Posted on October 16, 2010 by glennchristopherson
In the days when I was an “official” preacher a fellow minister asked what I was preaching lately.
“Holiness”, I replied.
His answer surprised me. “I would never go to a church that preaches holiness”
Sort of taken aback I stated, “Well, I would never go to a church that doesn’t”
The problem. We were using the same word but interpreting it differently. (This happens a lot in religious circles)
He heard “holiness” and what came to mind for him was a carnal legalism. Don’t drink, don’t chew and don’t go out with girls who do. In his mind holiness is something to do with not going to movies or dances or playing cards etc. Holiness preaching was about signing the “pledge” and going on the wagon; a pledge Jesus never signed by the way.(have you noticed Jesus first miracle was turning water into wine and ever since the church has been trying to turn it back into water)
But true biblical holiness is not about all these things. It’s not about dressing just right and making sure your hair is not too long (if you’re male) or too short(if you’re female). Holiness is not retiring to a mountain top to meditate on your navel till Jesus returns and it’s not about building and retiring to a monastery. These are all worldly concepts. Carnal thinking about spiritual matters.
For those who read their Bibles (there are some left) they will find that objects can be holy. The utensils used in the temple were declared holy by the Lord. As was the temple itself.
Places were at times given holiness status. Yahweh told Moses to remove his sandals for the place where he was standing was holy ground. Now what made these utensils, objects and locations holy?
Obviously not because they didn’t play cards or go to movies etc. They were holy for one reason. God declared them holy and He decided to use them for His holy purposes. God is holy and when He says it’s holy, it is.
For the believer, we are commanded to pursue holiness. Our holiness is not rigid self-righteousness but rather separation. We have been chosen for holy purposes and our response is to separate from that which is not of God and separate unto that which is. Holiness, essentially from a human perspective, is simply to be about God’s business first and foremost. It’s a mindset which focuses on pleasing and serving God in whatever activity we may be involved in.
The joyless, harsh and judgmental practice of Christianity has pretty much given way to a flippant, shallow crowd pleasing form but both views are unholy. And both views put self at the center. One says it’s about how much I can beat my body, the other about how much I can get away with, but neither are focused on Christ and His sacrifice and His provision and His glory, strength, power and wisdom.
True biblical holiness is the awareness of, I am not my own. I belong to another. The things of this world only interest the holy person as much as they affect the Kingdom of God. And, the fruit of this holiness is a light heart, a mind at peace, and a joyous reverence, towards God and His word. The simple fact is, we are holy because God has declared it so, and we grow in holiness as we accept the high calling of being set aside for sacred purposes. Behaviors and attitudes which hinder our usefulness to the Master will drop off in time but the focus is not on us but on Him.
Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God