By J. Mark Jordan
The Scriptures plainly declare that, without holiness, no man can see the Lord. The Bible also admonishes us, “Be ye holy; for I am holy.” Regardless of how holiness gets defined, no Bible believer can dismiss the whole notion as unimportant or passé. Maintaining a holiness emphasis, although it is a tough job, falls to the “watchman on the wall.” In New Testament vernacular, that means pastors and elders. The later the prophecy clock shows, the more the church needs a strong reminder that watchmen see danger on the horizon. Like a slow, degenerative disease, worldliness creeps in incrementally, changing the face of the church from Christ-likeness to a fearful reflection of the present age. Holiness is not a “holdover”; holiness is integral to our relationship with God. How then should holiness be defined? Holiness has measurable values displayed in a tangible, visible lifestyle, not just in rhetoric. To deny this is to deny the bulk of New Testament writings.
Every serious disciple, therefore, soon pursues the path of holiness after salvation. Since this pathway directly impacts the issues of life, we who follow Jesus find ourselves dealing with dos and don’ts in the way we live. For example, think of a surgeon who understands the importance of hygiene but does nothing to implement hygienic practices in his surgical procedures; or an educator who has mastered educational theory, yet her classroom is in disarray. Likewise, true believers must take what they know about serving God and put it into practice. Here is a practicum to follow that will get you started or will provide a checkup along the way.
Place the impulses of the flesh under strict control.
Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof (Romans 13:14).
Coveting, wrong affection, and uncontrolled desires will destroy you.
Take great care what you allow your eyes to see.
I will set no wicked thing before mine eyes: I hate the work of them that turn aside; it shall not cleave to me (Psalm 101:3).
Guard your eye-gate from viewing evil by any medium.
Stop cursing, profanity, gossip, and abusive language.
Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, 0 LORD, my strength, and my redeemer (Psalm 19:14).
Vulgar language, dirty jokes, and idle gossip offend the Spirit of God.
Do not defile or misuse your body.
What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (I Corinthians 6:19).
Alcohol, tobacco, drugs, or anything that harms the body displeases God. We should glorify God in our bodies.
Avoid evil communication.
But now ye also put off all these; anger; wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth (Colossians 3:8).
Sever ties with people who will negatively affect your walk with God.
Long hair on women pleases God.
But if a woman have long hair, it is a glory to her: for her hair is given her for a covering (I Corinthians 11:15).
This scriptural standard depicts the image God has chosen for His handmaidens.
It is a shame for a man to have long hair.
Doth not even nature itself teach you, that, if a man have long hair, it is a shame unto him? (I Corinthians 11:14).
Men’s hair should not be left uncut as a woman’s. Moreover, the hair issue, for both men and women, becomes a holiness issue because it involves our appearance to the world. People shape their opinions of others based on what they see and hear.
Do not indulge in sinful and perverse practices.
Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry (Colossians 3:5).
The Word of God clearly condemns a perverted, unnatural lifestyle, as well as all related practices. We do not excuse or accommodate them. We forsake them as the works of the flesh they are.
In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with braided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array (I Timothy 2:9).
The Bible emphasizes a modest appearance for men and women. It sends a strong message that the outer person takes a back seat to the inner person. Jewelry, make-up, and revealing or suggestive clothing have no place in the life of the disciple of Jesus.
Flee fornication. Every sin that a man doeth is without the body; but he that committeth fornication sinneth against his own body. (I Corinthians 6:18).
The special relationship between husband and wife retains its honor only within the covenant of marriage. True disciples hold themselves above sexual sin.
Maintain a difference between men and women.
The woman shall not wear that which pertaineth unto a man, neither shall a man put on a woman’s garment: for all that do so are abomination unto the Lord thy God. (Deuteronomy 22:5)
The world became confused years ago, but committed Bible-believers continue to honor the God-created gender differences in human beings. When women wear skirts and men wear trousers, that difference is evident to all.
Be an example to all believers.
Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity (I Timothy 4:12).
We must model in our bodies the beliefs we maintain in our hearts. When people around us look in our direction, they need to see holiness and godliness.
Diligent discipleship calls for extensive personal research into every issue related to holiness. It is enough, however, to remember that living a holy life continues to be extremely important to discipleship. Just as deflated currency in an economy translates into worthless dollars, so also deflating the reasonable meaning of Scriptures into useless drivel ultimately devalues the holiness concept. If living a sanctified life is to deliver any measurable real-life impact, it must be defined, weighed, and quantified.
This article “A Holiness Practicum” was taken from “Sharpening the View” by J. Mark Jordan and may be used for study and research purposes only.