Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Thoughts on Holiness

Holiness and Righteousness have been on my mind a LOT lately. I'm not quite sure how I feel on the subject right now. I tend to want it to be ambigous, but the bible seems to make it very clear. I'm still trying to define and figure it all out and, I thought blogging on the subject may help me.

Here are some verses I looked up today:
Romans 6:19 "I put this in Human terms because you are weak in you natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurities and ever increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to Holiness."

Hebrews 12:10 and 14 "Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness....Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord."

Ephesians 5:4 "Nor should there be obscenity, foolish talk, or coarse
joking, which are out of place, but rather thanksgiving."

There are many verses on how God wants us to be righteous, I don't have the patience to look them all up and post them right now.

It appears to me that in our generation (or society or whatever) the desire to be holy is too often looked on as being intolerant, judgmental, or self-righteous and not as trying to live a life of love and purity seeking after God's heart. I have noticed many Christians (mostly my age or younger) turn their back on Holiness and are embarrassed or even offended by those who seek it. I know I have felt those things myself in the past and even some lately. As I get older I'm beginning to come to a place where my "religion" is more about my personal relationship with Christ then it is about what others are thinking or doing. I'm finding more freedom in this and the desire to be Holy is slowly creeping it's way back into my heart. I'm no longer able to turn my back on it because it keeps showing up! I have been feeling really convicted lately in regards to the way I speak, the way I think, and how I spend my money.

One verse on Righteousness I do want to post is this:
Galatians 2:21 "I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness could be gained through the law, Christ died for nothing!"

I'm including that verse because I want to make it clear that I'm in no way implying that the pursuit of righteousness is in an effort to earn salvation. Also, I don't believe that God considers a judgmental heart to be Holy. It's not about what others are doing, it's a personal thing. I don't believe holiness is more important than love - I think it flows out of love.

James 1:27 "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."

I'm still figuring it out but these are my thoughts for now.


Scott said...

This is really good Steph. You're right about our generation really failing here. People look at goofs like Jerry Fawell and Pat Robertson and think they are overly judgmental and that the reaction to that should be to be less judgmental and not worry about sin, or at least not worry about minor sin.

The truth is the opposite.

People like these should force us to live out or convictions and speak the truth in love so that we can be a light against their hatred. (By theirs I mean the Robertson's type)

The Bible teaches us that we are dead to sin and that we are no longer slaves to it, but slaves to righteousness. To me that means we have power to overcome sin. Not our own power, but Christ's. I think one of the big reasons the Church is ineffective today is that there is no power in it.

Anyway, I just thought what you wrote was really good and especially relevant. But me agreeing with you probably makes you change your mind. :)

Scott said...

It's also important to note that I don't claim to actually be righteous by any of my own works. I don't mean to come across like that.

Crystal said...

Yes Steph this is a really excellent post. Thank you for sharing it with us. I agree with you too and I have also been feeling convicted in the same way. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts on this.

I also really admire ability to express your self so well.