The Holy Life of the Justified

False ideas of holiness are common, not only among those who profess false
religions, but among those who profess the true. For holiness is a thing of
which man by nature has no more idea than a blind man has of the beauty of
a flower or the light of the sun. All false religions have had their “holy
men,” whose holiness often consisted merely in the amount of pain they could
inflict upon their bodies, or of food which they could abstain from, or of hard
labor which they could undergo. But with God, a saint or holy man is a very
different being. It is in filial, full-hearted love to God that much of true
holiness consists. And this cannot even begin to be until the sinner has found
forgiveness and tasted liberty, and has confidence towards God. The spirit of
holiness is incompatible with the spirit of bondage. There must be the spirit
of liberty, the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. When the
fountain of holiness begins to well up in the human heart, and to fill the
whole being with its transforming, purifying power, “We have known and
believed the love that God has to us” (1 John 4:16) is the first note of the
holy song, which, commenced on earth, is to be perpetuated through eternity.

We are bought with a price, that we may be new creatures in Christ Jesus. We
are forgiven, that we may be like Him who forgives us. We are set at liberty
and brought out of prison, that we may be holy. The free, boundless love of
God, pouring itself into us, expands and elevates our whole being; and we
serve Him, not in order to win His favour, but because we have already won it
in simply believing His record concerning His Son. If the root is holy, so are
the branches. We have become connected with the holy root, and by the necessity
of this connection are made holy too.

Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness