By Charles Yeakel
A principle is defined as “a fundamental truth or law; a moral rule or settled reason of action.” While the Bible does not mention every individual sin possible or many current issues facing us today, we can apply Biblical principles of holiness to determine the proper Christian perspective. Let me share with you nine principles of holiness.
- LOVE NOT THE WORLD — “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1 John 2:15)
The word “world” here is the Greek word kosmos which refers to an ordered system. It is the order of things within which humanity moves and which humanity is the center; the customs, values, and habits of a sinful society.
The world consists of the lusts of the flesh (ungodly desires that appeal to our bodies), the lust of the eyes (ungodly desires that appeal to our eyes), and the pride of life (that which exalts and promotes self). You cannot love the world and God at the same time.
- DO NOT BE CONFORMED TO THIS WORLD — “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
The word “conformed” comes from a Greek word from which we get the word “schematic” (pattern, design). The Amplified Bible says, “Do not be fashioned after and adapted to its external, superficial customs.” Every Christian experiences peer pressure at school, on the job, by unsaved family members and friends, the media, etc. to conform to worldly views.
- COME OUT AND BE SEPARATE — “Therefore “COME OUT FROM AMONG THEM AND BE SEPARATE, SAYS THE LORD. DO NOT TOUCH WHAT IS UNCLEAN, AND I WILL RECEIVE YOU” (2 Corinthians 6:17)
God’s call to Abraham, the father of faith, was to separate himself from his idolatrous family and country. Likewise, the word “church” comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means “the called out ones.” God is calling us to separate from sin, false religion, and ungodly living in order to follow Him. In fact, the promise of His acceptance of us into the family of God is based in part on our separation from sin (2 Corinthians 6:18).
- ABSTAIN FROM EVERY FORM OF EVIL — These are the words of 1 Thessalonians 5:22. To abstain means to shrink back or avoid. There are certain activities that are not evidently evil but may appear evil to others and ruin our testimony. Other times, it may not be the activity, but the atmosphere that is not conducive. To good questions to ask yourself in light of God’s Word are:
Would Jesus do this? (We are to walk even as He walked – 1 John 2:6.)
Will this activity lead me further away from God? (If in doubt, don’t do it – Romans 14:23.)
- DO NOT DEFILE YOUR BODY — “Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” (1 Corinthians 3:16-17)
To defile is to contaminate; to make dirty or filthy; to pollute. Since our bodies are dwelling places for a holy God, we are admonished not to defile them. Any activity that destroys or harms your body is wrong (ex: gluttony, anorexia, alcohol, narcotics, tobacco, etc.).
- DISTINCTION OF THE SEXES — “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God:” (1 Corinthians 6:9-10 KIV)
The Apostle Paul mentions effeminate men, but we also know that biblical commands have a counterpart; in this case, masculine women. In God’s divine order, men and women have unique roles. Blurring of the genders only leads to confusion in society.
- MODESTY — “In like manner also, that the women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with propriety and moderation, not with braided hair or gold or pearls or costly clothing,” (1 Timothy 2:9)
To be modest is to have self-respect; not to be flirtatious or seductive in appearance or conduct. We are constantly bombarded with immodesty in our society. Yet, a person who is immodest is just as guilty as the person who lusts after him or her.
- MODERATION — “Let your moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand” (Philippians 4..5 KJI0 To be moderate is to not be excessive or elaborate. Moderation shows temperance and self-control.
- HUMILITY — “Likewise you younger people, submit yourselves to your elders. Yes, all of you be submissive to one another; and be clothed with humility, for “GOD RESISTS THE PROUD, BUT GIVES GRACE TO THE HUMBLE. ” ” (1 Peter 5:5)
True humility is an absence of pride, an honest awareness of one’s weaknesses, and the disposition to ascribe to God and others the credit for what one has accomplished. It is evident in attitude, appearance, and conduct.
By applying these basic principles of Christian lifestyle and conduct, we can live in true holiness in the midst of a sinful world.