The Bible tells us that without holiness, no man will see God (Hebrews 12:14) and we have through the years defined holiness in many different ways. To some, holiness is found in external things such as what we eat, drink, wear or enjoy. But this type of holiness does not deal with the true center of holiness, which is the heart of man. Holiness is used in Scripture only in a sacred context relating to God and holiness can only be understood in relationship with God. The OT defines holiness (Heb. qadowsh) as that which belongs to the sphere of the sacred; something distinct and separated from the common, profane, unholy or something that is dedicated to what is good and separate from what is evil. So Holiness is the absence of and the separation from evil. And evil is the absence of good and good is defined only in God.
We know that God is Holy and He commands us to be holy (Lev. 11:45, 1 Peter 1:15; Heb. 12:14) so holiness is not just a quality that is imparted into us, but a quality that we must work on in order to maintain it in our life. Hebrews 12:14 tells us to “work on living a holy life”. 1 Timothy 4:7 tells us that we are to “discipline ourselves for the purpose of Godliness. So there is something we must do in order to maintain a state of holiness in our life. We are to work on being separate from the world and its evil influences. The world (creation) is not evil, but many of the influences found in the world are and we must make conscious choices each day to choose a separate and set apart life. We must make conscious choices to choose that which pleases God and is in conformity to His Word.
For example, God is holy and 1 John 1:5 tells us that there is no darkness or evil in Him at all. God is total and pure light and there is no darkness or evil of any kind found in Him. He is the complete and perfect picture of what it means to be separate from evil. So how must we as His church and His representatives in the earth be? We too must be holy, truly holy and not just filled with a lot of “religious” requirements that really do not originate from a holy and pure heart. Paul tells us that the Kingdom of God is not food or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Romans 14:17). Each of these are ‘heart qualities’ and the inner heart will always be manifested in our external actions.
Jesus tells us in Mark 7:14-23 that it is not what goes into a man that defiles him, but the things that come out of man’s heart. It is not the food or drink that will defile us and make us unholy, but the things that come out of our inner person. The religious spirit has tried to associate holiness with the type of food or the type of drink that a person partakes of or the clothes that we wear or that we do or don’t wear jewelry or make up, but this is not a Biblical definition of holiness. Holiness consists of a heart that is devoted to God and the things that please God. Jesus then goes on to literally give a list of the things that defile a person and make them unholy. Here’s the list:
- Mark 7: 21 For from within, [that is] out of the hearts of men, come base and wicked (evil) thoughts, sexual immorality, stealing, murder, adultery, 22 Coveting (a greedy desire to have more wealth), dangerous and destructive wickedness, deceit; unrestrained (indecent) conduct; an evil eye (envy), slander (evil speaking, malicious misrepresentation, abusiveness), pride (the sin of an uplifted heart against God and man), foolishness (folly, lack of sense, recklessness, thoughtlessness). 23 All these evil [purposes and desires] come from within, and they make the man unclean and render him unhallowed. (unholy) Amplified Bible
I think we can safely say that when the heart is in line with pleasing God and desiring to conform to His will, the rest of our life will fall into place. No one has to tell us how to dress or act because our heart is to please God. The unfortunate thing is that the church at large has chosen to embraced some of the very influences of the world that are not in conformity to God’s Word or Will. Influences such as immorality, murder, pride, greed and deceit, to name a few. When the church embraces a lifestyle that is considered immoral according to scripture, it is no longer embracing the will of God, but is coming into conformity with the spirit of the world, or the devil. And as a result, we have a church that has a form of godliness, but no power. (2 Timothy 3:5). The church is not to hate the sinner, nor is it to embrace or celebrate the sin either. The church’s job is to be the salt and light that Jesus said we are supposed to be.
Jesus warned His disciples in John 14:30 that the devil can have nothing in common with us or it robs us of our power. Nothing in us can belong to the devil or be in common with him.
The church is to shine the light of the gospel on the dark areas of sin and bring people out of darkness and into His light. We are to be the salt of the world. Jesus said if the salt has lost its flavor (or has become contaminated), it is no longer good for anything other than to be thrown out. In those days, salt would often get contaminated with other minerals and once this was discovered, it was thrown out. The people were careful not the throw the contaminated salt on garden areas, because the salt would kill the crops. The contaminated salt was thrown on the pathways where it would be grounded into the dirt. A contaminated church is dangerous, because its message will bring death instead of life.
The CHURCH MUST ARISE TO HOLINESS once again and become the houses of prayer and power that God intended for them to become. We must choose to become a place of holiness and consecration to God and His Word.
We live in a day when the world needs the influence of a holy and powerful Church. When good is absent, evil will abound and we have seen how evil abounded this past week in Paris, France. The Church of Jesus Christ can dispel the evil that is in the world if we will live according to the Word and Will of God. It will take a Holy Church to become the Church that the gates of hell WILL NOT prevail against.
LET THE CHURCH ARISE!