I hate the thought of trying to be holy. It is a tiresome thought. It brings back memories of my youth, when I was scolded when my hair grew too long, or I wanted to go to a movie theater, or – God forbid – take a girl to a dance. To be fair, it was not my parents who scolded me for such things; it was the church. Holiness is so misunderstood, even by those who preach it and practice it, and -because it is so misunderstood, the struggle to be holy has scared off many who seek Christ.
1. Christian holiness is not the following of the Ten Commandments. While I truly believe that the Ten Commandments are the basis of good government and holy living, I don’t believe that following those commandments make one holy. Obedience to those commandments may make one morally strong, it will not make one pure. Holiness is not a life full of “Thou Shalts” and “Thou Shalt Nots,” rather such commandments serve to chain us, enslave us.
2. Christian holiness is not about obeying church bylaws. Rules and regulations within the church are fluid, changing from denomination to denomination, from generation to generation. As a boy, I visited a revival service where the evangelist preached that if we had not spoken in tongues today, we had likely lost our salvation. I can list dozens of rules that were once written in church manuals that have now fallen by the wayside. I realize now that what passed for Christian holiness then was nothing more than a struggle to maintain cultural norms in a changing society.
3. Christian holiness is not about church attendance. I understand wanting to be at church at every opportunity. Sunday morning, Sunday evening, and Wednesday night services once were the norm for a Christian in American culture. But, being in church every time the door is open does not make one holy.
4. Christian holiness is not about serving or tithing. I believe in giving of both my money and my time, but neither of those make one holy. One cannot be holy by what one does. Holiness is not about service, actions, church attendance, tithing, or keeping the rules.
Face it, it is impossible for sinful, fallible humans live a life of Christian holiness. You may as well give up and stop trying.
It is simply impossible for a human to be holy. There is only one who is holy: Jesus Christ. It seems a paradox, but the first step to Christian holiness is the realization that you can never achieve it. The second step is the absolute surrender of your will to Christ. The next step is building a relationship with the one who created you, died for you, and was raised from the dead for you. Only an active, ongoing, daily walk with Christ can lead to holiness. Do you want to live the life of Christ? Then spend every moment that you can in prayer. Do you want others to see Christ through you? Then praise Him with every breath you take. Do you want to know what it means to really be Christ-like? Then devote your life to God’s Word.
Christ says in Luke 10.27 there are only two commandments that matter: “YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.”
Those two commandments will be the focus of this blog.