How does the Christian maintain holiness in his daily walk? Of course there are things like prayer, God’s Word, public and private worship, and the sacraments that help the Christian in the area of holiness. William Gurnall also mentions a few more, including one I’d like to point out here. Again, the question is: “How does a Christian continue in holiness day by day?”
Be sure to propound a right end to yourself in your righteous holy walking, and be sure you are not standing on a legal end. That is, do not think that by your righteousness you can purchase anything from God’s hand. Heaven stands not for sale to anyone. ‘The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’ (Rom. 6.23). What God sold to Christ he gives to us. Christ was the purchaser, believers are but heirs to what he bought, and must claim nothing but what is in his right to claim. By claiming anything of God for our righteousness, we shut ourselves out from having any benefit of his. If we be found leaning on our own house of righteousness, we cannot also be found in Christ. Paul knew this, and therefore renounced the one, that he may be entitled to the other (Phil. 3:8-9).
God does not set you to earn heaven by your holiness; but by your holiness to show your love and thankfulness to Christ who earned it for you. Hence the great argument Christ used to provoke his disciples to holiness is love: ‘If you love me, keep my commandments.” That is gospel holiness which is bred and fed by this love, when all the Christian does is offered up as a thanksgiving sacrifice to Christ, who ‘loved us unto death.’
In other words, a Christian continues in holiness not by trusting in his own righteousness, performance, or good deeds. That is the way to unholiness! The Christian continues in holiness by renouncing his own righteousness, receiving Christ’s righteousness by faith, and seeking to live in obedience to him to show thankfulness for salvation. As Gurnall said elsewhere, “Heaven’s way is paved with grace and mercy to the end.” Once we understand and believe that truth, true holiness will follow!
The above (edited) quotes were taken from William Gurnall, The Christian In Complete Armor, p.449-450.