For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life. . . . [God] gives you his Holy Spirit. (1 Thess. 4:7–8)

Strong. Proud. Courageous. The US marine stands at attention in impeccable dress blues, gleaming sword in white-gloved fist. The recruitment poster doesn’t need words to convey its message: “Join up, and you can become just like this warrior: patriotic, professional, and self-assured.” The picture makes a promise.

If you pledge yourself to the Marine Corps, you’ll get plenty of regulations and demands. But you’ll also get the training and tools you need to meet them. As you submit to the learning process, you’ll begin measuring up to the standards embodied in that recruitment poster. The picture’s promise is coming true.

While I was in seminary, Professors Matt Friedeman and Ray Easley wrote a catechism. They got stuck on this question: “What is a commandment of God?” Someone came up with the answer: “A picture of who God is and a promise of what we can become” (see Hidden in the Heart: A Catechism for Children).

The apostle Paul would have liked that definition. He reminded his converts that God commanded them to be holy. But this expectation wasn’t arbitrary or impossible. God had given them his Holy Spirit so they’d have the help needed to reflect God’s own character. Paul himself was a picture of the promise coming true (1 Thess. 2:2–12).

God’s command hasn’t changed. Neither has his promise. Will you join his corps?

Commit yourself to the Holy Spirit to live a holy life.

Jerome Van Kuiken grew up in the Philippines as the child of missionaries. He teaches Bible, theology, and apologetics at Oklahoma Wesleyan University and serves in the children’s ministry at his local church.

© 2019 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission.