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Last month we began a three part series dealing with some observations made by Dr. Bob Jones III. He spoke at a recent Michigan Association of Christian Schools meeting on the subject: of three harmful attitudes that he sees evident in the lives of many incoming freshman at Bob Jones University. The first of these was the "Give Me Attitude. " The second, which will
be discussed this month, is the attitude: "How holy do I have to be?"
Dr. Jones' observation is that many of the Christian young people
that he comes in contact with want to maintain the minimum, standard of
holiness. Their attitude is, "What is the least that I can do and still not get expelled", or "How much sin can I get away with and still be
be able to remain a student here". Certainly this type of thinking is
running rampart through our churches, and is being passed down from
worldly parents to their observant offspring. There is an epidemic of
carnality, and we need to go to the Great Physician for the cure.
The solution to the question of holiness is to take a look at God. In Isaiah 6, the prophet saw the Lord "high and puffed up." He saw the seraphims humbly covering themselves before the glory of God and crying out, "Holy, Holy Holy". Upon seeing this, Isaiah sees himself as being unclean. We as Christians have a tendency to compare ourselves with each other, which Paul says is not wise (II Cor. 10:12). We need to look instead at the holiness of Almighty God. How holy is the Lord? At the crucifixion we see that He is too holy to look upon sin, even when it is placed on His own Son. In Psalm 50:16 He will not allow the wicked to testify of Him. In Rev. 21:27 unredeemed men can not stand in His presence. In Prov. 21:4 man's best effort offend Him. In Isaiah 64:6 our righteousness appears to Him as filthy rage. In II Samuel 6 we see Uzzah killed for touching the ark even though he did it out of concern for the ark. These show us a Holy God who expects holiness from His creation, for He says "Be ye holy as I am holy" (I Peter 1:16).
So, how holy do I have to be? As holy as God is. According to I Thes. 4:7 we have been "called unto holiness". Ephesians 1:4 sates that the believer has been elected to holiness. Leviticus 19:2 coupled with I Peter 1:16 command holiness. This does not indicate an attitude of "what is the minimum acceptable standard?" This demands a full dedication of myself to God and His word. If I am to be conformed to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29), then I must start acting in all areas as Christ did. Col 2:6 puts it this way: "As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him." When we focus on Christ, we won't be concerned with just "getting by". We won't be satisfied with simply avoiding the "big sins" like drunkenness, adultery, etc. We will desire a total commitment to the Lord, and we will endeavor to live consecrated and sanctified lives for Him.
Mark J. Montgomery