How does one define holiness? According to Easton’s 1897 Bible Dictionary, “personal holiness is a work of gradual development. It is carried on under many hindrances, hence the frequent admonitions to watchfulness, prayer, and perseverance” (I Corinthians 1:30; II Corinthians 7:1; Ephesians 4:23, 24). Simply put, true holiness is being as much like God as we can. We can exhibit love for all, compassion for all, and maintain a right relationship with God so that He may guide us in all that we do. If we refuse to obey His Word, we cannot be in a right relationship with Him. We must also remember that we are not gods and we do not have the right to tell Him what He can or cannot do either with others or through others.
Holiness is not defined by man’s inept attempt to keep people bound to legalism. “If a woman is truly holy, her clothing will completely cover her extremities; her hair will be covered, and she will be void of make-up and jewelry.” There are no specifics as to how to define how a man is holy as far as how their dress goes. So says legalism.
What is legalism? Legalism is the way of the Pharisees and Sadduccees. These are the rules by which people determine (not by the Word of God) who is holy and who is not. Legalism is another word for bondage. Bondage hinders and prohibits the Holy Spirit from directing and guiding an individual and keeps people controlled by other people based upon their traditions. Jesus gives us warning about such people when talking about the Pharisees. “Thus you are nullifying and making void and of no effect [the authority of] the Word of God through your tradition, which you [in turn] hand on. And many things of this kind you are doing” (Mark 7:13 Amplified). In this particular passage Jesus is referring to how the
Pharisees attempt to control men as it relates to the care of their parents. It also holds true for much of the church world’s attempts to establish rules.
How many rules does a church have?
There are rules for dressing in order to come into the sanctuary.
There are rules for committing a portion of one’s income to support the church.
There are rules for what one can do outside the church building.
There are rules for which one can hold associations or affiliations.
There are rules for when to come to church.
There are rules for who can teach or preach.
There are rules for where one can sit in the church.
There are many rules for the women.
There are some rules for the men.
There are rules for the young people.
There are rules for the rules.
Does all of this sound familiar? If one looks closely at all the rules, the majority of the rules are directed towards women. [Remember when the Pharisees brought the woman who was “caught in the very act” to Jesus? What happened to the man? The “law” states that both should be stoned to death.] This discovery should not be a surprise since the majority of churches are established by men for men. Women simply become an after-thought in the consideration of everything that goes on around them. This is a fascinating phenomenon since most churches could not continue to function if it were not for the women involved.
This is an excerpt from Holiness, Not A Look, But a Lifestyle! available on amazon.com