Apostle Natasha posed a question to us recently that keeps coming back to me – Why is it that we can go to church and comfortably sit through sermon after sermon, while living in sin, and not be convicted? If God hates sin and one of the jobs of the Holy Spirit is to convict us of sin, why are we so comfortable with sin? Why do we excuse sins that the Bible blatantly condemns? It seems that the whole concept of holiness is something that is seen as an optional extra for Christians.
God says, “Be holy even as I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). Holiness means to be set apart for God. Set apart means different to the rest, not part of the crowd. If we are commanded to be holy, why do we look like the rest of the world? It is often very difficult to distinguish a Christian from a pagan. In fact the pagan often looks more righteous! There is something wrong with this picture! Divorce rates in the church are no different to the world. The number of pregnant, unwed mothers in the church is no different either. There is something wrong when South Africa professes to be a Christian nation (I think we are almost 75% Christian) yet we have one of the highest AIDS rates in the world. If we are all Christian – who is sleeping around? This nation has one of the highest crime rates and murder rates in the world. Yet we are Christian! Now we can blame this on all sorts of things, but Dennis Peacocke says, “What the Church will allow, the world will take to the extreme.” We have these stats in South Africa because of the sin that we allow in the church. When last were you convicted of sin in your life? And if you were convicted, did you repent? And when you repented, did you change your ways and stop doing that sin? And more than that, did you ask God for a hatred of the sin? Holiness means that we not only stop sinning, but we hate the sin with perfect hatred as God does. I want to tell you, I was convicted of this while at our recent conference in Polokwane. I repent often and try not to sin, but I have never asked God for a hatred of the things He hates. Holiness is not just not sinning, it is hating sin and fleeing from it.
I am asking the Lord to give me a fresh understanding of holiness. It is time to seek after holiness in OUR lives.It is time to be DIFFERENT from everyone else. When the world says it is OK to have sex before marriage, we have to model sexual purity and integrity. When the world says it is acceptable to bribe traffic officers to escape a large fine, we need to take responsibility for our actions when we break the law.Actually, we should NOT break the law. Someone needs to raise a standard against the lawlessness in this nation – and it needs to be you and I.It is time to refuse to watch movies and TV programs that have explicit sexual content or bad language. It is time to be set apart, time for a return to holiness. Remember – without holiness, we will not see the Lord.(Hebrews 12:14)