Perhaps the biggest difference between the Creator and His human creation is that God never changes, and that man is given to change. The evidence of this change is seen in the evolution of politics, fashions, and social trends, methods of education, automobile designs and new morality.
The Christian, living in a world of change, is in danger of violating God’s unchanging spiritual principles if he is not careful in his regard for truth.
The fundamental church has rated moral purity high on its list of priorities down through the years. Suddenly the bottom is falling out and every holiness tradition has become a target of criticism and contempt by the very men who should be defending it!
Christians are called to a holy life. A thousand voices ranging from the monotones of the professionals to the screams of the youthful dynamists attempt to drown out the “still small voice” of the Spirit as He speaks the wisdom of holiness to us through the din of these last days.
This little book deals in particular with the things that do not change in a constantly changing world.
I. Erosion of Apostolic Teaching
Everything from slander to satire has been hurled at those who hold to the Bible teaching of Separation.
Many have been discouraged by the intimidators. But the eternal fact remains: this doctrine has more to do with my conduct than any other . . . and my conduct has more to do with my eternal destiny than anything else. What higher purpose could we have in life . . . than destiny itself?
Separation is essential to the achieving of this high purpose! How have we fallen from appreciation to depreciation of such sacred truths? II Corinthians 6:14-18
We suffer from an erosion of the principles of personal purity. These acts of slight and silence lead to spiritual decay which ultimately means moral decay. Biblical spirituality can only be equated with morality. Today we refer to spirituality without defining morality.
To be spiritual means to be morally pure!
Many modern Christians equate spirituality with “no law love” based on humanized concepts of sentimentalism and emotion rather than the authority of God’s Word.
This erosion occurs when pulpits leave off teaching and preaching the holiness of God. This has its effect on the spiritual behavior of His people. As in the days of the Judges, everyone does “that which is right in his own sight” when there is no clear, strong voice directing us to the final authority of Gods Word.
A natural consequence: even though we remain religious, our morals have become humanistic!
We have thought to improve on God’s omniscience and triggered a self-destruction process.
Let’s consider the two basic categories of religious attitude prevalent today.
II. LIBERALS AND CONSERVATIVES
The liberal, whether in politics or in religion, is referred to as one who believes in change, while the conservative, basically does not believe in change.
For certain sociological reasons that become apparent when a present form of government is unable to cope with seemingly new problems stemming from changes in society, the liberal feels that it is necessary to keep modifying his attitude toward moral and social standards in order to “maintain useful contact with society.”
The conservative feels that any move away from principle is immoral, once principle has been established. The conservative believes that established principles of order and conduct can only be abandoned at the cost of degeneration and ultimate self-destruction. The liberal says: Let principle be subject to the people. The conservative says: Let the people be subject to principle.
Political conservatism can be used as an example. Conservatives resist all efforts to change established political structure as it was instituted by workable rules of governmental order as set forth in the constitution. Conservatives insist that man’s highest good and nobility have been developed by the principles of the constitution which were originally founded on sound principles that do not change.
III. THE CHRISTIAN’S CONSTITUTION
The Word of God is the Christian’s constitution. The principles of right and wrong set down in it are eternal and established forever. It may be out of date according to modern liberals and the social gospel set, but in the end it will survive and judge us all.
The principles of the spiritual life are contained in the books of the Old Covenant and in the teachings of Christ and the Apostles. These precepts of moral conduct are called “tradition.” II Thessalonians 2:14, 3:6
The result of departing from the traditional precepts of moral conduct as set forth by Holy Scripture is called “apostasy.” Galatians 1:8, Jude 4.
Apostasy cannot occur as long as Christians maintain Bible holiness in their personal lives.
Every full-gospel, Spirit-filled Christian must guard against what may be considered necessary compromise and conformity to the world in order to “maintain useful contact.” Remember, when the message of personal purity is lost, you no longer have a valid Gospel, no matter how spellbound you may hold people with profound and wordy revelations. A morally transformed life is the only real evidence of the new birth. Romans 12:1, 2; John 1:12.
If transforming power is lost out of the message, the desired result (efficacy) of the Gospel is lost and it becomes “another gospel.” Emotion, charisma, or even readiness to praise Jesus does not constitute transformation or salvation!
This is exactly what the Laodiceans were accused of by Christ – of developing a theme of materialism over the redeeming theme of personal moral transformation of character (righteousness). Revelation 3:17.
To liberalize the message of personal purity is to destroy the efficacy of Calvary.
IV. THE THREE FRONTIERS OF PERSONAL PURITY
There are three reasons Christians are abandoning the traditional precepts of right and wrong as they affect moral purity.
First: Materialism. Material abundance has cast its hypnotic spell of spiritual indifference upon the church. We have not taken time for the deep things of the Word and the Spirit. How we spend our time proves how we are distracted from spiritual pursuits.
Second: Prayer. The groaning from within the closets of secret prayer has ceased! From its leaders right through the ranks of the church, you’ll hardly find a person any more with “a prayer life.” With this loss goes the sensitivity of Christian conscience.
Third: Doctrinal. Pastors and evangelists have become silent on personal purity because supernatural character is not a popular subject. “Big preachers” keep making intimidating remarks to their crowds about “holier than thous,” citing the faults and failures of the so-called “Holiness people,” the “legalists.” Vicious and ugly remarks against puritanism from the pulpits and theological classrooms far surpass the volume of teaching favoring the subject of personal moral purity.
This practice encourages worldliness and compounds the moral problems already existing among us as a church.
V. THE THREE MORAL PURSUITS
There are three levels of morality: Divine, human and animal morality.
On the scale of being, man is born between God and a dog. He has three directions to go in pursuit of his destiny:
(1) He can aspire to the Divine through the Spirit of Holiness and by the blood of the cross, or
(2) He can cultivate a sophisticated human morality, or
(3) He can do less, and revert to the animal appetites in him.
By his own choosing a human can remain a human, or he can become like a dog. He can only become like God through the provisions of God. Romans 8:29.
When you do not do what you can . . . that is sub-human.
When you do what you can . . . that is human.
When you do what you cannot do . . . that is Divine.
The moral standard of the Bible is not human and it is therefore humanly impossible to attain John 1:12
The Holy Spirit is the Agent who imparts the Divine Nature in us. John 16:13-15. Only Spirit inspired persons will achieve the holy life.
VI. THE POWER OF THE TREE
According to the Word of God, fellowship between God and Adam was the basic purpose of the creation of man. Restoration of the angelic kingdom may be the primary purpose of creation. But communion between God and man was essential to the primary purpose.
God made man for fellowship. Later, He made a woman to be man’s physical companion. She was given the same privilege of communion with God as the man. While the woman was created to the servant of man, she is not inferior to man.
Man was to have the privilege of volition from the beginning. He was left to choose the state in which God had created him. He had to choose this fellowship.
Creation was the beginning of an eternal romance.
There had to be a forbidden tree in the garden! It gave man the power to choose. Choice is the only proof of love. For you see, obedience is the highest form of love. By our choices our love for God is known and proven. John 14:15
From the very beginning man has been given a choice to obey the commandment, or humanize it.
It is still that way – the commandment representing Divine wisdom and Divine authority, and human reasoning representing human ambition.
Nothing has changed much since the beginning:
God wants man’s fellowship without his sin.
Man wants God’s blessings without obedience to Him.
There is still a tree in man’s world that constitutes choices and proves his love for God. It was on this tree the blood of Christ was shed.
Here is a supreme fact for the mind of every man.
VII. WHY BLOOD?
Blood is the life of the flesh. In redemption, blood is the covering for sin simply because blood means life to the flesh and sin means death to the flesh. It is very sensible that God would restore the loss of life with the cost of blood, which is the life of the flesh.
Perfect justice demands an adjustment equal to the offense (equivalence). Therefore: only blood, which is life, can atone for sin, which is death.
Because blood is life – only life can atone for death!
We must never complain about the cost of redemption. We have never had to pay the price. Animals have paid with blood and God has paid with The blood, His Son, but we are the benefactors. Hebrews 12:4.
The blood of the righteous Christ cleanses us, breaking the power of the fallen nature in us, commending us to new fellowship and communion with Father. Romans 8:2, Colossians 2:13-15.
At the preaching of the Word, the mystical powers of the Holy Spirit bring men to contrition for their sin life. In obedience to the Word of God, the man repents and turns from his sin. This is “conversion.” I Peter 1:23, John 15:8, Matthew 18:3.
VIII. A NEW BEGINNING
With conversion, the love of God comes cascading into our hearts. The Son of God, by His Spirit, comes within to take His place on the throne of our affections. A mysterious “operation” takes place and now, suddenly, “all things are of God.” Galatians 4, Colossians 2:12, II Corinthians 5:18.
The Spirit of regeneration creates within me a warm, singular love for God. I am now “born again” and have set out to “know Him.” John 3:3, Philippians 3:10, Luke 10:27.
The desired intimacy has been born. But achieved intimacy will only come as I give pursuit to my newborn desire. Phillippians 2:13.
All of this is made available through the shed blood of Christ. My past forgiven! All my guilt gone! Through the blood, the tribunals of God release me from all charges of past sin!
He has cleansed me and I am set aside to do the pleasure of His will. I have been sanctified, (HAGIAZO – declared holy) made clean and new by the atoning blood. II Corinthians 5:17.
Through the blood I am made as if I had never sinned! Romans 5:9. This is Justification!
Justification is instantaneous! It is a Divine decree. Now that I am justified I no longer need to seek justification. It was bestowed upon me at the time of conversion. Now I have the most glorious privilege as my goal . . . to perfect myself in holiness unto the Lord! II Corinthians 7:1, Hebrews 6:1.
By His blood, through His Spirit and according to His Word, I seek to cleanse myself, body and spirit, from all remaining impurities that may linger in me and hinder my communion with Him. This is called the initiative of the believer. This pursuit is what we call “holiness.” II Corinthians 7:1, Romans 6:18.
Justification secures my state in Christ.
Sanctification secures my standing in Christ.
IX. THREE BEAUTIFUL WORDS
These two words, Sanctification and Holiness, are translated rom the same original words and are interchangeably used by translators because their meaning is so much alike.
For this reason, we will quickly define the six Greek Words translated “holiness” in the King James Bible:
Times found in The New Testament.
1. HOSIOTES 2 times: Luke 1:75, Ephesians 4:24
2. EUSEBEIS 15 times: This word is translated holiness only one time, Acts 3:14; Usually translated godliness.
3. HAGIOSUNE 3 times: Romans 1:4, Colossians 7:1, I Thessalonians 3:13.
4. HAGIASMOS 10 times: It is translated holiness 5 times, sanctification 5 times.
5. HIEROPREPES 1 time: Titus 2:3
6. HAGIOTES 1 time: Hebrews 12:10
Even though there are six individual Greek words translated holiness, three of them belong in the same family (HAGIOSUNE, HAGIASMOS, HAGIOTES).
HOSIOTES (1) This word is often grouped with DIKAIOS (just right) such as in Luke 1:75 and Ephesians 4:28. Some say that HOSIOTES refers to one who is careful of his duties to God and DIKAIOS toward men. HOSIOTES expresses one who follows “the everlasting ordinances of right which no law or custom of men has constituted,” in other words, an eternal law that is anterior and superior to all human enactment’s. The person who is HOSIOS follows God as God is. He readily accepts the obligations that arise from a relationship with God. He has great respect for eternal things.
Cognates – HOSIOS (holy), HOSIOS (holy)
Negatives – ANOSIOS (unholy) I Timothy 1:9
HOSIOTES is found in the Septuagint in: Deuteronomy 9:5, I Samuel 14:41, I Kings 9:4, Proverbs 14:32.
EUSEBEIS (2) The word broken up in its etymological parts means well-worship (EU-well, SEBEIS-worship or reverence). Thus the word refers to one whose reverence is well and rightly directed, whether toward God or man. “When used by he translators of the Septuagint, these words usually were used to convey the idea of the fear of God. This O.T. concept is rooted in deep faith: a reverential and wondering awe, expressing itself in obedience to God.” The EUSEBOS were those who fulfilled the obligations of God and thus were accepted by Him. They followed and obeyed God because He is God. This holiness is a fearful, reverential, and worshipful obedience toward God. It is the highest kind of devotion shown toward God.
Cognates: EUSEBEO (worship): EUSEBES (devout, godly); EUSEBOS (godly)
HAGIOSUNE, HAGIASMOS, HAGIOTES (3.) (4.) (6.)
All of these words belong in the same family of which HAGIOS (holy) is the root. The endings on this root do make small distinctions in meaning.
HAGIOSUNE (3.) – The quality of being holy, holiness.
HAGIASMOS (4.) – The action or process of being holy.
HAGIOTES (6.) – The agent which causes holiness. – The locality from which holiness arises. – The quality of being holy.
HAGIOS This word refers to that which is set apart from the world to God, for one to separate from the world’s life meant and share in God’s purity. This word has a strong moral significance.
HIEROPREPES (5.) This word broken up in its etymological parts mean that which becometh the holy temple (HIEROS holy – temple – rituals, PREPES becometh). This word is in a family of words that contain the following cognates HEIERATIA (priest’s office), HIERATUMA (priesthood), HIERATEUMA (priesthood), HIERATEUO (to execute the priest’s office), HIEREUS (priest), HIEROS (ritually holy), HIERON (temple). HIERON refers to the outer temple whereas NAOS refers to the inner temple where the Holy of Holies was kept separate (HAGIOS).
Thus the word refers to any moral excellence. It refers to those who are temple-like in their actions and appearances. They do those things that are suitable to holiness. These carry into daily life the demeanor of a priest that is in the temple.
The following outline may express the essence of each group:
HOSIOTES or EUSEBEIS The devotion of holiness
EUSEBEIS or HOSIOTES The duty of holiness
HAGIOS The disseverance of holiness
HIEROPREPES The dress of holiness.
The third big word in heaven’s language is Righteousness.
The book of Romans sets forth “The Righteousness of God.” Only righteousness can make one holy. Romans 6:19. We must have righteousness to approach God. In Romans 3:21-25 we learn that righteousness is imputed; that is, He gives us His righteousness. This imputed holiness of His is to become imparted righteousness in us!
X. THE INITIATIVE OF THE BELIEVER
In Romans 6:19 Paul speaks of a different righteousness called the “works of righteousness (DIKAIOSUNE) unto holiness” (HAGIASMOS). This is not imputed righteousness but imparted righteousness . . . a righteousness the Christian is credited with of his own.
Imputed righteousness is not our own. Imparted righteousness is righteousness we have attained through obedience to the teachings of grace. Titus 2:11,12; Philippians 3:16.
It is possible to have our own works of righteousness (inasmuch as these works are not imputed). James 2:18.
Righteousness is imparted to the Christian each time he chooses to obey God instead of taking the alternative and doing that which is less noble. Romans 6:13, 16, 19.
However, let us remember that these imparted works are still by grace, inasmuch as He brought us into righteousness by His precious blood and that His Spirit empowers us and His Word inspires us to follow this new way of loving obedience. Acts 17:28.
Because we are volitional creatures, we must choose to appropriate grace unto obedience or to yield our members to the impulses of lust. Galatians 5:19-21, Romans 6:13.
And so, even though we are credited with (imparted righteousness) the acts of righteousness we committed by choice, the means of executing the act is by His grace.
Acts of obedience prove the inner desires toward
Christ and commend us to God. John 14:23.
As a result, the righteousness or holiness of Christ that is instantaneously imputed at the time of justification and the works of righteousness unto holiness which are credited or imparted through obedience are found to be very distinct.
The works of righteousness deserve special attention because they involve the occupation of the Christian’s initiative in attaining personal goals of perfection in Christ. Hebrews 12:10.
Generally, when Christians speak of holiness they are not speaking of the imputed righteousness of Christ (HAGIAZO) but the imparted works of righteousness which produce holiness (HAGIASMOS). We call this work of the Holy Spirit “Progressive Sanctification.” Job 17:9.
Many Charismatic preachers confuse these two distinct forms of sanctification treating them as being the same. They are not! See I Corinthians 1:2,30.
Once we become Christians, our destiny depends heavily upon how we respond to this progressive work of sanctification. It is a popular and enjoyable subject among all true Christians.
When we are purchased by the redeeming blood, we agree to be “Holy unto the Lord.” We become His possession . . . solely. Once we become holy (the possession of God) we cannot be used or owned by another. Leviticus 20:26.
When an instrument used in the tabernacle was sanctified and made holy, it was to be used for no other purpose than that for which it was designated. This is dedication!
To become holy, then, means also to be set aside or become dedicated to the service of God. This will happen completely when we resign all our personal rights to His will and high purposes which are in Christ. I Corinthians 15:24, Mark 12:30.
If I love Him, I will quickly separate myself from anything that injures, violates or threatens His pleasure in me or my fellowship with Him.
XII. CONCEPT EQUALS CONDUCT
The beginning of an understanding of holiness starts with understanding God Himself. John 17:3.
Our own moral obligations can only be understood rightly as we understand the nature of God.
By this we understand that a right concept of God is essential to right conduct.
The moral excellence of God’s nature rightly understood produces moral purity in man.
Holiness, therefore, is simply that relationship between God and man through Christ that makes man like God. Romans 8:28,29.
Holiness is that supernatural righteousness that can only be imparted or imputed by God Himself. Romans 6:22, 4:8, John 1:12.
The word “holy” comes to us from the anthems of heaven as clouds of angels and whirling creatures sing to the beauty of God’s nature . . . “holy, holy, holy.”
Holiness is a deep, sweet imperative!
It is the Biblical principle behind all true happiness.
A principle is a proven rule of action toward a desired end.
Principle, once established, never changes.
All of God’s moral laws are based on principle. Therefore neither God nor His law can change.
This fact should also apply when we speak of the Christian’s character.
The character and values of the modern Christian should be the same as the first century Christian.
Holiness in the nature of God! Holiness in us, then, is that of God’s nature in us. I Peter 1:15.
The nature of holiness in God shrinks instantly from the slightest communion with that which is impure or evil in design, nature and origin.
What happened to Adam and Eve when they disobeyed God’s single commandment reveals this to us.
Nevertheless, this holy sentiment toward sin creates a contrast between the saved and the unsaved. Contrast, in turn, attracts the unsaved to a higher life of holiness. Human wisdom has developed the philosophy of conformity in order to communicate with the unsaved. But it is not conformity and communication that brings conversion. Rather, contrast brings conviction that in turn brings Biblical conversion. John 3:17, Romans 5:20.
We may abstain from all forms of moral impurities and not injure our ability to communicate with the lost, and win them.
God’s state of perfect moral purity does not hinder the flow of His compassion for the sinful world He seeks with redemption.
There are no valid reasons for having to compromise with or conform to sin or sinners to win them.
The Scripture contains no flattery in referring to the world. (Iniquity – abomination – filthy – enemy – weak and beggarly.)
A strong sentiment of repulsiveness is the only expression of the holiness of God toward sin and the worldly system. Job 15:15, Ezekiel 39:24.
There is only one way we can understand holiness as it is related to the Christian life and that is to realize, first of all, holiness is the moral excellence of God’s nature. This nature expressed through us will be the same as it is expressed through Him, a sentiment toward right and wrong which is God’s and not our own!
By these facts we see that a right concept of God is essential to right conduct.
XII. THE THEME OF THE BIBLE
Let us say again that the essence of the holiness of God is the state of His perfect moral character. When you speak of holiness, you are referring to the nature of God and His nature is His perfect moral excellence.
To be a good Christian really means that one is willing to totally align himself with the Divine order of right and wrong.
The accepted rules of right to the Christian are those moral teachings set forth in Scripture. Nothing in the Old Testament conflicts in principle with the moral regulations or commandments of the New Testament.
The New Testament is an explicit and final revelation dealing in more detail with the basic personal moral standards of the Christian. The entire New Testament is nothing but a manual on morality. Its historical value only lends itself to this higher theme.
The gist of redemption is to lift man from his fallen immoral state of selfishness and damnation to godliness.
The holiness of man consists of cleansing himself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit. II Corinthians 7:1 See again the initiative of the believer.
Not that I have, but that I am earnestly employed at it.
God is absolutely perfect. Man is only perfect as he aspires to be perfect. Philippians 3:14,15.
God has always been perfect. Man will never be perfect as God is perfect.
God is perfectly holy. Man is imperfectly holy because the processes of sanctification will try him till death.
As long as man lives, he will be confronted with trials of perfection, that by his choice in each trial he may purify himself by degrees. Again this is progressive sanctification.
Holiness is not to be taken for granted. It must be desired and sought after. It requires personal attention and self- examination. Romans 8:13.
XIV. FIRST LOVE
Intimacy with God has one chief characteristic: it must be based upon singular love.
Singular love is also synonymous with “first love.”
The young Christian may lose his first love in the dawning hours of salvation when he attempts to marry spiritual concubines and share his love for God with them. Revelation 2:4.
It is the practice of marrying spiritual concubines and allowing into life other interests and loves that causes the first love to diminish in us. First love will cause us to love God first! That first love is a single love.
XV. FLESH AND SPIRIT
When Adam’s nature, through disobedience, fell into the state of degeneration, causing him to lose his innocence and to become “like gods,” his reactions were twofold: (1) he became aware of nakedness, and (2) he experienced guilt in the presence of God. His flesh and his spirit were affected by disobedience. Genesis 3:7, 21.
Sin brings forth death, both physical and spiritual. We shall mention them in this Scriptural order.
For communion with God to be fully restored, there must be both physical and spiritual restoration.
As soon as Adam and Eve realized their nakedness, they attempted to clothe themselves with aprons of leaves.
God proceeded to cover their nakedness in His own way. He replaced their aprons of leaves with His coats of skin.
In a single act, God provided a covering for both the flesh and spirit. He shed the animal’s blood, instituting blood sacrifice, using the skins to cover the shame of their nakedness.
We see the practical and the spiritual combined in God’s first act of atonement. We also see the human concept of modesty (aprons) compared with the Holy concept of modesty (coats). The coats speak to us of modesty and visible purity.
The shed blood of the animals speaks of communion with God being restored through blood atonement. Leviticus 17:11.
In the Garden of Eden God provided a covering for both the flesh and spirit.
This act reveals the two parts of man.
In Romans 12 Paul exhorts us to “present our bodies” and to “renew our minds.“
In I Corinthians 6:20 he again pleads, “Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit.“
In II Corinthians 7:1 the order appears, “Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit.“
There are reasons why the body is mentioned separately from the spirit. The reason is because the body appetites are the cause and medium of all committed sin. James 1:14.
Man without God is animal. The human body has the identical characteristics of a dog as an organism. The Scripture leaves no guesswork in making it clear that the greatest threat to our moral purity is the lack of control of the appetites in the degenerate body. The big issue of Romans six through eight is “My Body.” Romans 8:8. See also Matthew 26:41 and John 6:63.
XVI. THE FOUR SENSE PLEASURES
There are four primary appetites in man – Spiritual, Sexual, Hunger and Ambition.
Three are flesh appetites .
One is a spirit appetite.
THE SPIRITUAL APPETITE
The spiritual appetite was originally given to man to seek and worship the true God. But man has fallen to worshipping false deities. Man must worship! This urge is either perverted to worship falsely, or it is held in subjection by the other three appetites and relegated to the lowest position of expression.
THE FLESH APPETITES
HUNGER APPETITE: The hunger appetite serves as a regulator of food intake for the required energy of man. A lustful hunger appetite becomes an instrument of destruction instead of strength when it is misused. Luxury eating is the basic cause of most fateful heart conditions in addition to may other diseases and physical weaknesses that occur in man. The food industry is constantly introducing new taste sensations for pleasure. Next to overeating is the indulgence of known harmful non-foods such as tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. Even coffee and tea can be habit-forming and destructive. Philippians 3:19.
GREED APPETITE: or the appetite of ambition, is necessary in man’s colossal task of replenishing the earth. This appetite brought war to heaven by the lusting Lucifer and then to earth. Greed caused Eve to want more dominion that God conferred on her. The desire to possess and to have dominion beyond appointment is still present, leaving its curse upon creation. James 4:1-3. The want of man is the enemy of the order of things.
SEX APPETITE: The twofold purpose of God in creating sex is, (1) intimate physical companionship between married partners (only) and, (2) the reproduction of man. In fallen man the strongest of the four appetites is the sex appetite. Because it is the most dominant, it has the greatest bearing on human behavior. One reason for this is that libido supports ego.
The appetites were created by God, are basically good when used as God designed them.
When any one of the appetites are used for sensual pleasure only, then the act becomes selfish and the original purpose is violated and lust occurs.
Lust is appetite out of control!
Appetite is the essence of Romans 7.
XVII. THE STRONGEST OF THE SENSE PLEASURES
First, Scripture reveals that flesh nature is a dominant factor in human behavior. And now we are to learn that sex pleasure is the strongest of the flesh appetites. This is very interesting in view of what is happening in society and the church today. Exodus 20:17, Job 31:9-12, Matthew 5:28, I Peter 2:11, II Peter 2:18. In music, fashions, literature, as in all the arts, sex has become the dominant theme. The essence of flesh is sex. Any attempt to divorce sex from flesh in inconceivable.
Sex is holy in its original state and when experienced in conformity with God’s moral law. Hebrews 13:4
Jesus set forth several maxims in His teachings dealing with probably what He considered basic behavioral problems in society. In Matthew five He deals strongly with fantasizing. Unregulated sex lust is also bringing the Hollywood look to the church that at one time was more interested in appearing moral than modern. Every worldly fashion and practice should be judged as either contributing or not contributing to moral purity . . . but, alas, the art of sexual attraction is openly on display in the church, brazenly parading itself past the doors of the tabernacle, as Cozbi and Zimri of old, while the plague rages and good men do nothing about it. Numbers 25:6,18.
Oh, God, we need a Phinehas!
C. B. Eavey, in his book entitled Practical Christian Ethics, states: “Sex is so much a part of our nature that it is impossible to overemphasize the importance of purity and chastity . . . purity, or chastity is a virtue that disposes us to regulate in accordance with principles of right, the exercise of sexual intercourse, the enjoyment of the carnal pleasure attached to it, and all actions that tend to ad to it or excite its distinctive pleasure.
Physical contact of any kind prior to the consummation of marriage is a carnal act of selfish gratification unbecoming those professing holiness and is inconsistent with the ideals of moral perfection to which we attest.
XVII. VISIBLE PURITY
In the first chapter of James’ epistle he offers us a powerful revelation of sin’s twofold power and how it functions to snare man.
“Man is tempted when he is drawn away of his own lust and enticed.” James 1:14.
We will consider here the two forces of sin and the two canceling graces.
Sin is the object in James’ statement. Lust and enticement are the two forces that constitute sin. Lust is an outgoing appetite. Enticement is the attraction to the appetites in the environment around us.
Using flesh and its powerful sex appetite, we can see the necessity of restrictions upon the flesh. Immodesty offers enticement, and lust feasts upon its attracting influence.
Note: a man is sexually aggressive and a woman is sexually passive.
Lust in the heart is the chief problem of men, and enticement in appearance is the chief problem of women.
Control of the thought life in a man cancels the power of lust.
Modesty in a woman puts a stop to unwholesome erotic enticement.
It is upon these two basic facts that all immorality occurs. Woman’s ability to entice gives rise to lust in man. When lust occurs, sin is conceived.
Lust is a dormant thing until it is aroused by enticement.
Modesty simply means “to disallow the display of sex attractions in or on one’s person.” When a woman bares her arms, legs, next or back in a revealing, provocative manner for men; when she accents the features of her face with cosmetics and paints, adorns herself with gold and pearls and costly array in an effort to accent the feminine charms, seeking to be “attractive,” she is “enticing.” Enticement is one of the two parts of sin!
“Lust” and “enticement” are the two magnetic forces of the power of sin.
These are two things that must be kept out of the church if it is to remain pure and holy before God.
It is the same with all three of the appetites.
As Christ walks among the candlesticks of the modern church, He sees the mincing daughters of Zion within the courts of God, accenting and displaying their erotic selves for men who dare entertain them in the secret chambers of the unrestrained mind. May the Word and the spirit prevent God’s people in their folly.
There is little difference in the appearance of many Pentecostals in the church on Sunday night and prostitutes on the street Saturday night!
XIX. BIOLOGICAL ENVIRONMENT
“For none of us liveth to himself…” Romans 14:7.
Environment is one of the strongest factors in determining man’s personality and character and, ultimately, his destiny.
HEREDITY is a combination of personal characteristics we inherit from our parents. It is what life handed us when we were born. We had no choice in receiving them.
ENVIRONMENT is different. I can have something to say about environment. It is that physical world around me that constantly filters through my senses to mold the inner man – the impression of physical things (stimuli) on my personality.
Environment is the appearance of physical things around us we are conscious of.
But as Christians we are not only interested in the environment we choose for ourselves but the environment we become to others.
If environment molds life, then I am molding someone else’s life when I become a part of their environment!
There are basically two kinds of environment: (1) biological, and (2) non-biological environment. The physical appearance of people, or biological environment, has by far the most profound effect on human behavior. People have the strongest effect on us because of the biological ties that attract us to each other.
It is for this reason that society does things together, such as follow a trend or a fashion. It is this factor that creates such phenomena in social order as the sub-culture. It is the power of man upon man!
We conclude from experience from science as well as from Scripture, that the most powerful influence on human behavior is the visible, biological attractions between people.
Therefore, how we appear to each other in our visible, physical form, can have either a moralizing or demoralizing effect on others.
Suddenly certain commandments peculiar to the New Testament regarding the Christian’s appearance begin to make sense.
It is for this reason the Scripture teaches some very explicit principles regarding our visible appearance and conduct. The moral regulations of both Moses and the Lord Jesus are based on this principle. Deuteronomy 22:5, I Thessalonians 5:22, I Timothy 2:9, 10, I Peter 3:3.
The true Christian attitude will show a moral concern for others by the way he or she appears and acts in their presence. Scriptural holy life teaching is not the peculiar thinking of an ancient age or the tradition of an era. It is Biblical lifestyle that guarantees the happiness and blessing of God in any age when believed and obeyed.
Moral regulations in the Bible regarding the visible man are given to purify environment so that in turn God can visit us in a moral atmosphere more ideal to Him!
Each time we pray, we should ask the Lord to help us not be a moral pollution to another person’s environment in any way . . . to keep us from contributing any unwholesome distractions . . . from emitting any biological impurities into the environment of another person’s life.
XX. IMPORTANCE OF APPEARANCE
It is as necessary to impress man with visible righteousness and purity as it is to impress God with the sincerity of the inner man.
Somewhere, sometime, someone repeated the words spoken to Samuel when he was about to anoint Eliab and said, “It’s not what’s on the outside that counts, but what’s on the inside.” Remember what God told Samuel? He said man looks on the outside, but God looks on the inside. I Samuel 16:7
This is too often quoted to imply that there is no merit to the visible virtues of modesty and chastity as it may affect our appearance as Christian men and women. It is also said to imply that there is an “inside” and “outside” holiness, and that one is of no consequence or of lesser consequence than the other. Both of these conclusions are wrong in principle, in practice and in doctrine. All of the inner spiritual qualities of the fruit of the Spirit as described in Galatians chapter five can be imitated, as can any of the visible moral qualities of the Christian life!
Furthermore, it is impossible to say that a man is more holy in his spirit than in his flesh.
The statement is true that God sees the inner man imitating, while man can only see the outward imitations.
In this text there is nothing to support an “inner holiness” doctrine that excludes the effects of that inner holiness upon the visible morality of the Christian!
When God mentioned the outside of Eliab, He definitely was not making any reference to how Eliab was dressed. He was probably dressed as any other man of that day
“Countenance” and “stature” are the words used as the visible marks of Eliab’s appearance that deceived the prophet. Literally, he was tall and handsome.
As Eliab appeared before Samuel, he kept himself in line and probably tried to impress Samuel with his pleasant mannerisms. The inner graces can be imitated and are as liable to sham as any of the graces that regulate the visible appearance.
Eliab later showed his true character when David visited the battlefield. He was nice enough when he tried to impress the prophet, but Eliab could be so nasty to the members of his own family.
The test of true inner grace is not how one acts to celebrities and superiors, but the real test is how one reacts to subordinates and inferiors.
Much error comes from overemphasizing a half-truth.
Proponents of “inside” or “outside” holiness are both
Scripturally wrong! God’s holiness affects both parts of man equally.
XXI. LONG HEMS AND LONG TONGUES
Often mentioned is the case of the lady with the long hem on her dress and long tongue in her mouth. Just as there are dangerous mixtures in chemistry, there are also some dangerous combinations in the spiritual life.
Inconsistency among holiness people has dealt the greatest blow to the credibility of the separated life.
A Christian by his/her appearance may reveal a knowledge of separation and modesty, but at the same time can be telling the truth about a person with a secret inner desire to injure their character.
Slandering takes the beauty out of visible holiness.
Because a lady with a long hem has a long tongue, it is not correct to say that her long hem is also wrong.
We must believe in holy living because it is in the Bible and not because of the people who go by the name of “holiness.”
The truth is that a lady with a short tongue and short hem can do just as much harm to another person’s character!
Immodesty is certainly as immoral as slander.
A short hem and a long tongue are a double curse.
The ideal is a combination of both good qualities – the short tongue of love and the long hem of modesty.
“Conviction” means to be convinced a thing is morally sinful or can lead one into sin.
The Holy Spirit will ask us to take action against any moral defect in us as we desire to be clean. He will assist us in the inner search and will help us initiate an offensive against anything we are brave enough to confess to Him as undesirable.
Many times these unclean things are revealed by the plain Word of God, and other times they will be revealed to us in prayer as we seek to be holy and pleasing to the Lord.
Every conscious act has moral implications. In other words, behind everything you do, no matter how small, is a reason for doing it and for doing it the way you do. This action reveals motive.
A conviction, then, is simply one’s feelings toward any practice that may have moral implications which he cannot conscientiously continue to practice if he hopes to please the Lord and be a Christ-like example to others.
Spiritual convictions usually occur immediately in the new convert, and should continue to develop and even increase as he matures in the Christian life.
XXII. RELIGIOUS OR MORAL?
Romans 14 is often quoted when convictions are the subject of conversation. Paul is here discussing the matter of eating meat. However, he assures the church that as long as the world stands he would not eat meat and destroy the conscience of the weaker brother.
Christian convictions fall under two categories. There are religious convictions, as referred to here in Romans 14, and then there are moral convictions.
Religious Convictions pertain to worship and commandments relating to worship.
Moral Convictions are related to a Christian moral conduct and behavior and one’s relationship to the world and its practices.
A Christian perfecting holiness in the sight of the Lord will impose a self-discipline upon himself in order to effect self-improvement.
Having certain moral convictions in the Christian life is not to be confused with the religious convictions of the “weaker brother” of Romans 14.
Romans 14 is not speaking of convictions as they regard moral purity, but to practices of worship.
XXIV. SPIRIT DISCIPLINE
Discipline only restricts us in lesser matters so that we may be free and worthy of far greater spiritual privileges. We must be willing to exchange the pleasures of the flesh for the principles of the spirit. Long visits in His presence inspire the will to choose those higher principles of right.
But aren’t moral laws negative?
They are if your dominant nature is carnal or earthy!
God’s nature opposes sin and sin is negative to the holy nature.
Obedience to any commandment or moral principle in the
Word of God is not at all grievous or negative to the spiritually – minded. I John 5:4, Romans 8:4.
To the disobedient, all principles and regulations of right are negative because the sinful nature opposes moral purity and moral order.
The sinful nature opposes the principle of right, and the Holy nature opposes all that is wrong or leads to wrong!
The Scripture calls this regulation of the carnal appetites “mortifying the deeds of the body.” Colossians 3:4, 5; Galatians 5:17.
It is also called the doctrine of mortification.
Don’t be afraid to discipline the flesh and make it keep God’s moral law.
Negative action against the flesh will bring positive results to the spiritual life. Paul said to Titus, “deny . . . and live.” Titus 2:12.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared unto all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” Titus 2:11,12.
Since the Fall, the man-made element of the world as well as our natures are unclean in the sight of God. Any process of cleansing demands that negative action precede any positive results. It is a universal law. Whether it be laundry or life, the only way to attain cleanliness is to put away the impurity.
XXV. SPIRITUAL SATURATION
There is one duty every Christian must perform if he is to stay spiritually alive and have God’s blessing.
A duty is something a person does that must be done for some good or necessary reason whether he wants to or not.
It is love’s single duty to seek fellowship with God.
Out of this duty obedience will lose all drudgery and the commandments become sheer delight!
We speak specifically of the Christian’s personal combined duty of prayer and reading the Bible for personal benefit.
Desensitized worldly religion only develops in the midst of a prayerless and Wordless people!
It is not enough we acclaim it as infallible and use it on religious occasions in gatherings.
The Bible has an exclusive power that it releases in the time of private meditation!
There is a power and a poise that is only given by God to the disciple who tarries in the closet of secret prayer! The searching of the Scriptures has its spiritual effect on the disciple’s mind. Waiting before God has its Divine effect upon his heart. We call these combined effect spiritual saturation.
Spiritual saturation is achieved in a twofold manner which corresponds to the two soul centers of man. These two centers are the intellect and the affections of the heart.
The heart of man and mind of man . . . what he feels and what he knows . . .
The mind is the seat of knowledge and the heart is the seat of our affections.
God has provided two sources of spiritual power to feed our two soul centers; prayer for the heart and the Word for the intellect. His Spirit dominates us in prayer; His will prevails in the Word.
Feelings alone are misleading. Even good feelings can mislead us. But knowledge contains the stabilizing facts that give guidance to our feelings. It can be said that when our knowledge and feelings are in harmony, we experience peace. And, of course, peace is the final authority for knowing God’s will. Colossians 3:15.
When we practice prayer, we take on a glorious inner glow. When we have it, “The things of the world grow strangely dim.” Isaiah 26:3.
This inner prayer glow or saturation can be spent, and for this reason the Master practiced secluded prayer continually to maintain His power in the Spirit. Matthew 14:23, Mark 6:46, Luke 6:12, 11:11.
This is the only place we receive the power we need to have absolute and positive control over our carnal nature and dominion in the Spirit.
It is also the only spiritual practice that brings the anointing.
XXVI. THE TWO FORMS OF GOD’S PRESENCE
God has always given His presence to man in two forms.
In Paradise God walked with the first pair, giving them His Spirit presence. He talked with them, giving them His Word presence.
All through history His miracles have assured us of His Spirit presence: His messengers carried to us His Word presence.
The manifestations of His Spirit are the different forms of His presence. The Patriarchs, judges, prophets and finally the Apostles were given His Word.
We have always had these two pure, infallible forms of God’s presence: His Spirit presence and His Word presence!
These are Heaven’s two witnesses.
The Spirit baptism is His Spirit presence and . . . the Bible is His Word presence!
Let us come forth from the whirlwinds of human activity and seek and trust with Him
XXVII. PRIORITY ON PURITY
There may be those who claim they do not have time to read their Bibles and pray in fellowship with God.
This is never true.
We have hobbies, we read the newspaper, we watch television, we have time to be with our friends and go out on the town once in awhile.
It is not a matter of time, it is a matter priority.
We are not prepared to explain it chemically, but in these two heavenly practices God has placed the dynamics of eternal life.
Each time I merge from the closet or lift my eyes from the Word I experience the effects of His presence.
I seem to come away with his very nature . . . that sweet, holy nature!
Being alone with God stirs and sanctifies our affections. An appreciation and understanding toward the perfect moral law of God is born within the heart, giving us a positive attitude toward right and wrong.
His presence always leaves me better understanding the principles of purity.