Saturday, July 12, 2014

HOLINESS: How Much Is Enough To Please God?

"Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord." -Hebrews 12:14

True or false 
1) Holiness is required to see God?
2) It is good to judge your holiness compared to that of other people?
3) It is good to sin once this year?
4) It is good to stop judging by appearances and to make a righteous judgment, such as to always compare yourself to Christ?
5) You are holy compared to Christ?

If only 1 and 4 are true, how can you possibly go to heaven without this verse being a lie? 

Could it be that holiness is all about God setting you apart to be different from the world to have your life in true righteousnessgoodness as all or nothing and given as a gift in the death of Christ? The world is all about personal righteousnessdoing your best to do what you think is good, but of course not perfectly. What if good behavior (joyful one-way love) is simply a natural response to actively remembering your life--the finished work of Christ in your place? This removes all heaviness and all hypocrisy from holiness for every Christian, in every culture in all times. It makes life a celebration rather than a chore.

Addendum. Today I posted this piece on the Oasis Books FaceBook page and later read it to a Christian friend who said that he thought all Christians would answer the true or false questions identically. If that is true, then we Christians have generally understood and explained holiness artificially at best, that is, far too much in terms of behavior with a natural connection to righteousness hidden in some fog. Have you ever heard Hebrews 12:14 explained as a statement of identity in Christ rather than of obedience to God's moral commands? 

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