What A Privilege
By E.L. Holley
Holiness! To the pharisaical legalist, it’s a set of well-written rules covering every aspect of life. To the carnally minded, it’s a wet blanket designed to quench the excitement of living. To the religionist, it represents the cold, musty corridors of the past through which renowned reformers of lofty scholarship walked cloaked in monastic robes.
But to the true born-again child of God, it is the very nature of his or her Lord and Savior. It is the central attribute of mercy, love and grace, without which, there would be no redemption, no salvation. “Holiness” is a beautiful word to the Redeemed of the Lord!
The call to separation is an expression of Divine love. Of the Redeemed, He said, “I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you, and will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty” (II Corinthians 6:16-18).
What a privilege! To have been cleansed in His Blood and admitted by His grace into the Holy family- to have the Holy One of Eternity dwelling in us, walking in us, honoring us as His own sons and daughters: that is beyond the limits of human comprehension!
God uses the Church to mother us into His family. After our initial salvation experience, that body performs a vital, continuously redemptive work. So we thank God for a Church which constantly calls us to a closer walk with Him!
A few years ago, an organizational body which had been known as a “holiness Church” for over one hundred years met in Fort Worth, Texas, in conference. At the close of the convention, they had revised their position to such an extent that many of their ministers returned home disillusioned and disgusted. A liberal element of that group (a minority) had made constitutional changes which they felt would enable people to feel comfortable wearing cosmetics, engaging in mixed bathing, wearing clothing once considered immodest, and a number of similar matters. With the stroke of a constitutional pen, thousands of sermons and a long history of “holiness living” was swept away.
Within a month of that occasion, another body which was also once referred to as a “holiness church” decided they were going to have to return to Wesleyan principles to some degree, because their group was dying. That discernible death was attributed to their lack of belief in anything. They had gone so far that their preachers were afraid to mention abortion, homosexuality, divorce and remarriage. And one of the presiding bishops asked their conference, “Would you want to join a church where no one agreed with anyone else on anything?” They are struggling to pick themselves up.
We cannot follow these faulty paths. To depart from the way of holiness is to enter the broad way that leads to destruction. The way of the transgressor is hard. Why consider such a thing? Take note of Paul’s clearly defined imperative: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God” II Corinthians 7:1). His reasoning is strong. Since such a holy God extends such a privilege to redeemed sinners, we ought to commit ourselves to lives of holiness: uncontaminated, cleansed, made holy by His Holy Spirit. How could we do less? To be holy-what a privilege! It is to be like Him!
(The above information was published by THE GOSPEL TIDINGS, September 1993)
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