The State of Faith
A Study on Holiness
The State of Faith
And you shall be holy to Me, for I the Lord am holy, and have separated you from the peoples, that you should be Mine.
The past year or so has been one of great tension and concern. On September 11, 2001 the devastating events of terror landed on American soil. Shortly thereafter, the nation was shaken by the anthrax "attack." For those of us in the metro-Washington, DC area, the month of October 2002 has been a time of concern as the result of the "sniper" who has killed so many with single rifle shots. Yet, none of these events will compare with the enormous tragedy of the end times as God pours His wrath upon the earth.
To be certain, not all believe in the wrath of God or the Second Coming of Christ. Indeed, not all of mainline Christianity believes that Jesus will make a physical return to earth. However, most, saved and unsaved, are concerned with the afterlife and eternity. The populous of planet earth look to the future beyond this life in great hope.
A fairly recent Newsweek issue addressed this hope in an article entitle "Why We Need Heaven" (August 12, 2002 issue). The focal point of the article addresses the paradox of the Muslims and the Jews both believing they would arrive in heaven, paradise. The paradox is found in the concept that both religions believe in a literal heaven where they will rest. Can these enemies both find peace in the same place?
The Newsweek article finds that 76% of Americans believe in heaven with 71% of this group believing heaven is an actual place. While there is a great disparity over what heaven will be like, most apparently share the belief of the Muslims, Christians, and Jews who find heaven to be the home of God. This heaven will be the perfect home. And, the issue is "how does one get to heaven?"
The Newsweek article recites the statistic that 75% of Americans think their actions and deeds on earth will determine if they go to heaven upon death. This would mean that good deeds, good works, living a just life become the means to heaven. Even so, the article finds that even in most mainline churches, the conviction that actions have consequences is not preached. In other words, churches do not preach about heaven.
This leads to two probing questions.
First, do your actions have a direct bearing upon the path to heaven?
Second, why are so many people interested in heaven while the churches appear almost disinterested?
To my mind, both questions share a common answer - and that answer is directly related to the focus of this study -- holiness.