Posts Tagged ‘be holy’

Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy–meditate on these things. Philippians 4:8

There is a popular pastor, sociologist, author, and speaker (who will remain nameless here) who likes to speak in a manner that disturbs the listener so that they might think more deeply on the subject matter he presents. The technique is cleverly concealed by his adroit sense of humor, so only occasionally are folks enraged. In one of his more popular speeches he uttered a popular four-letter word in order to shock the audience and thus make a point. It’s said in many circles that the message was successful, so much so that this singular line is cited both in and out of the church when the subject is broached.

Three points I want to raise (without disturbance or humor):

  1. Is Jesus pleased?
  2. Do the ends justify the means?
  3. Should Christians emulate the behavior?

The answer to all three  is no — Jesus is not pleased. He would never have us sin to make a point. Good results do not justify bad behavior. Hence, this is a style that no follower of Christ should copy.

There’s no getting around the Word of God:

“But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth.” Colossians 3:8

Am I judging this preacher/sociologist/author/speaker?


…but not unto condemnation. I am judging him for the purpose of identification — he is an example of what not to do. This manner should not be copied (or even cited) regardless of how effective we think the technique is. The truth of the matter is that when we purposely sin (and using profanity is a sin), we are operating in the flesh and not in the Spirit.

My brethren, let not many of you become teachers, knowing that we shall receive a stricter judgment. For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. James 3:1-2

It bears repeating: I am not judging this man unto condemnation. Each of us has stumbled in word at one time or another. We are all sinners saved by grace. The issue is that we should learn from each other’s mistakes, not repeat them lest we glorify the deeds of man, and thus dishonor, disrespect, and disobey God.

Turning Away

I don’t know if this man ever repented, and frankly, it’s not any of my business. But as believers in Christ Jesus, and His followers, we should be filtering everything we ingest through the Word of God. If the things we see and hear do not hold up to the Father‘s scrutiny, they should be summarily rejected.

Let no man be fooled into going backwards.

This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But you have not so learned Christ, if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.  Ephesians 4:17-23

  1. What do these verses say about God?
  2. What do they say about us?
  3. What should be our response? 

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“Speak to all the congregation of the children of Israel, and say to them: ’You shall be holy, for I the Lord your God am holy’…You shall keep My statutes. You shall not let your livestock breed with another kind. You shall not sow your field with mixed seed. Nor shall a garment of mixed linen and wool come upon you.” Leviticus 19:2 + 19

It’s all about holiness. We have been created as a people who might recognize that we have been set apart for a specific use—God’s good will. If you have ever been confused why God made you, there’s your reason—stop being confused. Once we get with the program (God’s program that is) everything begins to make sense and wrestling with His agenda only serves to obstruct the flow of His blessing. But that’s just a part of the holiness equation…

Holiness = Wholeness

I don’t mean to be flippant about it, but God is One happy Guy and He wants us to share in this His delight. Read through His holiness doctrine prescribed in the 19th chapter of Leviticus. Essentially God is saying that adherence to these divine values will result in holiness; an assurance of wholeness for a specific godly purpose. Our Father, via holiness, wants us to live the fullest life possible on earth as preparation for the life we will live eternally with Him. Leviticus 19 is the formula.

Peculiar Edicts

Most of the Levitical canon makes sense to us. Reverence for parents, keeping Sabbaths, and turning away from idols all appear to be logical pursuits that might lead a believer towards holiness. However we may ask what cross-breeding cattle, planting diverse crops, and fusing linen and wool into garments has to do with the subject. I submit to you that God was not merely outlawing these practices for the prohibition’s sake, but rather because in our observance of them we would habitually remember that God hates mixture.

Crossbred Cattle

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what fellowship has righteousness with lawlessness? And what communion has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

It is a basic tenant—God does not want us tethered to nonbelievers. We are certainly called to be among them and to share freely and lovingly with them, but there is a line we must not cross lest our holiness (and wholeness) be affected. A person’s salvation is not necessarily in jeopardy, but their capacity to be full in the Lord. It is true that some unequally yoked Christians have guided their unbelieving spouses over, but these occurrences are rare and usually result in the believer being pulled asunder.

Variable Seeded Fields

The seed is the word of God. Luke 8:11b

Throughout the Bible, seed is a euphuism for the Word of God. It should be obvious to every follower of Christ Jesus that we cannot combine doctrines from other false religions, even if we see similarities. Additionally it is an all to common practice for Christians to quote non-Christian sources and secular writings. The danger of course is that in so doing we erroneously give credence to those sources. Please think about that before the next time you desire to reference Gandhi, Mark Twain, etc.

Linen and Wool

And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses. Revelation 19:14

The analogy might be a stretch, but it is applicable: linen is light and un-burdensome, while wool is heavy and hot. Nowhere in the Bible do we see God’s people striving away in woolen garments—Jesus said His yoke is easy and His burden is light, so isn’t it fitting that the spiritual garments we sport be likewise. There are certainly practical reasons why stitching wool and linen together is a inane pursuit and likely a source for numerous sermons, but in abstention we recall God’s disdain for impurity.

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