Mixed Messages

This has been flitting through my head the past couple weeks, but I have not been able to write my thoughts on the matter all that well. Nevertheless, I think it’s time to try. As most of you know, I adhere to the holiness doctrine. I believe it is not only possible for a Christian to no longer sin, this sinless behavior is expected.

I will focus on one example.

I attended a Bible study for a short while during the summer session at Clemson. I was delighted one evening to hear the speaker say that Christians did not have to sin. She (we won’t discuss appropriateness of this) said that, when those who called themselves Christians did not have lives that were changed– that is, they kept on doing the sinful things they used to do– there was something terribly wrong. At one point she said she was holy.

But then, only a week later, the same person said that repentance was a daily thing. Every day she had to repent of sinful thoughts and actions.

Problem: If one repents, he does not return to the former way of living. Repentance involves changing one’s mind. It is more than feeling sorry for what one has done.

Another problem: How can one be holy and yet sin? The two don’t go together. Is it possible to be holy? Of course. In fact, it’s expected. John said that he who has been born of God does not sin. (1 John 5:18) Paul said that believers are not slaves to sin. Jesus said that those who love Him will keep His commandments. (John 14:15)

Does anyone else see the problem? These people were being told one thing one day and the opposite the next. How would anyone know what to believe in this situation? And does the same thing happen in other groups, other churches?

Consistency would be nice.

5 thoughts on “Mixed Messages

  1. Kinda funny you post your own rant here, then a few weeks later Mr. Davis posts a rant on his blog, too.

    And aye, consistency would be nice indeed.

  2. Hi!

    Very interesting post. I think I’d like to tackle your question: “How can one be holy and yet sin? The two don’t go together.”

    This goes to the question: what does the word holy mean? The primary meaning of the word is “to set apart for sacred use” or to be “ceremonially separated onto God.” You’ll notice in Leviticus that God speaks to Israel to be holy, to follow certain regulations to separate them from other nations. For example, God forbade them from getting tattoos, because other nations did that to their people, and God wanted to have the Israelites set apart from them.

    The Levitical priests were also referred to as holy. Yet they were not without sin. The book of Hebrews makes this distinction. All the Leviticial priests had to make regular offerings for their sins, yet Jesus never had to, because he was without sin. Yet the priests were still considered holy by God, because He had separated them for His use. In much the same way, Christians are separated from the world onto God for His use. By definition, a Christian is holy.

    So if you were puzzled, keep in mind that people may be using “holy” in different contexts.

    – Jason

  3. Jason,

    Thanks for the comment. Too bad it took so long to reply, especially since I only had a sentence or two in response.

    It is true that the Levites were called holy, that is, they were set apart. But (and perhaps I should have included this) when I talked afterward, it was clear this definition was not the one being used.

    And I agree, Christians are separated from the world for God’s use.

  4. It’s okay. I am no better in updating my blog.

    Wow, when’s the last time I did that?

    – Jason

Bark at me