In the second chapter of his new book, The Hole in Our Holiness, Kevin DeYoung addresses the reason(s) for our redemption. He does not think there is only one biblical answer. He mentions God’s love and God’s glory. I would say that with respect to God himself, the reason is His love. He redeemed us because He loved us. With respect to creation (including humanity) He redeemed us for His glory, to receive glory for His grace. Both of these are prominent in Ephesians 1. There is something else that is significant in Ephesians 1, as DeYoung notes: holiness. With respect to us, God redeemed us to make us holy.
3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, 4 even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. In love 5 he predestined us for adoption as sons through Jesus Christ, according to the purpose of his will, 6 to the praise of his glorious grace, with which he has blessed us in the Beloved.
I am not sure why so many think holiness is optional. Wanting to be a Christian with wanting to be holy is like wanting a hamburger without wanting the hamburger patty. Biblically it just does not make any sense. In Ephesians, it sets up the call to sanctification that flows out of justification. Sometimes in response to a works-centered religion, people can so press justification by faith alone, that they forget or ignore that such a faith is never alone. Sometimes in our pushback against the legalists in various holiness movements we forget that obedience is not the problem. As Paul stresses in Titus 2, grace teaches us to obey God. It is not an excuse to disobey God, or be careless about how we live.
God is passionately committed to your holiness, even if you don’t seem to be so at the moment. The Scriptures tell us this. Christ died with this goal in mind. DeYoung notes this as an emphasis in both covenants: Exodus 19:4-6; 1 Peter 2:9; Eph. 2:8-10; 5:25-27; 2 Tim. 1:8-9; 1 Thess. 4:7.
He then shifts gears from a goal of our redemption to a necessity for our redemption. Jesus would stress this in His earthly ministry. For instance, Mt. 7:21 and the Great Commission. In His heavenly ministry (sending the Spirit and the Apostles to write Scripture) He also stressed this. In 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Paul makes it clear that those who continue in gross sin will not enter the kingdom of heaven. We also see similar statements in Galatians 5:19-21, 1 John 2:3-4, 23, 29; 4:15; 5:4; James 2:14; and Hebrews 12:14.
“The holiness of Hebrews 12:14 is not a holiness we receive but a holiness we strive for.”
Lest we misunderstand he explains that faith (and therefore grace) is the root and holiness or obedience is the fruit of grace thru faith. Faith is the instrumental cause of our salvation (Christ’s work for us as the formal cause) and holiness is the manifestation of that salvation, evidence and proof of it. It is not the cause. But it is a necessary evidence.
“We earn nothing. We are promised everything. But don’t be so scared of works-righteousness that you make pale what the Bible writes in bold colors.”
If asked what must we do to be saved, we do not respond “believe and do good works”. We would say “repent and believe”. Yet, the Reformed confessions stress the need for good works and obedience. In our walk with Christ, we must also stress them, pursuing them. Don’t settle for easy believism or cheap grace. By the grace of God, train yourself to be godly. In this DeYoung is capturing the biblical balance we so easily lose because of our sinful tendencies toward legalism and license.