Saturday, September 11, 2010

Article on Holiness

I read an article on Holiness today I really enjoyed and wanted to share.  Please share your thoughts if you decide to read it!

Here is a few quotes from the article:
Quotes by: Josef Urban

This is talking about a false gospel that is being preached all over the world:
It preaches a salvation of forgiveness but not redemption. It teaches a form of justification by faith but not sanctification by faith. It preaches, “Ye must be born again” but doesn’t teach the marks of true regeneration. It teaches that a man becomes a new creature in Christ while he remains just the same. As a result, we have a gospel being spread abroad, which is another gospel (and no gospel at all), that says, “You can live in willful sin and still go to Heaven when you die”; containing a form of godliness that somehow forgives sins but contains no power to redeem from the current power and dominion of sin in the life of a believer. This is heresy, damnable heresy, that is deceiving multitudes of false professors of Christianity into “Hallelujah-ing” their way straight to Hell, and is something the true saints of God don’t want to be found touching with a ten-foot stick, unless they are using such a stick to bash it down with a holy violence like that of Jehu when he went on an idol-smashing rampage in tearing down the image of Baal (see 2 Kings 10:24-28).

Some, in attempting to combat the error of cheap grace, even go so far as to preach sinless perfection. This is error, serious error, and must be avoided as a deadly plague, lest we fall into the snare of the wicked one and cause the faith of some to be shipwrecked. What is “sinless perfection”? It is a doctrine that teaches that true Christians can attain to and live in a state of sinlessness, having no sin.

Notice going from one extreme to the other....

Some forms of it teach that from the moment one is truly born again, they must not and will never sin again, and that anyone who does not live and walk in such a state is not saved. It teaches a standard of absolute perfection, and that if a Christian is not perfect and without sin, then such a person is no Christian at all. It teaches that if somebody gets born again, but then stumbles into any form of sin, no matter how small, then they are immediately thrust back under the wrath of God until they repent again[i] (and for the reader who believes all sins are deserving of the same punishment, the Bible says that there are greater and lesser sins; see Matthew 23:14, Luke 17:1-2, John 19:11, 1 John 5:16). Thus, there is no assurance for the believer in the finished work of Christ on the Cross, or in the one and perfect offering for sin by the precious blood of the eternal Covenant. Instead the life of the Christian becomes a fearful and vicious cycle containing bouts of assurance and happiness when they think they are being holy enough, and condemnation and depression when they fail to meet the standards of perfect holiness.

Constantly over-emphasizing a high degree of holiness causes those who sit under such teaching, if they believe it, to examine themselves vigorously, over and over, to see if there is the smallest or tiniest degree of anything unholy in them. As extreme holiness is continually emphasized, they continue to examine themselves, and as soon as they find something unholy within themselves (and they most certainly will unless they are blind), they condemn themselves for it and fall into the trap of self-condemnation. They then continue to examine themselves almost endlessly, and their focus gets removed from Christ and His love, grace, and mercy, and their focus gets put on themselves and their works. Though they would never dare to admit it, according to the thinking of their own heart, their righteousness becomes based on their deeds, works, and performance before God, rather than in the finished work of the Cross through the faith of Christ and by the grace of God. Perfection becomes an obsession, and the sight of the Cross-is at a loss.

Rather than preaching in such a way as to convict sinners and strengthen the faith of the saints, many go to the error of extreme holiness and preach in such a way as to condemn both sinners and saints alike. Now, this is not to say that a true saint will never need to be convicted about anything, or that we should never preach hard messages. But our preaching needs to be designed in such a way that it is used by the Holy Spirit to convict rather than used by the Devil to condemn, and that it is useful for spiritual growth and not spiritual destruction. If our preaching doesn’t pierce through and cut asunder the hearts of men like a sharp, two-edged sword, then what we’re preaching isn’t the true Word of God! But, at the same time, if it doesn’t apply the healing properties of that blessed balm of Gilead after it wounds, and bind up the broken hearts with the bandages of Christ’s love, then it is harmful and potentially destructive to the souls of men, and truly, is no gospel (good news) at all. There is a fine line, and that line is determined by the perfect orderly balance of God’s wisdom according to the leading of the Spirit, and this line can be balanced on by soundly expounding upon the Word of God in direct context and with a view to practical application, focusing on the whole counsel of God and not just a single attribute of His infinitely manifold and perfect nature.

Oh, the trickery of it all! The masterfully orchestrated wiles of the devil! God forbid that we lay anything to the charge of God’s elect when it is God that justified them and they are following the Lord their God with all their heart! God forbid we join sides with the Accuser of the Brethren and condemn the consciences of God’s saints and destroy their faith! God forbid that we, through the good intentions of combating heresy, preach heresy ourselves! But on the other end, God forbid that we fail to preach holiness! God forbid we tolerate any known form of willful sin in the least! God forbid we fail to stand on the uncompromising truth of the word of God and declare the severity, justice, holiness and wrath of Almighty God!

Don’t dare say you are without sin before the face of God, lest you deceive yourself and think more highly of yourself than you ought. You, no matter how holy and righteous you are, need His mercy and grace just as much as the worst sinner that ever walked the face of the earth, and if you will be saved, it will only be by the same way that they will be saved: by grace through faith. The most holy saint needs the grace of God as much as the most wicked, undeserving sinner if any one of them is to be saved. In fact, the saint needs it even more so in order to maintain his walk with God every day. Neither one deserves God’s grace; it is a free gift of His sovereign mercy.

1 comment:

  1. A very powerful, thought-provoking article! What a balance there is between God's grace and His holiness.

    Looking forward to reading more of your blog!



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