What About Holiness?

It is easy and cheap to exhort/preach/teach/correct “immature” people to “standards of holiness.”

You can browbeat people into holiness. But the result well be a well-managed, orderly, neat, prim and proper . . .  prison camp, not the beautiful bride and body of Christ. You can get behavior modification if you preach holiness hard enough. The unregenerate nature loves to perform to standard, especially if incentivized with the prospect or religious reward or promotion in religious systems as a result. Shoot, you do not even need the Spirit of God, nor need to be born again to modify ones behavior to “biblical standards.” Lots of cultists do exactly that.

On the other hand, it is difficult and costly to lay our lives down for weak, failing, “morally deficient” human beings/believers,  manifesting incarnational love, gain access into their hearts, and once safely in their hearts, like a father with his children, reveal the Holy One, who Himself, will bring forth “holiness” as a fruit of the life and love of God exchanged between people in love with each other.

When the foundations of love (the REAL thing, not the cheap stuff we prattle on about) are established, the fruit of holiness is as logical an outcome as green grass after a rain. Trying to establish holiness without love will inevitably produce one of two outcomes: A culture of resentment toward authority, or a culture of legalism.

Copyright 2012,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.swordofthekingdom.com. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact stephcros9@aol.com.

7 comments on “What About Holiness?

  1. Thank you for this post. This speaks directly to my past experience. In the last few years the Lord has been graciously teaching me to live from His life and in His grace. Now that I have 3 boys under age 7 I am struggling continually to know how not to raise legalists nor despisers of authority. I am inevitably repeating a lot of the expectations in my parenting that I received to conform behaivor. However, to find the balance of loving patience and teaching and loving discipline and not allowing them to get away with things or attitudes that will not serve them in the future. I so want to raise my children in the grace and discipline of the Lord but don’t want to create legalists that feel they need to perform for acceptance and love. This certainly drives me to the Lord cause I can’t do it. So this post speaks to me on that level as well.

    • Thanks, Seth, I understand. I made all the mistakes possible as a man, husband and father. I am who I am today by the power of the redeeming grace of God, not because I was so clever.

  2. Thank you for this post. This speaks directly to my past experience. In the last few years the Lord has been graciously teaching me to live from His life and in His grace. Now that I have 3 boys under age 7 I am struggling continually to know how not to raise legalists nor despisers of authority. I am inevitably repeating a lot of the expectations in my parenting that I received to conform behaivor. However, to find the balance of loving patience and teaching and loving discipline and not allowing them to get away with things or attitudes that will not serve them in the future. I so want to raise my children in the grace and discipline of the Lord but don’t want to create legalists that feel they need to perform for acceptance and love. This certainly drives me to the Lord cause I can’t do it. So this post speaks to me on that level as well.

  3. How true/true/true. This word prattle, is that in greek text for BS? If, so, then have had much prattle, as in freely I have received/freely I have given. The simple clarity to what you say on this, rings so true for me. The browbeating and the easy way came too easy, Steve. Full head dressed corrector in chief along with single feathered little correctors in chiefs?
    Resulting, in the church of the “Gulag”

  4. You and the Apostle Paul both know how to craft long sentences!

    ‘You do not even need the Spirit of God, nor need to be born again to modify ones behavior to “biblical standards.”’ resonates with me because most of the legalism I was raised with had very clear, man-made definitions of what constituted holy living…you know the, ‘I don’t smoke and I don’t chew, and I don’t go with girls who do’ kind of perspective.

    1 Peter 1:1-2 (NET) From Peter…to those…who are chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father by being set apart by the Spirit for obedience and for sprinkling with Jesus Christ’s blood. May grace and peace be yours in full measure!

    To me ‘being holy’ now is something the Holy Spirit has done rather than an accounting of my actions and individual deeds. What a freedom in discovering my position in Christ…holy.

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