Introduction: The Importance of Philosophy | Part I: New Testament Passages
Excursus: Romans 1:5 | Part II: Holiness

In the previous post, God’s unchanging character of holiness was examined. Chris Watson then helped by channeling the discussion toward a solid definition of holiness. At this juncture a deeper look into the practical application of 1 John 2:15 coupled with Leviticus 11:44 is necessary. John wrote, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15); as mentioned before this verse presents a vital warning: worldly attitudes and values which are opposed to God have no place in the body of believers. But does this mean Christians are to hide themselves from the world? By no means; therefore a proper view of the doctrine of separation is necessary for God glorying ministry to occur. There are two forms of separation which are to be acknowledged in Christianity: 1) personal; and 2) positional.

The first aspect of separation is personal, this happens as a believer matures; Paul wrote, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17). A believer is a new creation in the eyes of Christ; his value system, is completely revolutionized; and he is fully released from the bondage of sinful practices. It is important to express that in today’s morally watered-down culture a personal separation from the world is paramount. Priest notes, “Subjectivity plays such a larger role in worship than it once did. We are free; modern culture has afforded us more choices; but choices, as always, carry consequences. The past is a prickly reminder of just how much we have changed, how we have grown to tolerate what an earlier generation considered repugnant.” For this reason, the apostle Paul left the church in Corinth clear principles to consider when determining personal standards of holiness: 1) Christians must consider others in their personal choices (8:1-13); they are obligated to consider the gospel in their personal choices (9:1-23); every ethical decision requires discipline (9:24-27); believers must avoid the association of sin (10:1-23); and above all else the choices of Christians are to glorify God (10:29-33).

It should be noted here that these standards and convictions are personally arrived at; as sanctification occurs in the life of a believer the standards of a person will change based on the broadening of their understanding of grace. Therefore, while these standards are a means of personal separation, they should not be taken as a means of ecclesiastical separation.

Lastly, a believer must have a proper understanding of grace, for the abuse of this privilege leads directly to heretical teaching. The justification of one’s actions as pertaining to grace unfortunately leads numerous Christians away from the true significance of Calvary, and thus negatively affects our personal ministries and the glory that should be attributed to God.

-Next, Positional Separation-


[1] Priest, “Early Fundamentalism’s Legacy,” pp. 320.

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