By William Chalfant
Perfecting Holiness Still an Obligation
The apostolic ministry has the same obligation in the 2Oth century that it had in the first century that it had in the first century to maintain high standards of holiness. Even in the apostle Paul’s attack upon the legalistic excesses of Judaism and also in our Lord’s condemnation of Phariseeism’s errors there was no attempt to lessen the effect and the scope of God’s word or to undermine the authority of the church.
Apostolics Are Not With-Out Any Law
While we are no longer under the Law of Moses, Christians are not without any law. We are not a lawless people. Paul wrote that he was “not without law to God, but under the law to Christ” (I Cor. 9:21). Grace is not the enemy of obedience.
We should not think that because we are not under the Law of Moses that the authority of the 0.T. scripture no longer applies to us or that our ministry no longer has a right to preach it under the anointing. Our Lord said, “It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God” (Matt. 4:4, Deut. 8:3).
Paul wrote, “all scripture…is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness” (2 Tim. 3:16). It cannot be denied that this includes the Old Testament scripture.
Jesus did not come to destroy the law and the prophets (Matt. 5:17). As our Perfect Sacrifice He has fulfilled the ceremonial portion of the Law, but the principles enunciated in the moral and the civil portions of the Law are still applicable to the child of God today. Those principles are not destroyed by a change in dispensations.
Deut. 22:5 still applies today: “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”.
We cannot simply say that because we are under Grace that what is disgusting to our Lord is no concern of ours. This was written for the learning of the N.T. church (Rom. 15:4 and I Cor. 10:11). Some, however, are ever learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth (2 Tim. 3:7).
We should know that the principles in the word of God will not change. God is against confusion of the sexes. It is disgusting to Him. This principle is reaffirmed in I Cor. 6:9 where the Holy Ghost speaks of femininity in males. Men who act feminine and dress feminine are as disgusting to God as women who act masculine and dress masculine.
The New Testament “Elastic Clause”
Our congress exercises many “implied” powers that are not expressly stated in our constitution from a clause termed the “Elastic clause” (Art. I, Sec. 8), which gives congress the power to make “all laws necessary and proper.”
The Lord knew that there would be many things in the 2Oth century that were not known in the first century, and He has also placed “elastic clauses” in the N.T. so that His ministry could have the freedom to preach against any and all sin whether it is specifically named in the Bible or not.
For example, in Gal. 5:19-21, Paul lists many of the works of the flesh, but concludes with a scriptural elastic clause in the words “and such like.” Something does not have to be specifically named in the Bible for an apostolic preacher to preach against it. God knows what He is doing.
And then in I Tim. 1:5-10, the Bible speaks against the “lawless and the disobedient” along with others, and adds, “and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”
Man has made many inventions, and it is true that an invention can be neutral (used for either good or evil), but when an apostolic preacher sees an invention that is causing God’s people to lose their spirituality, he has an obligation to cry out against its use because it is contrary to sound doctrine. He does not need to see it specifically named in the word of God.
Apostolic Authority Overrides Private Interpretation of the Scriptures
We are not living in the charismatic days of the Judges when every one did that which was right in his or her own eyes (Judges 21:25). We also understand that the scriptures are not of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20). The Bible also interprets itself, because light from one passage will shed light on another passage. Out of the mouth of two or three witnesses shall every word be established (2 Cor. 13:1, Duet. l9:15). Anyone who has the Holy Ghost, or is seeking the Holy Ghost, will have their understanding opened up by Jesus (Luke 24:45) so that they might understand the scriptures. Moreover, God has commanded His ministers and saints to “rightly divide the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15). In order to insure this, He has placed Holy Ghost filled leaders in the church, pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints (Eph. 4:2). We are admonished by the Holy Ghost to obey them that have the rule over us (Heb. 13:17). We are not justified without faith, but neither are we saved without obedience. And we cannot obey the Lord Jesus without obedience to His God-called servants. Our interpretation of the scriptures cannot be private in contradistinction to what we consider to be that of godly leadership. We cannot take that of the church world and hold it up against apostolic leadership. God is not the author of confusion. He has not given us the spirit of Korah.
It is not “Legalistic” to Preach Holiness Standards
It is not “sound doctrine” to expect that the Lord would declare a principle of modesty in His word and then not expect that is should be taught and applied in His church. Moreover, it is unreasonable to believe that God’s leadership would have no say as to how this principle should be applied insofar as minimum standards (e.g., sleeve lengths) are concerned.
The fences that our fathers have built in preaching old fashioned holiness have not been designed to keep anyone in. Backsliders have no difficulty in leaving holiness standards. They are free to go. These standards were designed to keep the worldliness out. It is easier to tear down fences that it is to build them. As one of our leaders said recently: “Don’t tear down a fence until you know why it was put there. God has reason for its existence.”
(The above material was published by the Kansas Profile)
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