What does the Bible teach us about holiness?

Published 6:49am Friday, October 5, 2012

By REV. CARL G. RALSTON

Church of the Lord Jesus Christ

The subject of holiness is found throughout the Bible. “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). We can take our King James Bible and read verse after verse, or exhortations and commands of the Lord and his apostles that tell us to be holy.

God pity the preacher and the church that does not preach and practice true holiness, for the apostle declares that we must be holy. Holiness is separation from this sinful world with all its lustful habits and desires. John tells us. “For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life is not of the father, but is of the world” (1 John 2:16). If we ever expect to have God’s favor toward us, we must be free from these things.

Now the deity of Christ, Christianity stands or falls on this subject. We must uphold the divinity of Christ. Jesus is either God manifested in the flesh, or he is the greatest imposter this world has ever seen.

We Christians know and are waiting for his second coming, which is the hope of the church. The apostle John says, “every man that hath this hope in him purifies himself even as he (Christ) is pure” (1 John 3:3). God always blesses this message when preached. It stirs the sinner to repentance and the Christian to faithfulness.

We can look at all the signs that we see in our world today, which are pointing to his soon coming for his church. We ask ourselves this question, “How will his coming affect us individually, as well as the whole world?” The Bible tells us his second coming does not mean the end of the world. When Jesus comes and takes his church from the earth, the way of life will continue on the earth, and God will still be dealing with the nations. But let us heed the warning  — God’s dealing at that time will not be with mercy as in the day of grace, but rather with the judgment of the great tribulation such as the world has never seen.

Thus, the church is the body or assembly of people who have been called out of the world and sin into Jesus Christ, and have entered into him by obeying the gospel. It is a foregone conclusion that the Lord has but one church. There is but one Savior, and therefore only one gospel.

This being true, the church has but one foundation. “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ” (1 Corinthians 3:11). We read in Ephesians 2: 20-22 that we are “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone. In whom all the building fitly framed together for an habitation of God through the spirit.”

Here, the apostle clearly sets forth the truth that the apostles and prophets laid the foundation of the church in their preaching, teaching, and doctrine, that the foundation they laid in none other than Jesus Christ himself, and that he is the chief corner stone as well as the foundation, that we are to be built upon. All of this they did by the authority and power of the Holy Ghost. Now that the foundation is laid, there remains only one thing to do. That is to be sure we are built on that one who is the only foundation and in whom the whole church is built together for the habitation of the Holy Ghost.

One may ask, “Who builds the church?” Jesus said, “And upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (St. Matthew 16:18). This would be the proper place to start, if we are to know who the builder of the Church is. We can see here the Lord clearly stated that he is the builder and that the church that he is the building shall survive every attack of hell against it.

If we are to abide forever, it is necessary that we be found in the church that Jesus is building. If Jesus Christ is not the builder, then all is in vain and will soon perish and pass away. Let us read the words of Apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 3:9-10, “For we are laborers together with God, ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building. According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise master builder, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereupon.”

Here, we are told Jesus Christ builds the church through human instruments, that as an apostle, Paul laid the foundation, and that other ministers are builders on that foundation. Thus, Jesus Christ builds his church and the ministers of the church are workers together with him.

The Apostles laid the foundation of the church in their work, teachings and doctrine. They established the church of Jesus Christ in the earth and opened the door of the gospel to all men, that all men must obey if they expect to go to be with the Lord.

Let us give heed to neither add to the prophecy of the Book, nor take from it, for it is written “I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of the book. If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book. And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book” (Revelation 22:18-19).

Be aware of these new Bible versions. The thing we all must do is to do as Peter preached on the day of Pentecost — that is, obey (Acts 2:38).

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