Or Is Holiness a Hoax?
Holiness defines God’s character, first and foremost. It is His complete “otherness” that distinguishes Him from us. He is “separate” from all creation.
Yet both Testaments command God’s people to be holy (Lev. 20:26, 1 Pet. 1:16). This three-time holy God makes holiness an imperative—”Be ye holy.”
Anyone who has thought deeply about the “HOLY ONE” has some recognition of the evil of his own heart. In fact, apart from being convicted of sin, no one would trust Christ’s cross-work for forgiveness. If you are saved, you know you have sinned and come short of God’s glory.
After one is saved, he comes to repeated revelations of the depravity potential still resident within. So, is holiness possible? And if so, to what degree? How does “positional holiness” become practical? Can this bent toward badness be displaced? Is a pure heart possible?
“Crisis holiness”teaches that there is an experience which severs the cord of indwelling sin and purifies the heart. Though not every judgment is perfect, at least the motives are purified. “Performance holiness” prescribes stopping wrong behaviors and beginning proper behaviors. A lot of altar calls are based on the issue of performance as relates to the externals to be avoided and preferences that are favored. “Progressive holiness (sanctification)” teaches that Christ-likeness is a process that stretches over a lifetime. It is a gradual, ever-increasing walk in godliness.
But there is another view which I call the “no-holiness-now” position. I am reading a book by one who claims a “high-view of God”, but seems to me to have a weak view of grace. He continually reiterates: “You don’t have a pure heart”, “No one has a pure heart”, “You will never have a pure heart.” Then he goes on to reference “transforming grace.”
If I don’t have a pure heart, and no one has a pure heart, and no man will ever have a pure heart, then what kind of “grace” is this? Did God mock us when He said, “Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God”? To be candid, I find these introspective, cerebral ramblings very discouraging. If heart purity is impossible, why are we exhorted—”perfecting holiness in the fear of God”? Is holiness on planet earth a pipe dream—a hoax?
If we are so shot-through with sin that every motive, much less actions, is never free from contamination, then where is the “good news” in that sort of gospel? Does grace “kick-in” in the afterlife only, or do the possibilities of grace offer freedom from sin on earth?
Does a Christ-centered, cross-centered gospel break the power of indwelling sin? It seems to me we have a host of individuals who can analyze the problem. Their preaching majors on “You’re not…” But what we really need is a message of “You CAN and HERE’S HOW!” Holiness must be a divine work, but it clearly carries human responsibility as well. “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of flesh and spirit”, was Paul’s challenge to the Corinthians (1 Cor. 7:1).
This is not intended as a declaration as much as an appeal for input. Many of us need help toward personal holiness. If you can shed some light on the matter of obtaining and maintaining a pure heart, then respond below. Your constructive thoughts, PLEASE.
Click here to read part 2 of this article – Is Holiness Possible? Why Extremes Do Harm