FALSE VIEWS OF LOVE AND HOLINESS DILUTING THE CHURCH’S POWER

Years ago I was preaching a series of strong holiness messages in a particular church. After one of the meetings the pastor said something to me that I’ve never forgotten. “The Lord has dealt with me about preaching more on love than holiness,” he said.

That statement didn’t sit well with me. I knew it was not accurate. Yet back then I didn’t know why. I pondered that pastor’s statement with my own thoughts that raced through my head. Is love more important than holiness? Are they different, or are they virtually the same? They have to be different, or we’d have a lot of redundancy in the Bible, I thought. But how are they different? Although I knew the pastor’s statement came from a lack of understanding true holiness, at that time I couldn’t thoroughly explain the difference.

This pastor’s statement put an emphasis on love, which is of primary importance, while de-emphasizing holiness, which is not only God’s greatest attribute, but foundational to understanding man’s relationship to God. I walked away from that conversation knowing that this pastor’s view of holiness was not becoming or beautiful. I thought of how his view was probably shared by a multitude of believers, who have formed erroneous ideas and notions of holiness, due probably to their own negative experiences—like the cat who is afraid of water because of one negative experience of getting scalded by boiling water. Or of those who may have come from a background of legalism where do’s and don’ts were associated with holiness. These are among the reasons holiness has gotten a bad rap and is looked upon with a sort of disdain, as being primitive, outdated and just not culturally relevant. We need to realize, however, that negative experiences or unsound teaching does not nullify the real meaning, necessity, and beauty of God’s holiness.

WHAT IS TRUE HOLINESS

What then is the real meaning of holiness? Holiness is the likeness of God. It is the total summation of all His attributes. One of my favorite definitions of holiness as it applies to believers is that it is a moral dedication and a life committed to purity of thought, word, motive and deed. At the center of that definition is the fact of being set apart or consecrated to God’s purposes. Just as God is otherworldly, we as His chosen people are to be distinct and set apart from this world. In other words, we are not to be conformed to its ideals, patterns, or standards. Holiness is conformity to God’s nature and will.

But even more importantly, holiness has more to do with to whom we belong. To whom do we give our loyalty, love, and allegiance to? To be holy means that all we are and all we have belongs to God, not ourselves, and is set apart for His purposes. It means that every aspect of our lives is to be shaped and directed by God.

Personally, I believe that restoring the beauty of biblical holiness in the church is a critical ingredient to healing the moral confusion in our culture. As the church goes, so goes the world. Our disproportionate view of holiness is one of the big reasons there is so much of the spirit of the world in the church. A distorted view of holiness, or simply the ignorance of it, is clouding our understanding of God’s true love. When God is seen as a loving, nondemanding pushover whose love overrides His holiness, then people will live in accordance with that belief. Permissiveness and promiscuity will be prevalent.

For example, if a person believes that God is so loving that He would never manifest His judgment or wrath or send anyone to hell for their sin, then their conduct will reflect that belief, and much of their life will be lived with that awful presumption. Popular false concepts of God such as these are spreading rampantly in much of the Western culture. A vision and revelation of God’s holiness will alter any of these false perceptions and will serve to greatly strengthen the church.

Any understanding of sin must begin with an understanding of true biblical holiness. In Canaan the temple prostitute was considered a holy woman, and a homosexual priest was considered a holy man. However, what was accepted among the Canaanites and the other nations was an abomination to God (Deut. 23:17-18). And Israel, as God’s chosen nation, a type of the New Testament church, was forbidden to practice these things. The people of Canaan didn’t understand God’s holiness so they couldn’t possibly understand the gravity of their sin.

A person defines sin by his own concept of God. This is the reason we now have books being written that one can be a gay Christian; and now we also have the spread of universalism and the emergent church that teaches that in the end all will be saved, because God will not allow any human being to go to hell. Many do not understand God’s love because they are not seeing it through His holiness.

Our understanding of God’s holiness determines our estimation of sin. God defines Himself through His holiness. His holiness is the standard by which we judge what sin is and what sin is not. Righteousness and justice, which are vital aspects of God’s holiness, are the foundation of His throne (Ps 89:14). All God’s dealings with us are based on the foundation of holiness. Nevertheless the solid foundation of God stands, having this seal: “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity” (2 Tim 2:19).

It is wrong to elevate what we think is love at the expense of holiness. In fact, God’s true love manifests within holiness. Just as water flows through a pipe the love of God flows through His holiness. Moreover, it is God’s love that keeps Him from overlooking His holiness. After all, it was His holiness which made the atonement necessary. His holiness demanded the cost of God’s own Son, for He cannot excuse, acquit or clear the guilty (Ex 34:7). And what His holiness demanded His love provided on the cross of Calvary.

HOLINESS AND LOVE ARE NOT OPPOSITES

Holiness and love are not at odds with each other. Holiness is not in opposition to love or separated from it. The Bible tells us that love is the greatest (1 Cor. 13:13) and any word, motivation or act void of love is as nothing (1 Cor. 13:1-3). But at the same time, love is not separated from holiness. Rather, it is constrained by holiness.

For example, if a church will not draw a sharp distinction between sin and righteousness, or will not practice church discipline among its members as taught in the Word (Mat. 18:15-17, Rom. 16:17, 1 Cor. 5, Tit. 3:10, 2 Thes. 3:6, 14-15, and such) because in their minds, it doesn’t seem loving, has probably been deceived into a false view of love absorbed from the pop culture. On the other hand, a church that emphasizes holiness, yet fails to do so in the motivation and service of love is a church that does not understand God’s holiness.

The true love of God is fixed on God’s holiness. If a church does not abide in holiness, it does not abide in true love. Conversely, if it does not abide in true love, it does not abide in holiness.

A holy church is in the world but not of it. They abstain from sin while dwelling among sinners—both are characteristics of true holiness. The problem has been that some churches have swerved too far in one direction or too far in the other, waffling between a false view of holiness and a false view of love.

The same Bible that tells me to pursue love (1 Cor 14:1) tells me to pursue holiness (Heb 12:14). Without love we are nothing. Without holiness we will never see the Lord.

But here is my warning:

A holy church is in the world but not of it. They abstain from sin while dwelling among sinners – both are characteristics of true holiness. The problem has been that some churches have swerved too far in one direction or too far in the other, waffling between a false view of holiness and a false view of love.

It’s time for the modern day church to get that right and walk in that light.

This is an excerpt taken from The Real Jesus, a compelling piece of a tetralogy of books (The Real Salvation, The Real Gospel, The Real Spirit of Revival)

NOTE: Our books and articles are forerunners to the move of God and personal holiness. The fire of God and the fear of God is attached to them. If you feel like this article is valuable, please use the social media buttons below to share it. Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. If this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

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THE TRAGIC CONSEQUENCES OF NOT PREACHING THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD

We are living in perilous times. The greatest of the perils may be the failure of the Church to teach sound doctrine and stand in the whole counsel of God. The second greatest failure as a result of the first is giving heed to seducing spirits and the false prophetic that fills the vacuum churches and preachers have left for not preaching the baptism and the great work of the Holy Spirit.

Here’s a recent quote by Mario Murillo:

“Today we are swimming in more false teaching, false prophecy and false Christianity than ever before. All across the internet ministries dabble in new age hybrids of Christian faith, exotic extremes, drunkenness and even perversion. Turns out, the church is the other swamp that needs draining.”

Deception is everywhere.

A TRAGIC ENDING

I’d like to share another story that will serve as one more example of a deceived people, who due to not hearing the whole counsel of God had become comfortable in their sinful lifestyle. This true account does not end well and serves to show the tragic consequences of the failure to preach the real gospel.

Years ago I took a Bible school group of 10 students to a church in a large city in America. God led me to preach a very strong message on repentance. As I was giving the altar call people began to come forward. Before I could instruct them, however, the pastor stepped in and brought the entire service to a halt. He accused me of being hard and defended himself and his people, saying that they were all just as saved as I or anyone else was. He then asked me to come to his office and further reprimanded me for my message. The Lord told me to keep my mouth shut and not say anything. This pastor then cancelled the rest of the meetings we were to have in his church, and also called all the other churches in the area that we were scheduled to minister in and convinced the pastors of those churches to cancel the remainder of our meetings as well.

Within a day or two of that particular meeting I received a vision from the Lord to explain what had happened in that church. In the vision he showed me a large snake all coiled up on top of a mound of sand. Then he showed me cocking my right arm back and firing a rock that hit him right between the eyes. Suddenly that snake uncoiled, raised up his ugly head, and hissed loudly while shaking violently and scattering sand everywhere. His secure stronghold had been threatened. The Lord showed me that there were serious sin issues in that church beginning with the pastor himself, and the message I preached shook and unsettled everything.

Sometime later a brother whom we found favor with from this hosting church wrote me at my request to let me know what transpired in that church over the next several years. Within two years the children’s pastor was charged with child molestation. Think of the damage done to those children. Then the pastor’s daughter, a married woman, was caught having an affair with her boss. Her husband died a couple of years later. This adulteress woman has a beautiful daughter who loves Jesus, but to this day she enjoys no relationship with her. This is the rotten fruit of sin.

That’s not all, though. A few years later the host pastor, who was responsible for virtually kicking us out of town and canceling all our meetings, suddenly fell dead of a massive heart attack on a Sunday morning right before a service. Another pastor, who had cancelled our meetings because the host pastor encouraged him to, was also caught in adultery and lost his church. It turns out this other pastor only cancelled our meetings because the host pastor was the biggest financial contributor of his television ministry.

All these casualties happened because people were made to feel comfortable in their sins; because no one preached the confrontational aspects of the gospel. Judgment caught up with people in this church because they were not willing to judge themselves. Think about that. And think about their eternal fate.

PREACH THE REAL GOSPEL AND THE WHOLE COUNSEL OF GOD

Evil and wickedness are actually strengthened when preachers fail to stand in the counsel of the Lord and speak His words.

“They strengthen also the hands of evildoers, that none returns from his wickedness…But if they had stood in my counsel, and had caused my people to hear my words, then they should have turned them from their evil way, and from the evil of their doings” (Jer. 23: 14, 22).

Somehow people think it is mean-spirited and even condemning to preach the cross and a confrontational gospel that deals with sin and worldliness and calls people to repentance, when actually it is the mercy of God and His saving grace to do so.

The real life examples I listed above are a direct result of a failure to preach the real gospel and to warn people of impending judgment and the consequences of sin. Sadly, there are multitudes in hell today because they were lied to or deceived and didn’t hear the  truth of the gospel. They heard another version that never told them to repent and turn from their sins.

Ministers will be held accountable for not preaching the full counsel of God. God hates deception because it eventually destroys people, brings judgment upon them, and is eternally fatal. Notice again these extremely strong words from the Amplified version of the Bible and the very heavy indictment given to those who preach another gospel:

“But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to and different from that which we preached to you, let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment)! As we said before, so I now say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel different from or contrary to that which you received [from us], let him be accursed (anathema, devoted to destruction, doomed to eternal punishment)” (Gal 1:8-9 Amp)!

Do we really believe that such a horrific curse pronounced on false preachers of a false gospel is in the Bible? Does this really mean what it says? Whenever something is repeated in the same context of Scripture we better pay very close attention to it and understand God’s heart in the matter. His anger and severity with all those who preach another gospel is glaringly evident here.

Why is this most damning terminology used to devote and doom men to destruction and eternal punishment? I’ll tell you why: Because a false gospel deceives and damns souls. It insults the precious blood of Christ and the agony and sacrifice He made for the sin of the world. It takes away the glory from the redemptive work of Jesus. It stains and contaminates the glorious bride of Christ. And in this context, it threatened to cause these young Galatian converts to depart from Christ and the real faith and return to the Law.

“Whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of the sea” Mat 18:6).

“Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God” (Acts 20:26-27).

I don’t want the blood of sinners on my hands because of a failure to preach the real Biblical gospel. Paul preached in order to present every man perfect in Christ Jesus (Col 1:28). May we do the same and save our necks and those who hear us.

Our books are forerunners to personal holiness, the move of God, and the return of the Lord. They also combat the departure from the faith and the turning away from the truth we are seeing in our day. The Real Gospel, The Real Jesus, The Real Salvation, and  The Real Spirit Of Revival are especially strategic in trumping the many falsehoods spreading in the modern day Church. If any of our books or articles on this blog are a blessing and encouragement to you please use the social media buttons below to share them.

Also, this ministry is sustained by the freewill offerings of those who believe in the mandate and message of revival that this ministry carries. Again, if this article has been a blessing to you, would you prayerfully consider making a tax-deductible contribution through our Paypal button to help? 

DONATE 

Thank you, and may God’s richest and best be yours.