Lately, there has been a great stirring among many in the body of Christ in America. While the subject of sin and grace are not new topics for discussion, the resulting actions of the Church are increasingly becoming notably more muddied. This muddiness is in part a reaction by many in the faith community hoping to be more accessible and accepted by a world that has either been hurt by the church or seeking a genuine hope for their lives.
The idea that grace and hope have to be separated from holiness defies not only logic but the very gospel Jesus taught. Holiness implies an innermost change that happens when you have resolved to follow him. Holiness is a sacrifice of self and personal will. To present grace and hope apart from holiness waters down the power of the gospel and the work that is available through the Holy Spirit.
When the Church attempts to focus on attraction apart from holiness, it does a disservice to the world because it begins to believe the lie that the life they have lived doesn’t have to change. There are numerous verses in the bible where God instructs His people to be holy because He is holy. It is His very nature. When we look back at the creation story, it tells us that we were created in His image and likeness.
When Adam fell, that holy nature was lost. Yet, it was through Christ‘s birth, sinless life, death, burial, and resurrection that we were once again presented with the ability to be a holy species. 1 Peter 2:9 says that the body of Christ was in fact, a holy nation. So how then can you present to the world Christ apart from the very essence of what it means to be Christ-like?
The real task of the Church is not to devalue Christianity into what is palatable for the world to receive. It is to present Christ in a way that is honest, unashamedly truthful, compassionate to the needs of those who are seeking Him, and offering the unwavering, unconditional love of God.
Holiness is truly about becoming whole in spirit, soul, and body. The fall of man through Adam disconnected that wholeness that we were created to know and experience. Getting back to that requires a renewing of the mind. Paul told the Church in Rome that they needed to cease being conformed to the ways of the world and their systems of operation. Then he says they should be transformed by a renewing of their minds.
When John the Baptist and Jesus proclaimed to their followers to repent, it was understood that this meant that they should change the ways in which they had previously been living and thinking, and to begin to understand and behave according to the gospel Jesus was presenting to them.
That way of thinking and acting was offensive to the Pharisee and Scribes of his day. It was offensive to the people of Peter and Paul’s day when they went from city to city presenting the gospel that turned those same cities upside-down. They did not water down the gospel for the sake of grace and acceptance. They presented the whole gospel because it was the whole gospel that had convicted them of their need for a changed life.
If we are to become an effective and powerful Church, we must be willing to present holiness as much as we present grace and hope. There is no greater grace and hope apart from holiness. Let this be the year that we as salt and light present all of the gospel so that those who seek Him actually find Him, not just the part of Him we think they need or feel they can handle. It’s not about comfort or appeasement. It’s about God; Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
QUESTION: Have you noticed the Church shying away from holiness? What does this say about the Church and what She has been called to be to the world?
- The Cross Comes With a Cost (focusedandfree.com)
- Kingdom Worship (pureglory.net)
- 14.2 John – Blind Sheep (thenotesaregood.com)
- Aren’t you just a bit curious about what John had to say? John 1:19-20 (omharris.com)