Continued Missing Parts,
8. The Necessity of Holiness to Please God. Hebrews says without holiness “no one shall see the Lord.” (12:14)It is true that Jesus commands us to be perfect. (Matt. 5:48) It is also true that you most likely have never met a perfect person, nor do you probably ever expect to be perfect yourself. Nevertheless, we still have those uncomfortable words of the Lord, “Be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect”
Now, because of our dilemma in finding ourselves to be such numskulls, and seeing the demands of Jesus, we have invented some pretty interesting and caraaazzeey doctrines. Some Christians have said, “Well, when God looks at us, He doesn’t really see us anymore, He sees Jesus instead. And when there’s ever sin in our hearts, if God should happen to look at the wrong moment, He’ll see a smiling face of Jesus there, instead of seeing our sin. So God sees me as holy – even though I’m not! But…I really am…er, well, you know what I mean!” (I don’t happen to believe that God is that easily fooled, not even by Christians.)
Another stranger-than-truth doctrine is that blessed refuge of backsliders called “the carnal Christian.” In this example of pretzel-logic, we are led to believe that any “believer” who isn’t really “walking with the Lord” at the present time, and is indulging in the things of the world and the lusts of the flesh, can still be considered a “Christian,” but not a Christian of the 1st class, no, a Christian of the 2ndclass… a “carnal Christian.” Here we have a case of the “believer” who doesn’t believe. Oh, he still “believes” that God is God, and that there is a heaven and hell, and so on (but don’t forget, the devil believes all these things too!-James 2:19). He knows all the right things to say to convince granny, the pastor, and his Christian friends that he’s still hanging in there. He even sort of believes it himself. Seems he’s got everybody fooled – everybody that is, except God! The Bible is clear that “If we say we’ have fellowship with Him, and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. ” (I John 1:6)14
Today, possibly the greatest insult to the Gospel has been the almost total neglect of the preaching of holiness for the Christian. Jesus doesn’t want to make believe that we’re holy, He wants to impart His holiness to us by the Holy Spirit. But because people are not being driven to the cross, convicted by His Law to repentance and real rebirth, then we have to spend hours in our seminaries trying to find suitable, complicated ways to explain away the obvious meanings of Scripture.
To all this you might be saying, “But what about all those people getting saved by the efforts of good men and ministries out there? They’re not preaching the way you say they should, and they still have converts!” Well, the immediate answer to that question is, “THE PEOPLE ARE NOT GETTING SAVED BECAUSE OF THEIR MESSAGES, THEY’RE GETTING SAVED IN SPITE OF THEM.” But unfortunately, many of the people who make “decisions for Christ” through large evangelistic crusades, do not even attend church regularly in the years that follow. (And as you probably well know, “attending church regularly” does not guarantee that one is a true believer.) But let’s take a closer look at what kind of “converts” today’s gospel usually produces. To continue