect righteousness is imputed, or credited, to sinners so that they may stand justified before a holy God. In the pages of Scripture, we see how it is that we are subsequently sanctified—made to look like Christ—and enabled and empowered to live holy lives. We will never attain perfection in this life, but Jesus does not save us and leave us to wallow in our sin. No, our great Savior transforms us so that we may bring glory to Him.
The Christian life is not an easy one. We are called to die to self, to pick up our cross daily, and to follow Jesus. We find ourselves at odds with a sinful world, constantly fighting against everything that is contrary to God. We may experience persecution from family, friends, or coworkers. Why, then, does Jesus say that His yoke is easy, and His burden is light (Matthew 11:30)? Because we do not embark on the Christian life alone. Too often this is the mindset among Christians as we seek to cross off every item on our spiritual “To Do” list, while rabidly avoiding everything on our “Don’t Even Think About It” list. But this is not Christianity, and this is not true holiness. In fact, this is a decidedly unhealthy approach to the Christian life.
Most of us would say that we desire to have a healthy physical heart beating inside of our chest, and just as being physically healthy takes conscious effort, so does being spiritually healthy. Consuming a proper spiritual diet, engaging in regular spiritual exercise, and avoiding “junk food” disguised as biblical sustenance should be part of our Christian lifestyle. So, how can we ensure that our spiritual hearts are strong and healthy?
At the 2020 Answers for Women conference, we will examine Scripture to answer these questions. We’ll seek to clarify some common confusions and offer encouragement for the weary among us. We will see that it is in God’s Word that our spiritual diet and exercise regimen is laid out for us, and we will see what has been in front of us the entire time, namely, the true heart of holiness.
As I have talked with Erin and followed her ministries, I have been very impressed with her desire to biblically and lovingly confront error in the church and equip women with the truth.