In Jerry Bridges book The Pursuit of Holiness he asks the question: "Does our salvation in the final analysis depend to some degree on our attaining some level of personal holiness?" Bridges answers beautifully:
"First, the best Christians can never in themselves merit salvation through their personal holiness. Our righteous deeds are like filthy garments in the light of God holy law (Isaiah 64:6). Our best works are stained and polluted with imperfection and sin. As one of the saints of several centuries ago put it, 'Even our tears of repentance need to be washed in the blood of the lamb.'
Second, Scripture repeatedly refers to the obedience and righteousness of Christ on our behalf. 'For just as through the disobedience of the one man the many were made sinners, so also through the obedience of the one man the many will be made righteous' (Romans 5:19). 'For Christ died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God' (1 Peter 3:18)."
Before your mind thinks, "If I'm forgiven by the blood and given Christ righteousness then who care how I act here on earth" Bridges reminds us from Scripture, "For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life" (1 Thes. 4:7). Bridges goes on to say, "To continue to live in sin as a Christian is to go contrary to God's very purpose for our salvation...we may say that no one can trust in Jesus Christ for true salvation unless he trusts in Him for holiness. This does not mean the desire for holiness must be a conscious desire at the time a person comes to Christ, but rather it means that the Holy Spirit who creates within us saving faith also creates within us the desire for holiness. He simply does not create one without the other."
I hope you caught that beautiful truth that salvation is a gift from God and so is holiness. He will not give you one without giving you a desire for the other. This is a call for each of us to examine our lives to see whether we genuinely know Christ. What does your life look like? Do you love Christ? Do you love his word? Do you love the gospel? Do you love the pursuit of holiness?
Grace upon grace,