Chapter 2 - Holiness: Live What You Know

Purity of hearts is not maturity of Christian experience. [1]Duncan Campbell, God’s Standard, Christian Literature Crusade, p. 50. Duncan Campbell

If a moral agent can know what end he aims at or lives for, he can know, and cannot but know, at all times, whether he is right or wrong. All that upon this theory a moral agent needs to be certain of is, whether he lives for the right end. [2]Charles G. Finney, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Bethany, p. 30. Charles G. Finney

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth
it not, to him it is sin. James 4:17

In any love relationship, one of the primary goals is to discover the expectations of the loved one and, to the best of our ability, fulfill them. We discussed in the last chapter the tremendous importance of knowing God and what He expects of us. It is what God expects of us that will be the object of this chapter.

God makes His standards and expectations quite clear in His Word. So clear, in fact, that many theologians have attempted to cloud these passages to prevent the intensity of God’s revelation from bothering the average parishioner.

But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy. 1 Peter 1:15–16

Now when Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to Abram and said to him, ‘I am God Almighty; walk before Me, and be blameless.’ Genesis 17:1 (NASB)

Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. 2 Corinthians 7:1

Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect. Matthew 5:48

There you have it. God’s standard is holiness and perfection. Do you resent it? Do you feel the urge to argue the point? Many do. But to tone down God’s expectations constitutes tampering with the words of the Almighty, an incredibly foolish and dangerous activity for anyone to be involved in.

There are many today whose lives do not correspond to the biblical standard of holiness. When one finds himself in this situation he has two options available:

  1. Lower the biblical standard to correspond to his present conduct.
  2. Elevate his conduct to correspond to the biblical standard.

Unfortunately, the first option often becomes the designated solution. In the process of denying personal holiness as an attainable state, the very essence of what God desires in relationship with man is shunned. The fact that so many are denying the possibility of leading a truly holy life reveals either a mass-desire to justify their love of pleasure more than God, or a profound ignorance as to the nature and definition of biblical holiness.

Footnotes   [ + ]

1. Duncan Campbell, God’s Standard, Christian Literature Crusade, p. 50.
2. Charles G. Finney, Finney’s Systematic Theology, Bethany, p. 30.