The Holiness Myth

Some people who have seen the fallacy of teaching people that they have no need to obey God, have tried to emphasise the need for a change in behaviour on the part of those who have accepted God's grace in Christ.
The mistake is that their change in behaviour take the form of health and social taboos that rarely ever have anything to do with the teachings of Christ.
Some of the disciplines looked for in believers of Christ are: no smoking; no drinking; no use of culturally offensive language; no casual mention of sex; no going to movies or dances; alterations to dress styles; etc. All of this is called "holiness". But it has little if any connection with the holiness that Christ taught.

Besides, true holiness should not have to be legislated in a book of rules. We cannot make ourselves holy. What we can do is to respond to Christ's love by following and obeying him. Holiness will grow from this.
The word "holy" means "set apart". Early Christians were certainly set apart from the rest of their society, but it wasn't based on the issues stressed by the holiness people.
Throughout the Old Testament people had been taught that the way to make one day a week holy was to stop working for money and give one's full attention to the things of God. Christ simply taught that his followers could exceed the Jewish concepts of righteousness by setting their whole lives apart for service to God. He taught: "Do not think about what you will eat or what you will wear (for all the nations of the world seek these things), but seek God's kingdom." (Mat. 6:25-34)
Matthew the tax collector did not have to change his language, clothing, or eating habits to convince people that he was "holy". All he did was quit his job and follow Jesus. (Luke 5:27-28)
The holiness myth is a poor substitute for scriptural holiness!


Bible References:

Matthew 6:25-34:
Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment?
26 Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they?
27 Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature?
28 And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin:
29 And yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.
30 Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?
31 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed?
32 (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.
33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
34 Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Luke 5:27-28:

And after these things he went forth, and saw a publican, named Levi, sitting at the receipt of custom: and he said unto him, Follow me.
28 And he left all, rose up, and followed him.

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