Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations—“Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh. Col2:20-23
What is real holiness? Can you find it in the observance of religious ritual, the clothing you wear, the abstinence of make-up, jewelry, food or drink? The keeping of days, Sabbaths or festivals? Many professed Christians believe entirely that God’s Grace is imparted through these means. Not partaking in them is equal to a denial of the faith! But none of these things has any advantage against the lust of the flesh.
People can appear holy on the outside, dress properly and act the part, while their hearts remain Vile and full of deceit. The Pharisees were a perfect example of this kind of hypocrisy. They kept the outside of the Cup clean with observances, and at the same time they were plotting murder and desiring power. Professed Christians are no different. They remain self centered, wrapped up in the world, full of deceit and consider themselves safe because they attend church and help out with the functions.
The substitutes for Real Holiness are never ending. People consider someone who has dedicated their lives to charitable service to be holy and of God. Those who cloister themselves in religious orders are highly esteemed and even called Saints. Giving to charitable causes, sponsoring children or working on holidays in soup kitchens at the missions, gives people a sense of holy fulfillment. Any number of compassionate outreaches conducted by professing Christians fulfill the purpose of pious service.
Consider also the Positional aspect of this supposed holiness and the comfort it brings. Converts are told they are Pronounced Righteous in God’s sight when they believe in Jesus and He no long holds them accountable for their sin. Now they can operate within the parameters of their fleshly desires (Doing the good works and charitable deeds) and feel perfectly Holy because God accepts them as is. Under this System they can march in rallies, oppose gambling casinos and abortion clinics, petition for stricter enforcement of drunk driving laws and more! All done in the Name of God and to satisfy their own yearning to feel more holy.
Works, service, praise and worship have never been a problem among the professed religious. Most people are happy to lend a hand, donate their time and efforts to visitations, dinners, arranging pageants, decorating the church for some special event. Even hard labor to some extent when necessary. They will sing, praise, raise their hands, weep and act out all manner of emotional experiences believing God is on the move and His Spirit is among them. Emotional highs can serve as a strong persuasion that your religion is genuine and of God. People like to feel good about what they are doing and justified in their actions.
But Real Holiness is not found in any of these things. If it was we wouldn’t be any better off than the Pharisees themselves. Expressing our devotion to God through teachings and doctrines of men, while our hearts were divided and vile. (which is exactly the condition of the present day professed Christians!) Jesus turned the focus of Truth inward, ‘If you LOOK at a woman and lust of her in your heart, you have already committed the act of adultery!’ The Desire and the Will are connected. From the HEART proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness and blasphemies! (Matt15:19)
Certainly real holiness will be reflected in modesty, humility and consideration of others. True followers of Christ would never flaunt themselves in dress, prompt or circumstance to gain advantage. Nor would they show preference to the wealthy or politically connected. In food and drink they would seek not to offend. Truth would be their Banner and Love their objective.
However doing Holy things in the Name of God has NOTHING to do against the indulgence of the flesh. God said BE HOLY in all your CONDUCT, not pretend you are holy by doing religious things! Your Conduct is a Heart Condition. The Works of Faith are, Purity, Sincerity and love! Being Holy begins with the Divine Nature of Christ imparted to you by this faith. You ADD to it as instructed, through Obedience. Salvation originates in Repentance. Real conversion occurs ONLY when the heart Yields-Obeys God and DOES what He has Commanded in His Word.
True Holiness is being circumspect about God, not frivolous and irreverent. The Marks of real conversion are seen in the disposition toward the things of God. You are Careful not to offend Him, sensitive to sinful things, grieved about the sins of others. You LOVE His Word, Dig Deep into it for the Precious Nuggets of Truth and live your life accordingly. Remember when you Fell in Love for the first time? You lived to be with your chosen companion, NOTHING was more important than being together and experiencing one another’s fellowship and affections.
HOW MUCH MORE would you think a Soul brought from Darkness to Light, the Power of Satan to God, Renewed with the VERY Divine Nature of Christ would LOVE God! Do you REALLY think a person Born of God could Sit in a church surrounded by people living in sin, committing open adultery, engaged in all kinds of immoral behavior, still cussing, drinking, smoking, acting like nothing matters but the next form of entertainment and NOT be Broken hearted over their Delusion?
Unless you are one of them, still Darkened and Deceived, you WOULD NOT be able to fellowship and Partake with these people KNOWING they are on the Road to Hell in their sins and REMAIN Silent about it. The Holy Spirit Could Not Possibly be anywhere among the Present Day Churches. His PRIMARY Mission is to Convict the World of Sin, Righteousness and Judgment! (Jh16:8) His Very Nature is HOLY—Set apart, Separate from the World, Pure and undefiled! He Cannot Dwell in the Midst of Sin.
The WHOLE of Professed Christianity today is Preaching, ‘Come in Your Sins!’ Holiness is the farthest things from their Minds. From the Pastor right on down to the children’s Sunday School classes, EVERYONE Came into the Faith by ‘RECEIVING’ Jesus, Not Repenting of their sins. At Best they Confessed their sinfulness (which is their inability to do anything right) and then TRUSTED in what they were told about Salvation by Faith! (that it’s not of works, Jesus did it all and God loves you)
They were told NOTHING about PURITY of Heart by Obedience to the Faith. Clearing themselves of Wrong Doing by Repentance. Enduring to the End if they expect to inherit the Kingdom. Counting the Cost, Striving to Enter by Narrow Gate, Taking up their Cross, Denying themselves, Obeying the Word!
All this is secondary to their Salvation, not Mandatory toward the Outcome of it. They can be Holy if they FEEL like being holy, through the many rituals and activities of the church. They have plenty of time for God to clean them up. He took them in their sins; it’s all within His Time Table to fix the problems. If they remain wrapped up in the things of the world, sports, vain amusements, making money, getting more stuff, it’s really of no BIG Concern. The Preachers never say anything about their behavior and no one in the church cares. Everyone does their own thing, enjoys the ride, and assumes they are going to heaven when they die. But as Death takes them out one by one into the vastness of eternity, a hollowness settles over the church and the Empty destitute souls remaining shutter in the cold.
They look desperately within for some inkling of holiness as evidence God is among them, but the Vessel is empty. Unfit for the Masters Use! As it is found so it will be:
“He who is unjust, let him be unjust still; he who is filthy, let him be filthy still; he who is righteous, let him be righteous still; he who is holy, let him be holy still.” Rev22:11