Holiness


SinMany Christians wonder whether God will forgive them for intentional sin – particularly premeditated and habitual sins.  It’s easy to believe God will forgive us for accidental sins, but not for sins that we plan out in advance or choose to do over and over again.

So, will God forgive such sins?  Before we answer that question we should be clear about what God thinks of these sins.  He hates them because He hates all sin.  Sin is contrary to His holy nature.  Sin ruptures God’s relationship with us, and this grieves Him.  He has given us the power to choose righteousness (Romans 6; 8:1-4), and yet we choose unrighteousness instead. (more…)

Cannabis leaf on grunge background, shallow DOF.Now that Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Alaska, and Washington D.C. have legalized the recreational use of marijuana, more Christians are asking whether smoking marijuana is truly immoral. After all, it’s legal.[1] Joe Carter has a thoughtful article on this issue that I found extremely helpful.[2] He argues that smoking marijuana is immoral. Here is Carter’s argument in a nutshell (with some ad-lib on my part at certain points): (more…)

people-without-beards-are-womenHoliness churches are concerned with preserving the God-given distinction between men and women, and rightly so.  That’s why many holiness churches teach that women should wear skirts/dresses and grow their hair long while men should wear pants and cut their hair short.  It is ironic, then, that a number of holiness churches do not allow their male members to grow facial hair or view it as unfavorable when facial hair is the only natural, publically visible, God-given distinction between the sexes.  While men can grow their hair long and women can cut their hair short, and while men can dress effeminate and women can dress masculine, only men can grow facial hair.  Raymond Crownover noted this inconsistency in his response to a paper presented at the first Urshan Graduate School of Theology symposium in May 2002, writing: (more…)

best-beardMen and women were created differently.  The God-given distinction between the two genders should be not be blurred, but preserved and celebrated.  That’s why I am opposed to men shaving their facial hair.  Facial hair is the only natural, publically visible, God-given distinction between the sexes.  While men can grow their hair long and women can cut their hair short, and while men can dress effeminate and women can dress masculine, only men can grow facial hair.  It is the unique differentiator between men and women, and thus should be preserved.

Facial hair is part of God’s creative design.  And since the ability to grow facial hair is unique to the male gender, it seems obvious that God provided facial hair to men as a distinguishing feature of their gender.  If God did not want men to have facial hair, why would He have included it in our design?  What makes us think that have the liberty to artificially remove this God-given gender distinction?  For a man to shave his face is to say to the Creator, “You did not make me right.  This hair on my face was a mistake.”  When a man shaves his face, He is violating God’s creative intent and attempting to erase a unique stamp of his masculinity afforded to him by God.  (more…)

ModestyThere is a difference between a woman making herself attractive and making herself seductive.  The former enhances her natural beauty to increase a man’s desire for her, whereas the latter enhances her sexual appeal and increases a man’s desire to use her to satisfy his sexual lusts.  In other words, the former enhances her value as a person, whereas the latter devalues her to a mere object of lust.

Modesty cannot be legislated by prescribing certain forms of clothing, certain lengths, or a certain fit.  Women must be responsible for their own modesty.  With every outfit they put on they should be asking themselves, “Does this outfit enhance my natural beauty, or does it enhance my sex appeal to men?  Will this cause men to objectify me, or value me as a woman?”  If women asked these questions of themselves each morning, and if they asked it of other men, no church would have to have standards of modesty.

Christians often disagree regarding matters of personal holiness.  Those defending themselves against the charge of sin for some X will often respond by saying, “It’s not that bad.”  Of course, to say something is “not that bad” is tantamount to saying it’s “not that good” either.  In such cases, we should be honest with ourselves and others and just admit that X is not spiritually advantageous for us, even if it is morally tolerable.  Would we be better off if we abstained?  Perhaps.  Are we sinning if we don’t?  No.

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IFWe should not confuse permissiveness for grace. Grace says, “I love you and forgive you, so you need to stop this sin,” not “I love you and forgive you, so it doesn’t matter what you do.”  We are living in a culture that thinks love and forgiveness mean we should permit people to continue in their sin while we continue in our silence.  This is not grace, and this is not love.  Grace and love will always confront sin, because grace and love are the remedy for sin, not the license to continue in it.

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