The State of Faith
A Study on Holiness
Are We Holy?
But, as he who was born according to the flesh then persecuted him who was born according to the Spirit, even so it is now.
There are many deficiencies in God's people. There always have been throughout history, but as we enter 2003, one cannot help but feel the major deficiency in God's people is a lack of holiness. The church is too much like the world. The church is too much like Balaam. The church searches for Jesus in the midst of its cultural pleasures and personal desires. Yet, John writes in his first epistle that to love the world is to hate God.
1 John 2:15 (NKJV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.
What is the love of the world? John answers that as well:
1 John 2:16-17 (NKJV)
16 For all that is in the world-the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life-is not of the Father but is of the world. 17 And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.
Doesn't this sound just like the world of today. Materialism, me-ism, and the struggles for power, sex, and greed are as present in the church as without. The world has invaded the church. And, as Paul writes, evil generally overcomes good - so the church fails in its mission.
1 Corinthians 15:33 (NKJV)
33 Do not be deceived: "Evil company corrupts good habits."
The church lacks holiness, the desire and drives to be pure of the things of the world. The state of faith is poor in today's church because the church is far from pure and holy. The church is too much of the world. The church is too involved in the things of modern society, the things of the world. The past hundred years has driven theology to preach a gospel of peace and love. Yet, we must understand the clearest command is to love God with all of our heart. This love is for the things of God - the thing of holiness. Only when we are holy and pure may we love our neighbors as we are commanded by Scripture.
Matthew 22:36-40 (NKJV)
36 "Teacher, which is the great commandment in the law?"
37 Jesus said to him, "You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind."
38 This is the first and great commandment.
39 And the second is like it: "You shall love your neighbor as yourself."
40 On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets."
As we have seen in our study, the prayer of Jesus is that we be different. We are to be in the world, but not of the world (John 17). Elsewhere in John Jesus tells us we will have tribulation and persecution. This is the price of being different.
John 15:18-19 (NKJV)
18 "If the world hates you, you know that it hated Me before it hated you. 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.
John 16:33 (NKJV)
33 These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Yet, modern man hates conflict and turmoil. The "buzz" word of the past ten years has become tolerance. The world desires tolerance and love. The church desires tolerance and love. The church wants to fit in. The church avoids persecution at almost all costs. This is wrong!
We are warned of persecution. The Bible is replete of verses about persecution of God's people - both in the Old and New Testaments. The church needs to stand up for God and His holiness. The church needs to separate itself from the world and become holy. The church needs to be more like what the Bible says we are to be.
The church needs to be holy!