What has happened to holiness in the body of Christ? Why is so much worldly compromise allowed these days? The Church of Jesus Christ has let themselves be infiltrated by the world’s ways and values. They have a form of godliness but deny it’s power. Even many ministers today focus way too much on loving the sinner but allowing the sin-not addressing it for what it is…SIN! The great revivals of the past have always had their focus on repentance, holiness and purification of sin from both the believer and the unbeliever. If we expect the power of the Holy Spirit to sweep across the nations in these last days, desiring to see people saved and converted unto Christ, we must throw aside the compromise, desire holiness and seek the Lord. We must not be afraid to call a spade a spade. We must not be afraid to confront people in their sin-this includes Christians! Yes we are to love God and love people but that love does not mean we dismiss small sins and make excuses for people based on ‘loving the person but hating the sin’. Yes we are righteous before the Lord in Christ-this is our position but the Lord calls for Holiness among His people!
15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot,[g] I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. (Rev 3:15-19)
Truth has been watered down to something barely recognizable in much of the church today. It’s but a shadow of what it should be. I agree with your statement about ‘censure among our peers’. When one stands up and begins to preach the truth, under the anointing power of God, they will come under criticism for sure. The church as a whole today has little power but a ton of programs. As Paul stated in his 2nd letter to Timothy, ‘having a form of godliness but denying it’s power’.
It seems to me that many today want to constantly soften the Gospel message to be an all-acceptance type Gospel and then let God work on them once they get saved. If we look back through church history, starting with the book of Acts, we don’t see this pattern achieving results. What we do see, starting with Peter’s first sermon on the day of Pentecost, is preaching the truth boldly at the people, under the power of the anointing. Peter didn’t hold back. In fact if you read through his words, many times he accuses them of being the very ones who crucified Jesus. If that’s not ‘judgemental’ I’m not sure what it is. He preached with audacity and boldness and truth, and 3,000 were converted and brought to Christ that day! This has always been the same patter throughout the centuries when great men of God preached the Word and revival fires broke out! Repentance was preached and Christians prayed. The message of repentance stings…even for the Christian. It calls us back to holiness! It lifts the standard to the highest levels and through the Holy Spirit brings people to their knees under the weight of the Word, the Law and it’s truth. Only when people have been broken under the conviction of holiness and God’s ultimate standard-only when people realize they are truly sick and need a cure-only when people realize they are completely destitute and depraved, completely and utterly unable to approach God or ever make it to Heaven on their own works, can we then offer the hope of the Gospel message.
I am not into going around trying to judge people but as a Christian and part of the body of Christ, I have an obligation to preach the truth-to both myself and every hearer. Too many mansy pansy believers and coddle them in their sins. The same can be said of the message towards the lost. It’s so ‘seeker-sensitve’. God forbid someone be offended at the Gospel message. God forbid someone would fall under the overwhelming power of conviction of the Holy Spirit. God forbid someone would cry out ‘Lord undo me for I am a sinner’ in the sight of God and man! The standard has been lowered but it needs to be raised again.
It’s of special importance to note the ministry of John the Baptist. He preached truth in spite of opposition and called out Herod for sleeping with (marrying) his brother’s wife (Mark 6:14-29). Herod was not a follower of Yahweh and yet John called out his sin. Why? Because sin must be confronted for what it is. Too many prescribe to the the social agenda and order of the day where we must not offend anyone, whether it be a fellow believer or one who is unsaved. The message of the cross is an offense (Gal 5:11). It’s an offense against sin. It’s an offense against our flesh. It’s an offense against the social norms of what is acceptable. Of course it’s not about exacting improper judgements based on one’s own self-righteousness but rather that of God’s holy standard.
We are to continually be examining our own selves before the Lord (2 Cor 13:5), asking Him to refine us and purify us, desiring to be holy in all we do. Of course, we do this by the power of the Holy Spirit working in us, asking Him to convict us of all sin and areas that are displeasing to Him. This inner working of holiness is wrought in us as we prostrate ourselves before the Lord in every area of our lives, leaving nothing to ourselves but giving over every aspect of our lives as a sacrifice of praise-placing ourselves if you will, upon the altar of God.
I heard the other day a minister speaking about someone-a believer-living in sin. They were saying “Well, I don’t want to make them uncomfortable and call them out too much-driving them away. We must trust the Holy Spirit to work in their lives.” (paraphrased). This is the order of this day-this type of approach to sin. It’s the devil’s work I tell you! We absolutely are to call one another out. We are to refine each other and are to be accountable to one another. God sent His only begotten Son to live the life of a mere mortal, to suffer the life of His own creation, to bear the weight of all the sin of the world, to die a horrible suffering death…for us!! The apostle Paul says “We died to sin, how can we live in it any longer?”
The church needs to stop making excuses. Men and women of God need to stop coddling their sin and the sins of others. Sin is sin and it separates us from God. Sin is what got us all into this whole mess, thus requiring a savior. We need to preach repentance from sin, holiness, being spiritually born again and filled with the baptism of the Holy Spirit. We need the fire of God to refine us!!! No more games. No more cushy Sunday services and then living like the devil the rest of the week. No more excuses. No more giving way to sin. Lord refine us!!