Every Christian is called to be holy. We are called to be many different things for which many claim to do well. But how about your holiness, before you answer that question, let’s unpack the meaning and its practical application … to your life. The etymology of the word is quite simple, to cut off or separate from, but the theological significance is much deeper and few ever plummet its depths. It’s this time of the year where the weeds seem to take over everything from beautiful green lawns from the previous year to those neat and organized flowerbeds ready to bring forth an array of beautiful flowers. To our shock and amazement we are not just fighting one kind of weed, but many different varieties; some being less trouble while others refuse to give up without a fight. Every gardener knows that even one weed is too many and every effort is taken to remove it. Friends, it is the same with our holiness. Evil is afoot and to be holy we must work at removing it completely. So how do we accomplish that?
The Bible gives a brief illustration as to why the law is holy, righteous, and good (see Rom. 7:7-12) which we should pay close attention to, because it will help us to identify the sin or evil in our life and pluck it out as a gardener does an unwanted weed. The Bible also says we should put off the old life as we would pull off an old tattered set of clothes giving multiple illustrations about the different sins that can easily beset a Christian. Notice that in either case the number and types of sins are not exhaustive, so it is imperative to search the Scriptures and allow the commands of God to penetrate our souls bringing about conviction and repentance. To do so will bring us to the realization that there are over 121 express commands in the New Testament alone for the believer in Christ to grapple with, digest, and use to purge the unwanted sins in our life. The good news is that Christians can count on God through His Holy Spirit to have the strength in Him to turn away from sin and purge it completely. Dear friends, this is only the first step in achieving holiness that God desires.
Unfortunately many Christians stop at this point and then can’t understand why the besetting sin comes creeping back into their miserable life. It is so heart breaking for me to see meaningful Christians slip back into their old sins and taken captive to do its will. How tragic it is to see them controlled by their old sin nature once again. And the reason why in almost every case, is they have not put anything in place of the old sin. To press the gardening analogy the gardener must now plant good seed and keep it fertilized so that the strength of the lawn will keep out the unwanted weeds. Once again, the Bible is our best authority giving us multiple illustrations on what to put in place of the old sin (See Eph. 4:22-32). Take a moment and read through this list of illustrations again keeping in mind that this list is not exhaustive. For example, in verse 25 it says, “Therefore each of you must put off falsehood” but it does not stop there; it continues by telling us what needs to be put in the place of falsehood by saying, “and speak truthfully to his neighbor” and then adds a reason why it needs to be accomplished by saying, “for we are all members of one body.” So here is the point, God’s command will show us our sin, convict us of it through His Holy Spirit, and then lead us to repentance, but then we must continue on by putting something in place of the old sin. Put off the sin, put on a righteous act.
Jesus Christ also gives us another illustration (or parable) about an individual who sweeps his house clean and then does not put anything in the place of it; so along comes Satan bringing with him many more demons to occupy the place making his state much worse than before (See Mt. 12:43-45). So you see it is very important not only to follow the “shall not’s” thus cleaning your house, but also to follow our religious duties driven by the spirit of love. Jesus Christ is always our best example. He lived His entire life not for himself, but for the sake of others. Out of love He fed the poor. Out of love He healed the sick and counseled the hurting with words of truth and life. His brother James also wrote: “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world” (James 1:27). The point is my friends, we should be so busy doing good to others that we never have enough time left in a day to follow our evil desires or be enticed by the many evil influences coming at us from the world. To be holy is our sure defense to stand firm as we fast approach the end of days.
Copyright © 2012 Rev. Daniel W. Blair – All content (blog articles) have been published in my new book: “Revelation Truth” available in our bookstore or at a bookstore near you.