February 21, 2024

Love or Holiness

Love GodIf you were to ask a random person to describe God some would tell you about where they believe He is (“The Man Upstairs”) some would tell you that He doesn’t exist, but I believe a majority of people would tell you something about God being love. And they would be correct, since 1 John 4:8 states plainly- “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

A loving God is something with which many can relate. They have or know of loving parents. They have love for a spouse, children or a dog, and it is easy to picture a loving God because, in this mindset, a loving God (much like Grandpa) doesn’t demand anything from us– and may shower us with gifts from time to time. Hence the whole line of thought “How can a loving God do XYZ?” (For you mathematicians out there, substitute XYZ with any tragedy and you’ve solved the equation.)

The interesting thing is that when God decides to identify Himself– or angels praise an attribute– they choose to praise something else entirely. They praise God’s holiness. When the Lord appeared in the temple to Isaiah– high and lifted up– it wasn’t “Love, Love, Love” that the angels cried out but “Holy, Holy, Holy.” Same thing in the book of Revelation around the throne of God.

In fact, it was God’s holiness that demanded Christ die for our sins. True, Christ came in love, but He came because sin demanded a sacrifice. Yes, if you look throughout the Bible you will find that God exhibits and is called on for His holiness many times. You will see it in how He dealt with Adam and Eve– one sin and they were out of the garden. How He dealt with Noah and the Flood– the whole Earth except for eight people destroyed. (In those days, you could have a get together at a house and say that the you truly had the whole world over! And the grandkids– the cutest in the world… I’ll stop now.)

On down the line you see God demonstrating holiness and justice. He did demonstrate love, mercy and compassion (part of the name of God said before Moses) but when He chose an attribute to express Himself to His people, it was His holiness.

So what does that mean to us? Well, the Scripture is clear that we are to be holy as God is holy. It’s an important thing. It’s part of fearing God. I believe that Christians and the church have gotten so used to singing and talking about how much God is the God of love that we tend to be a little lax on the obedience side of things because we know He will forgive. We sing about the grace and mercy of God, and we emphasize it, but do we preach and live the righteousness of God.

It is true that our sins were paid for at Calvary. It is true that if we confess we will be forgiven. It is true that there is more grace to cover sin. But it is also true that we should not sin that Grace may abound: Romans 6. In fact, we are called to use our grace and mercy to reach the lost for Christ, and that means by living in a way that pleases and draws attention to Him, not us.

If anything, we should be more desiring to do the will of God and follow His commandments because of what He has done for us. Instead of having sin over us, we are liberated from it, and that should cause us to have a passion towards obedience. We should love to follow Him. We should want to “look our best for our bridegroom.”

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4 thoughts on “Love or Holiness

  1. I was in the audience when a very popular female teacher was speaking and she went on a tangent about being relevant in our culture. She said we can’t act so righteous all the time that we aren’t able to carry on a conversation with someone, and that there isn’t anything wrong with Christians being “hip” (she specifically mentioned putting on makeup, getting a decent haircut, and wearing new clothes) with the culture so that we are relevant. Her main point was that we have to engage the culture OR they will never want what we’ve got (Jesus). They won’t want to listen to anything we have to say.

    I think she was trying to blur the lines between what God says is becoming and appropriate attire for Christian women (holiness, godly apparel) and love. Only Jesus could perfectly demonstrate holiness and love at the same time and do so without sin.

    I disagree with her. I think the most loving thing we can do is live holy lives while living in this world in order to point others toward Jesus. Our holy living and good deeds glorify Him and make him known. My hip hair-do won’t gain a platform from which I can share the gospel.

  2. I believe you’re right, Leslie, Jesus was the only one with the total balance. We can come close, but our lives need to be attractive to those that are searching– attractive in a way that a person says “They have something I don’t” rather than “They are just the same as I am.” Why would someone want what they already have? If Christians aren’t holding a higher standard– and being joyful about it!– why would the world want to be like Christ?

  3. Definitely…I’ve been around fashion divas who have no joy at all (but claim to be Christians) and normal every day people who have this radiance that you just can’t get enough of…they’re so excited about God and what He’s done/doing…

    We don’t have to sell Jesus by being hip. That’s not to say that you can’t be hip AND on fire for Him…I’ve seen that also.

    Btw, loved the Noah jokes, gonna have to remember them for the next time I have Children’s Story at church!

  4. WE DONT HAVE TO SELL JESUS BY BEING HIP… YEP thats it, hit the nail right on the head! No one wants to come to Christ to be just like they are now. And everyone has to count the cost.

    Mrs Meg Logan

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