Saturday, May 22, 2010

Where is Holiness

Once again I wish to speak on something which makes too many people uncomfortable. Holiness, practical holiness that is, is something which is fine and dandy to speak of as long as your not living. In other words there are many believers who enjoy reading 'classics', writers which gave due attention to the need for believers to strive for holiness, but who can't stand when a contemporary preacher and ESPECIALLY someone they know speaks about it and too often they attempt to excuse their attitude by finding something they can call 'legalistic' or it's just something old men preach about because they came from such backgrounds.
The 'in-thing' among many reformed men and women is to see just how close they can get to the world without blatantly sinning. Such are those who, though they can quote with the best of them, ignore and despise the radical lifestyles of 'tried and true' saints of the past. Such an attitude usually springs from over-reaction (having suffered under legalistic ministries or apathetic ministries), a desire to rebel, and even uncrucified pride.
Our culture, the American Christian culture suffers from so many imbalances, and many are too quickly satisfied if they can grasp but one aspect of the Christian life. Allow me to name some categories which many so emphasize that they ignore the rest:
Family Groups (Christianity is Homeschooling & Headship)
Evangelism Groups (Christianity is Witnessing)
Church Groups (Christianity is Religion)
Relationship Groups (Christianity is Community)
Social Groups (Christianity is Charity)
Theology Groups (Christianity is Sound Doctrine)
Political Groups (Christianity is Republican Rule)
Prosperity Groups (Christianity is Enjoying life)
Sacrificial Groups (Christianity is Kingdom spending)
Legalistic Groups (Christianity is Rules)
Music Groups (Christianity is Worship Music)
and so on...........
Naturally many of these things may be quite amusing and yet a great majority of these things are biblical and of great importance, and it should go without saying that we don't have the freedom to pick and choose the ones we would like to emphasize.
This is my problem with 'movements', with catchy and inventive names or even 'challenges' because they too often consume everything else (that's NOT to say we cast something aside JUST because it's such, however we are called to examine it).
Christianity ISN'T that complicated, Christianity is CHRIST!!! Our 'goal', our 'challenge', our 'banner', is Christ and the pursuit of CONFORMITY to CHRIST is the calling of EVERY believer!
The gospel enables us to live unto the glory of God, and whether you like it or not PRACTICAL HOLINESS is a MAJOR part of living to the glory of God.
So what exactly is practical holiness?? Well practical holiness isn't about generalities and only being concerned with matters of 'personal' conviction. There are many NON-negotiables in the scriptures
such as our use and pursuit of MONEY
Our SEXual lifestyles
The use of our TIME
The things we say
How we are to treat our spouses
How we are to raise our children
The way we dress
The places we go
The company we keep
The things we set our eyes on
The way we THINK
The way we FEEL
The things we LISTEN to
How we are to WORK

Do you not know brethren that such things are IN the scriptures and that in the NEW testament?? Are these things in which you care to think about, and do you get bothered when they are brought up or explained?? Then there's a problem, HOUSTON and it's not primarily from external sources, it's an internal problem.
Now if that wasn't enough to cover the range of practical holiness as presented in the scriptures, we are ALSO called and COMMANDED to be concerned with 'our own conscience' and the conscience of others. If anything this has to be the LAST thing anyone wants to think or talk about unless it concerns what 'I have liberty to do'. Whereas Paul in his desire to be 'missional' LIMITED himself to reach the masses, apparently the Apostle Paul didn't grasp that the best way to show the grace of God and the freedom found in Christ would be to EXPRESS his freedom in Christ by IGNORING the immaturity of new believers and the judgmental thoughts of unbelievers with a "I answer to God, not you" attitude. Don't ignore the reality that Paul went out of his way and that by scriptural command, yes he wrote Colossians 2:16-23 but NOT to cancel out Roms 14:13-23 (and yes this apparently covers DRINKING/alcohol in SOME contexts/cultures) and 1 Corinthians 8:9, this same Paul for the sake of the gospel had TIMOTHY CIRCUMCISED (Acts 16, can u think of the arguments u would give against that?).
If we would but live unto the glory of God, then we would desire to know His heart and seek to please Him BECAUSE we are accepted and loved by Him and that would entail us opening our lives before Him to point out ANY areas that need change.


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