Thursday, August 11, 2011

Pursuing Holiness

Colossians 2:23 These have indeed an appearance of wisdom in promoting self-made religion and asceticism and severity to the body, but they are of no value in stopping the indulgence of the flesh.

23 ἅτινά ἐστιν λόγον μὲν ἔχοντα σοφίας ἐν ἐθελοθρησκίᾳ καὶ ταπεινοφροσύνῃ [καὶ] ἀφειδίᾳ σώματος, οὐκ ἐν τιμῇ τινι πρὸς πλησμονὴν τῆς σαρκός.

Paul is finishing up his argument about true holiness. He spends a lot of time talking about Christ and then he finishes with a series of verses about those who advocate various forms of asceticism as a means of godliness. This verse concludes that argument.

Why do I bring this up? It seems that as people we have a tendency to either license or legalism. The circles I run in tend more toward legalism, and I am as guilty of that as anyone. This is particularly prevalent in Independent Baptist churches. I've met some folks from this world who are assured of their salvation because they do not drink beer or wine. They would claim that they are saved by grace and not by works, but their attitude clearly indicates the contrary.

I am not advocating any use of Christian liberty. That is a matter for personal conscience. But as someone who served in a ministry helping people find freedom from besetting sins, I can tell you that there is a very fine line we must walk. Legalism is easier than grace. It is easier to discern a rule than to follow conscience informed by the Word and the Spirit.

My prayer is that those of us who love the Lord would follow Him based on the clear teaching of Scripture. Any pursuit of holy living must be the result of His grace working in our lives. Let's live accordingly, amen?

No comments: