In our society today, one word that had almost disappeared in the body of Christ is the word “holiness”. This is because preachers these days seldom use it. Even some preachers that were some years ago known as holiness preachers, the words have also disappeared from their lips.
One major reason is that such preachers don’t want to lose their members, as the majority of their church members detest hearing such words. Moreover, preachers seldom use the words because it will be hypocrisy on their part to preach holiness messages to their congregation while they are not living holy themselves.
Nevertheless, the apostle Paul while writing to the Corinthian church and the body of Christ urged us in 2 Corinthians 7:1 where he says, “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”.
The demand to live holy lives was first demanded from the Israelites as seen in Leviticus 11:45 where God told them, saying, “For I am the Lord, who brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God. You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy”.
The apostle Peter also amplified it in 1 Peter 1:14-16 saying, “As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.”
Perhaps the writer of Hebrew knew better about the importance of living holy lives when he urged us in Hebrew 12:14 saying that we should “Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”
That is to say that if seeing God is our heartbeat, then it is a must as we must learn to “Pursue peace with all people the and holiness”. Despite that, God urged us to be holy, yet one major reason the body of Christ jettisoned hearing the word “holiness” is because of the total absence of the fear of God in the body of Christ.
Perhaps it seems that the reason the fear of God is lacking in the body of Christ is that we are in the dispensation of grace. However, apostle Paul asked us a pertinent question in Romans 6:1 saying, “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound”?
This is so because it is because of grace and the lack of fear of God that believers, even ministers of the gospel are living for themselves rather than living for God. For that reason, they are living in sinful $exual pleasures, even with the female members of their church. They are doing things that if it took place in the bible time, the punishment of death would have visited the perpetrators.
For instance, Apostle Paul recounted what happened to the Israelites in the wilderness and warned us about committing sexual immorality that is now the order of the day.
This warning can be seen in 1 Cor 10:8 where Paul warned us saying, Nor let us commit sexual immorality, as some of them did, and in one day twenty-three thousand fell; Apostle Paul also warned us in 1 Cor 6:9-10 saying, Do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God?
Do not be deceived. Neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor homosexuals, nor sodomites, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners will inherit the kingdom of God.
Another instance is what happened to Ananias, with Sapphira his wife as seen in Acts 5:1-5 who died because they told lies, yet many ministers of the gospel are boldly lying on the pulpit, and it seems nothing is happening to them.
When we talk about perfecting holiness in the fear of God, we are not referring to following some laid down legalistic rules or showing false outward appearances as some people pretend.
Rather, it refers to what Paul in Acts 24:16 says as living a life that always has a good conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men. That is a life that is pleasing to God in all our actions and words.
In our day-to-day living, what will God and men say about us? Can God testify of us that our everyday lives are pleasing to him because we are living lives that have a good conscience void of offense toward God, and toward men?
Please that is of utmost importance because we should learn from what happened in Zechariah 3:1-3 which says, “Then he showed me Joshua the high priest standing before the Angel of the Lord, and Satan standing at his right hand to oppose him.
And the Lord said to Satan, exactly, “The Lord rebuke you, Satan! The Lord, who has chosen Jerusalem, rebuke you! Is this not a brand plucked from the fire?” Now Joshua was clothed with filthy garments and was standing before the Angel.
From what happened in the above Bible passage, Joshua, the high priest was clothed with a filthy garment which is exactly what happened when we soil ourselves with sinful pleasures. When this happens, the devil will have the boldness to stand at our right hand as he stood at the right hand of Joshua to oppose or resist us.
Apart from that, the book of Revelation 21:8 warned, saying, “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.
Please, the choice is ours, whether we are to live for God or live for ourselves in satisfying our sinful pleasures. To live for God in holiness is actually profitable while on the other hand, we will really suffer if we live for ourselves, in satisfying our sinful pleasures.
In other words, the choice is ours to make, whether to live for God or live for self. The choice is yours. Shalom!