There is little or no emphasis on sin in the modern church. It lies breathing it’s last, buried below mega star preachers, flamboyant preaching, worship teams that could find work in many Broadway productions, large "crusades", exciting "revivals", one manmade creative program after the other, and glitz and glamour that Hollywood could be proud of. Yet the Bible says "Without Holiness, No Man Shall See God!" (Hebrews 12:14) in view of which perhaps it would be wise to know exactly what it means by “holiness”.
The Myth of Faith Alone Perhaps one of the all time greatest delusions in the Christian world, is the innumerable number of people who are under the impression that, in order to be forgiven their sins and thus inherit eternal life, all they have to do is believe Jesus died for their sins on the cross. The vast majority of Christians would tell you to "accept Jesus as your personal savior", "ask Jesus into your heart" etc. However, while the terminology may vary, the answers would almost all boil down to all you have to do is believe... all you have to do is have faith. What one never, or very rarely, hears is that anything other than faith is required to be saved. In fact the suggestion that anything other than faith is required for salvation, is not only militantly opposed by most of Christendom, but denounced as an unbiblical, works based, false teaching. But is this true? While it is certainly a fact that the Bible teaches that faith is an essential ingredient, without which it is impossible to please God, it never ever teaches that faith is the only requirement for salvation.
What is Holiness? In the 21st century, the word "Holy" is often used to describe someone who is self-righteous, smug, sanctimonious, goody-goody, priggish etc. Even to most Christians, the word "holy" implies moral goodness. However, this is only part of the meaning. Holiness Is Being Set Apart: As said by James Patrick Holding "While holiness certainly implies goodness, the core meaning of holiness, it is not "good" but rather "set apart", and therefore, "good". However, since it is obvious that we cannot physically leave this planet, how do we 'come out from among them'? Holiness Is Also Moral uprightness: When Abraham was instructed to "be perfect" in Genesis 17:1 (KJV) and Noah was described as such in Genesis 6:9 (KJV), the Scriptures are speaking of moral uprightness. Jesus echoed His Father's instructing His listeners to "be perfect" however, sin causes us to fall short. If you find yourself in the position of falling over and over again, it is time to go beyond good intentions, and employ a more concrete strategy to defeat whatever it is that is tempting you.
The Armour of God Paul's words in Ephesians 6:10-18 are, doubtless, very familiar to most Christians. To be noted is, virtually all the weapons mentioned are defensive weapons. In fact, Paul emphasizes that we put on the full armour of God so that we may be able to withstand in the evil day, and, having done all, to stand. (Ephesians 6:13).
Are We Also Pharisees?
We, too, may set up rules, fences, and barriers that we feel will keep us on safe ground in keeping the Lord's commandments. Do we regard some of our traditions with as much authority as Scripture? Is it possible that we have set up fences of conduct for ourselves by which we also judge the conduct of others?
Jesus And The Law The Bible contains both Old and New Testaments each with seemingly different teachings and commands, which has led to more than a little confusion for those that have not grasped the seamless relationship between the Old and New Testaments, and struggle with the tension between the Old Testament emphasis on regulations and the New Testament emphasis on grace. Certainly many Christians are not clear what our relationship to the Old Testament should be, especially when it comes to the Old Testament Laws in general and the Ten Commandments in particular, also the keeping of the Sabbath and/or other Feasts of the Old Covenant.
Nadab and Abihu
“Remember Nadab and Abihu!" has been the mantra of rigid religiosity for generations. There is no question that these two sons of Aaron committed "sin unto death." For our God to punish them as He did (indicates extreme displeasure on His part with regard to their attitudes and actions. Something was greatly amiss but, what was it? Those who frequently use them as an example of why not to deviate from a particular pattern of worship seem to have missed what the brothers were really guilty of. Perhaps it would behoove us to first determine the exact nature of Nadab and Abihu’s fatal error.
Rewards in Heaven
Apparently there are those that will make it to heaven, but who have earned little or no additional rewards
Isaiah 64:6 has long been used as a ‘proof-text’ for two totally distinct yet equally unfounded beliefs. Calvinism uses it to establish the idea that everything the natural man does is wicked... even good deeds. This helps to set up the dogma of "total inability"... the engine which drives the entire Calvinist doctrine of salvation. The Evangelical uses it to show that good works, obedience, virtue are all useless. This sets the stage for the doctrine of "accepting Christ" through a once-for-all act of faith. But No one every quotes the verse in context.
The Problem With Creeds
The word creed is from the Latin credo, meaning, "I believe." Of course, there is nothing wrong in itself with stating a belief. This is, in fact, necessary if we will take a stand for truth. One might even agree generally with the teaching of the material in a creed; but a "creed" goes beyond stating a belief. It is essentially an authoritative statement of a particular position (or positions) to which others are expected to assent.
The Inclusiveness of Jesus It’s true that the inclusiveness of Jesus was extraordinary. Unlike his religious contemporaries, Jesus included among his followers those who were generally excluded from religious life, if not polite society - people such as tax-collectors, “sinners,” lepers, and women. Yet, the inclusiveness of Jesus was not of the “come as you are” sort. Jesus offered new, transformed life in the kingdom of God, not acceptance of all people as they were in their sinful state.