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The biblical answer is yes, relatively. It is true that as people we are finite and fallen. We cannot, this side of the resurrection, be perfectly holy. Sin will cling to every act and every affection. We have to be aware of that. Romans 7, I believe reflects Paul’s reality as a believer. Sin will always cling to us. We will never be perfect in our actions or our thoughts.
However, the Bible does talk about God’s people being holy. And not only in the sense of our justification. A person who believes in Jesus Christ is declared to be holy and blameless through Christ’s mercy and merits. So, we stand before God declared to be perfectly holy, even though in a practical sense we aren’t. But there is also a sense in which God talks about his people as being righteous and holy in an experiential way—though it is relative.
I believe the Bible teaches there is a holiness that is fueled by faith and wrought by the Holy Spirit in the lives of God’s people through the process of sanctification. The Book of Hebrews says that we are to pursue peace and holiness--without which no one will see the Lord. We are to pursue it. And not to pursue it in vain and never attain it we are to pursuit it because it is God’s will for us. There is no boasting in us because any righteous deeds coming out of us is because Christ who works in us, ultimately to work for His pleasure. It is a testimony to God’s grace in us, the work of the Spirit through the ministry of the Word, and our response of actively obeying God that produces this ongoing growth in the character of God, reflecting the image of God in us. So, yes, we can be godly Christians. We can be holy, but not in any sense that is merely derived from us trying harder, but it is the fruit of Christ in us who is progressively transforming us into His image.
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