Holiness at and after the Cross

Holiness: At And After the Cross
Part 2
Written by Bill Burkett

Imputed Righteousness At the Cross: My Standing In Christ
Imputed Righteousness After the Cross: My State Before God

Christ, the apostles and countless thousands of Christian have given their lives in martyrdom to deliver into our hands the doctrines (teachings) of the original gospel. One of those who gave his life laying the foundation cries to us through the long corridors of the church’s history…”According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation, and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.” 1 Corinthians 3:10

There are many major doctrine such as the Godhead, the person and work of Christ, the church, eschatology (The doctrine of last things such as the coming of Christ, death and final judgement). But we will deal only with what is known as the redemptive doctrines; those doctrines that deal directly with my personal salvation. We will list seven of these redemptive doctrines to further make clear what is meant by redemptive doctrines.

1. Atonement
2. Faith
3. Repentance
4. Justification
5. Sanctification
6. Regeneration
7. Transformation.


Sanctification is a cardinal doctrine. It is the doctrine that teaches us character of the divine kind. I would consider a cardinal (essential) doctrine as any doctrine that determines the eternal fate of a soul. The doctrine of sanctification certainly qualifies as a cardinal doctrine. First, sanctification is one half of the doctrine of soteriology (salvation). Can you go to Heaven half saved?!? Only half-cocked people believe in half-saved doctrine.

We have lost the virtue of doctrinal dogmatism. The apostles had it. Galatians 1:8-9; 1 Timothy 6:3-5; Jude 1:1-21; Revelation 2:14-16. The landslide toward worldliness in the church started when we experimented with compromise, and had some pretty positive (?) results. Our folly goes back to the error of Eve who thought she had discovered the wonderful fact that we can trifle with the Word of God without a thunderbolt of divine judgement striking us dead on the spot! She was the first to make the short sighted mistake of believing in compromise without consequences.

We will soon learn that consequences are not always immediate but always ultimately sure.

We have compromised to the point of becoming moral wimps. The cardinal doctrine of sanctification has been abolished from mention, from the pulpits and from all serious consideration in study. More than that; the holiness teaching of generations is being bad mouthed by men who have the brains and background to know better. The desire to be holy is gone from us. And then intelligent men ask, “What is happening to the church?”

Charismatic teachers in my presence have stated that “The Spirit unites and doctrine separates.” This loony teaching started becoming prominent in the church’s recent history among modernists just after the turn of this century.(Footnote: Theme of the Stockholm conference on Life and Work, 1925. Preface To Christian Theology, John A. Mackay, Macmillan). False teachers have successfully corrupted masses of modern fundamental Christians by causing them to believe that doctrine is equivalent to iron shackles. The average Christian is responding to all of this heresy with the mentality of helpless peons. The Bible tells us the truth about doctrine and it is quite the opposite of what modern apostates teach.

Matthew 7:28-29; 22:33; Mark 1:22; 4:2; 11:18; 12:38; Luke 4:32; John 7:15-17; Acts 2:44; 5:28; Romans 6:17; 16:17; 1 Timothy 4:6; 4:13; 4:16; 5:17; 6:3-4; 2 Timothy 3:10; 3:16; 4:2-3; Titus 1:9; 2:1.


Doctrine, truth and teaching are all but synonymous (being the same thing). Freedom and not bondage is in doctrine. By studying the above references on the subject of doctrine it will be quickly seen that doctrine does indeed separate! It separates the false from the true. It does not endorse the mushy idea that we must “discuss our viewpoints without coming to any conclusions.” Apostates, traitors to the cross and demons believe that kind of bunk – not the Christ’s disciples.


Why was Christ hated and finally crucified? What were the real reasons behind the persecution of the early church? What brings persecution today against fundamental Christians? What is it the world hates about pure apostolic Christianity? The answer is simple and concise; doctrine. It is the pure creed of Christ Satan directs his most insidious attacks against. Especially those redemptive doctrines that determine the destiny of man. Use the Book!


Doctrine is dichotomous in nature. That is, it is made up of two equal parts. Picture an orange sliced in half and separated. But if you place them together again the two parts make the whole. This illustrates how doctrine is made up of two halves. When you put them together you have the whole doctrine.

In doctrine these two parts are fused together like an acorn is fused to the mighty oak; like a mustard seed to the sprawling mustard tree. The seed itself is forgotten but the mighty oak could not exist without it. The tree is born out of the tiny seed yet could not exist without it. The qualities of the tree will always bear the qualities of the seed it sprang from. All doctrine has this same coupled truth in it. This twofold truth contained in doctrine is easily illustrated by dividing these two truths in each doctrine between at the cross and after the cross.

At The Cross I Am Saved By
 Ephesians 2:8-10
The works of man condemned and 
Romans 3:20
For by grace are ye saved through 
faith; and that not of yourselves: it 
is the gift of God: Not of works, 
lest any man should boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

After The Cross I Am Called To “Good Works.”

Good works commanded and
For we are his workmanship, 
created in Christ Jesus unto good 
works, which God hath before 
ordained that we should walk in 
them. Ephesians 2:10

This scripture points out the fact that good works are not wrong after the cross. In fact, Christians are commanded to “walk in” good works after the cross. However, to offer good works of my own at the cross is to hold the redeeming blood of Christ in contempt!

Most of the doctrinal error blighting

the church today is a result of not
knowing the difference between what
happens at the cross and what happens
after the cross.

At the cross I am a sinner saved by 
Ephesians 2:8
After the cross I am a disciple 
walking in sanctification. 

1 Thessalonians 4:3-4

Being a Christian is not just one experience but two experiences!

1. You are born again and then you
2. step out into life in the Spirit.

What happens to you at the cross is different than what happens to you after the cross. Becoming a Christian means you agree to the disciplines of a life of holiness and perfection. It is the plainest teaching of holy scripture. After the cross comes the life of grace to execute what the Spirit and the Word teach me.

The primary purpose of redemption is not heaven. The primary purpose of the cross is moral transformation. For this is the will of God, even your sanctification, that ye should abstain from fornication: 1 Thessalonians 4:3 Metaphorically (a type of) the word fornication means to be joined in association with any persons, places or things which are contrary to God.


Apostates say we are sanctified at the cross and then pursue it no further after the cross. They insist we are saved by faith. But does not the faith of Christ wage warfare against the world and it’s ways? For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith. 1 John 5:4

To believe only those doctrines that apply to Christian experience at the cross is not sufficient to give us overcoming lives of holiness.

At the cross Christ poured His blood out on the limestones of Golgotha. Who gave himself for our sins, Galations 1:4a

After the cross sanctifying grace begins the glorious process of modifying me and teaching me the first great victory of this faith in Christ that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father: Galations 1:4b

At the cross the blood cleanses me of all past sins. Revelation 1:5b Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood.

After the cross the Word obeyed sanctifies me. Psalm 119:7; John 17:17; Ephesians 5:26 That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, The Christians obedience to the Word is an extension of Grace beyond the experience of conversion at the cross. It is a serious inditement against the Word of God to teach that good work have nothing to do with salvation. Does this mean that those who have no good works are really the saved ones?

At the cross the power of the blood saves me.1 Peter 1:18-19 After the cross Sanctification keeps me saved. 1 Thessalonians 2:13 A holy life separated from the world is the only Biblical evidence of genuine salvation. Read James the second chapter.

At the cross the blood is God’s legal agent. Leviticus 17:11; Isaiah 64:6 After the cross the word is God’s moral agent.

At the cross Christ is the Lamb of God
After the cross Christ is the Lion of Judah!

At the cross Jesus is my redeemer.
After the cross Jesus is my master and teacher.

At the cross Christ saves me from the dominion of sin.
After the cross Christ gives me dominion over sin.

At the cross Christ is my Saviour.
After the cross Christ is my Lord. At the cross Christ is not yet made Lord of your life. So while He is indeed Lord of the universe, you have not personally allowed Him that recognition. After the cross He is both Saviour and Lord.

At the cross Christ is crucified for me.
After the cross I am crucified with Christ.

Apostolic teaching calls for the death of self and a willingness to “forsake” even legitimate materialism to be a disciple of Christ. Matthew 10:38; 16:24; 19:29; Mark 8:34; 10:21; Luke 9:23; 14:27; But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.” Galations 6:14.

At the cross agape love forgives me.
After the cross agape love constrains me.

The word doctrine simply means teaching.
If preaching is characteristic of evangelistic ministry then teaching is characteristic of pastoral ministry. This word (didaskalia) is used fifteen times in the pastoral epistles and Paul used the word frequently.

Seeing the twofold structure of doctrine as at and after the cross will help us in three ways:

1. To avoid complicated and muddled explanations on Biblical subjects
2. Help us hold to the apostle’s teachings and
3. Give Biblical balance and accuracy in proclaiming the gospel.

And it secures for us that glorious freedom from sin Jesus promised through knowing the truth. Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. John 8:32

A quick glance at the AT AND AFTER THE CROSS chart included in this study makes this point very clear. Use it as a pulpit outline, make copies for your study group, an overhead transparency or all three.




At The Cross

For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, (v. 10a) Reconciliation is another one of those wonderful things that happened instantaneously at the cross when I was converted. I was justified! Because now I have the righteousness of Christ, For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. (2 Corinthians 5:21) I can come into the throne room of God in His righteousness and be received of the Father as Christ Himself would be received. I am restored to fellowship with the Father! At the cross I am legally declared to be righteous even as He is righteous! I am justified!

After The Cross

Much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. (v. 10b) This is not speaking of what happened at the cross but of a life that lies before me after the cross. It speaks of being saved in the abiding life of Christ. Not that we are, but that “we shall be saved.”

At the cross I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. Verse 9
After the cross I believe unto righteousness. Verse 10


At The Cross

Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, speaks of the redemptive principles in the plan of salvation. Once we have availed ourselves of those truths that lead us to Christ, we are not to linger there thinking that to be the end of Christian experience. There is much more beyond the cross! But what lies beyond the cross can only be had by the way of the cross. We do not leave the cross! We leave the principles of the cross. This all happens at the cross.

After The Cross

let us go on unto perfection; What a wonderful prospect! What a glorious and noble purpose Christ has for us. The Greek word for perfection here is TELEIOTES. There is another word for perfection which is the word TELEIOSIS. It speaks of completion or fulfilling an end. But the word TELEIOTES used in this verse is a stronger word meaning to accomplish completion. This speaks of our objective as Christians after the cross.

At the cross is the beginning of salvation.
After the cross is “unto the end” of salvation.
For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end.


At The Cross

Jesus made the two parts of salvation so clear a child can understand them. Except ye be converted refers to my experience at the cross.

After The Cross

To “become as little children.” speaks of a way of life after the cross. Humility, submission, simplicity of a child is used to describe the mentality of God’s children after the cross. A child is a learner. He is always making enquiry, humbling himself before his peers and gives due credibility to his elders. He is always in quest of the facts.


At The Cross

“He which hath begun a good work in you…” Those precious moments of salvation through repentance are only the beginning of the rest of eternal life! Note that He has only begun a good “work” in us. This refers to what happens at the cross. A new creation with a whole new mentality emerges “…if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.” 1 Corinthians 5:17

After The Cross

Will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ: The Greek verb means to carry it on towards completion. This obviously speaks of a duration of time after the cross.

1 Corinthians 1:2a, 30

At The Cross

Unto the church of God which is at Corinth, to them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus.

At the cross refers to a person’s life the moment he stands before the cross as a sinner surrendering his or her life to Christ as Saviour and Lord. The word “sanctified” in this verse is the verb HAGIAZO meaning to be set apart to the Lord. It expresses that instantaneous act of being justified and declared holy at the cross.

After The Cross

1 Corinthians 1:30 – But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption.

Here Paul is referring to my walk with God as I turn from the cross and face my new life as His disciple. The word sanctification here is the noun HAGIASMOS and speaks of possessing a nature in pursuit of the holy life.

In verse 2 Paul speaks of being sanctified at the cross.
In verse 30 he speaks of sanctification after the cross.

One is an experience at the cross.
The other is life after the cross.

At the cross I am sanctified. A Greek verb (HAGIAZO).
I am declared holy and set apart to God by divine decree.

After the cross I enter into sanctification. A Greek noun (HAGIASMOS) which speaks of dedication to God and separation from the world.


They testified of being “sanctified and made holy.” They lived lives of separation and prayer this generation knows nothing of. Many preachers and Christians have abandoned the holiness faith of their Daddies for a “mess of pottage.” Their doctrine was more reliable than we give them credit for. It is true that there are two experiences in sanctification. We are “sanctified” instantly at the cross when we become God’s children. But there is a continuation of the sanctifying experience we had at the cross. Sanctification did not begin and end at the cross! Our holiness Daddies preached a sweet holy life that was a result of an inner desire to be holy. That desire was placed there when they were saved and never left them. That desire to be holy is the nature of holiness becoming a part of my new nature. Do you have that? Have you lost it? It is the joy of transformation. It produces godliness and purity of heart. It is a God given a nature that loves the subject of holiness and considers the sound of that word as desirous as the sound of a stringed symphony.

“Sanctified” is what happens at the cross.
“Made holy” is what happens after the cross.
Our Daddies were doctrinally correct!

We would remind those who have turned against the holiness teaching of their Daddies that those you fraternize with now have been the most slanderous against holiness doctrine of our godly parents. Every thing from drugs to perversion is in the ranks of the critics of holiness. May it serve notice that what new age “touch me” love philosophy teaches is certainly not the things our godly Daddies taught us.


The Works Of Christ at the Cross

Why do many modern Christians have this complex about good works when the scripture so plainly commands us to have them; commends us for doing them and condemns us for not having them? Because they do not understand the difference between good works before the cross and good works after the cross.

There may be some who do not realize why the blood of Christ is so supremely important to God’s plan of redemption. Redemption is an extremely complicated process that that only holy intelligence could conceive and execute. Romans 3:24-25 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

Penalty Is Involved

Penalty is involved in any violation of law. Good works have no connection with the idea of penalty. The penalty God requires for the sin of rebellion against divine government is written in the laws of the Kingdom. “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.” So you see, good works without the penalty of life blood has no legal value. The blood of Christ is the only penalty for sin God recognizes. (Read Hebrews, chapters 9 and 10) To think that keeping the ten commandments or the golden rule can secure one’s salvation is the religion of the demented. There is no blood in them! I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain. Galations 2:21

The Works Of Man After The Cross

Now that we have placed a proper importance on the work of Christ at the cross we turn to the matter of the works of the Christian after the cross. Some well known preachers have injected some very erroneous teachings into the body of Christ concerning good works. They simply fail to understand that while there are no good works accepted at the cross, that good works are commanded of us after the cross. The result of false teaching on good works has given rise to the “faith only” heresy. These false teachers deceive Christians into believing in a faith apart from works or any obligation of obedience to the moral laws of God. Christians have been told by these false teachers that for a Christian to have convictions; to practice good works or obedience to the moral law of God is to be guilty of doing them “in their own strength.”

Anyone who teaches such things listens to the snake.

Of course our good works are in our own strength!…but it is Christ who dwells within me who inspires me and gives me that strength. For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure. Philippians 2:13 The scriptural outcome of the indwelling of Christ is “good works.” (Read Ephesians 2:8-10)

At the cross good works are as “filthy rags”. (Isaiah 64:6)
After the cross good works are required.

Any man, woman, boy or girl, who has been washed in the blood of the Lamb, and has the testimony of Christ, will have the desire to “fulfill all righteousness” and “keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. Romans 2:10; 1 Corinthians 16:10; 1 John 3:2. Don’t let arrogant and vocal apostates with charisma intimidate you.


Imputed Righteousness: My Standing In Christ
Imparted Righteousness: My State Before God

At the cross: Imputed righteousness. Imputation is a legal term meaning “to reckon as” and refers to a type of judgement in which the quality of one person is ascribed to another. For example, one man’s guilt may, under certain conditions, be imputed to another. Protestant theology…held that (1) God imputed Adam’s sin and guilt to succeeding generations and (2) Imputed Christ’s righteousness to those who place their faith in the atonement. Read Romans 5. This is called imputed righteousness. It is the righteousness of Christ given to me when I repent of my sins and receive a legal release from the guilt of all past sin through the atoning blood. (1)

After the cross: Imparted righteousness. To award; to credit with; to give; to confer. Righteousness is imparted when the Christian makes choices and commits acts of obedience to the Word that please the Lord. When our righteous conduct pleases God then that righteousness indicates the inner nature cooperating with the teaching and instruction of the indwelling Holy Spirit. Such acts of righteousness carried out in loving obedience becomes imparted righteousness. This righteousness reflects the nature of the believer thinking in moral harmony with the divine mind. The result of my nature coming into harmony with God’s nature is because of my delight in God’s moral law. Romans 8:7.

Imputed righteousness which is of Christ is given to us at the time we are justified.
Imparted righteousness is credited to us as we walk in obedience to His Word. (John 17:17)


Justice was not circumvented, violated or set aside in the atonement. Some men may believe that but the facts prove otherwise. The penalties of divine justice were completely satisfied through the cross. Hebrews 10:31

There was no mercy shown the victim hanging on the middle cross that Friday afternoon!

Justice not been retracted, invalidated, annulled, prevented, thwarted, cancelled, repealed, revoked, invalidated, or abrogated!

The crucifixion is a historical spectacle attesting to one eternal and immutable fact: God is a God of perfect justice and will not violate the principles of justice; that God does not go easy on the penalties of sin! Calvary is the place where justice meted out the penalty of sin against the depraved and rebellious human nature.

The scenes of Calvary send a message loud and clear to saint and sinner: That God does not go easy on sin. God hates sin and will punish it. He spared not His Son…to bring justice against the sinner! That sir, is grace!

Calvary was the spectacle of divine mercy as Christ identified with sinners and as a sinner willfully yielded to a horrible death fulfilling the demands of divine justice for the sinner. Christ as a man identified Himself with the human race and secured our release from God’s wrath by paying the death penalty for sin as a sinner. Isaiah 53:5


Here is a glorious paradox; that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Romans 3:26 For you see, in that He suffered the death of the cross He was fulfilling perfect justice…without mercy! But in that terrible hour of God’s justice was also the greatest manifestation of God’s mercy.

In the cross both justice and mercy are manifested without conflict. In the cross God’s justice and God’s mercy are reconciled perfectly.

In Christ, man did pay the penalty justice demanded. That is justice!!

In Christ man is forgiven through faith in Him. That is mercy!


Regeneration At The Cross
Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17) Regeneration is commonly referred to as the new creation or to be “born again.” Read John 3:3-5. Regeneration simply means change and renovation. To be made into a new person by the power of the Holy Spirit. It is a complete renewal; a spiritual overhauling. (Titus 3:5) In heaven the sinner is legally justified and cleared of all past sin. In the sinner the Holy Spirit comes to take His abode within.

I am not transformed at the cross. I am transformed after the cross by the “renewing of the mind.” 2 Corinthians 7:1; Romans 12:2.

Transformation After The Cross

Regeneration is the operation of God performs within the sinner when he comes to Christ in repentance. Transformation is the effect the new inner person has upon the daily walk and the effects the inner change has on relating to the corrupted environment. Transformation is learning to conform to Kingdom influence as opposed to conforming to world influence. We’ll let Paul say it, he says it so well “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God. (Romans 12:1-2)

The evidence of Transformation is the breaking of ties with the world environment and it’s value system. This is the most difficult task of grace. To bring the rebellious and complex flesh nature to come to grips with the absolute necessity of withdrawing from the world. It is a deathly experience. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin; 1 Peter 4:1; Galations 6:14; Romans 6:2; 6:4,7,8,11; 8:10; 2 Corinthians 5:14-15.

The one thing in the Christian life that determines destiny more than anything is the direction of the affections from the “untoward” sensual environment of the world and it’s values to God and Kingdom values. This is the objective of transformation according to scripture. Romans 12:1-2; Galatians 1:4.

Transformation is a supernatural corrective modification of the whole nature of man!

The mind is the center of transformation according to Paul (Romans 12:2). It is by the renewing of the mind that change is effected in the life. Right concepts produce right living. Here is the link between doctrine (teaching) and the quality of Christian life. Pure doctrine produces pure people.


Justification at the cross is the legal declaration of Heaven that Christ’s atoning death declares you legally released from all sin and guilt of the past when confessed. It is the decree God makes when we recognize the cross as our freedom from sin. It takes place in the brief moment it takes to confess your sins sincerely to Christ. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13

At the cross I am justified instantly, in one glorious legal moment! But after the cross justification remains in force as I continue in good works. James 2:21-25

Sanctification after the cross is the pursuit of godliness and moral perfection that from the cross to the crown!

Next to the atoning blood applied at
the cross, sanctification is the most
vital element of salvation to the
Christian after the cross.

Greek Text Confirms The difference Between At And After

There are two nouns translated sanctification in the Bible referring to the holiness life after the cross. The first is hagiasmos which speaks of a life dedicated to God. It is also used to refer to the life of separation. 1 Thessalonians 4:3,4,7; Romans 6:19,22; 1 Timothy 2:15 and Hebrews 12:14. The second is Hagiosune (both are nouns) which refers to the quality of holiness the believer has attained. Vine states that “it is not vicarious [coming from another], i.e., it cannot be transferred or imputed; it is an individual possession, built up, little by little, as a result of obedience to the Word of God, and of following the example of Christ.” (Brackets ours.) “Sanctification (holiness) means a separated way of life or the quality of holiness in the nature of a person and not merely the fact that we were declared holy at the cross when we were saved. I was vicariously (given to me by another) sanctified at the cross but I come by a holy nature of my own imparted to me by God.

Imparted righteousness is as much from God as imputed righteousness.
For righteousness to be imputed at the cross, God must impute it!
For righteousness to be imparted after the cross, God must impart it.

At the cross I experience the instantaneous and legal aspects of salvation i.e. justification, forgiveness, regeneration (new birth) and adoption. Romans 5

After the cross I move into moral maturity, the perfecting of holiness and the increase of knowledge (doctrine). After the cross my intimacy with God develops and I learn more and more of that vital link between God and godliness.

By W.C.B.

[Taken from HAHGIOS Letter No. 3989]

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