Holiness – in 2002?

Holiness - in 2002?

Holiness - in 2002?

One thing I do love about God's principles is that they
work for anybody -– follower of Jesus or not. It was very kind of Him to allow
it to be this way and not just restrict the blessings to His own people.

This came through very clearly to me when I was flicking
fairly aimlessly through a book that was sitting by my chair. The title had not
really gripped me -– in fact, it had done the opposite -– made me nervous. "Personal
Holiness in Times of Temptation" can sometimes, in today's society, sound
quite unachievable! However, just the foreword gave me a wealth of information
that made me want to keep reading on.

The author, Bruce Wilkinson, wrote about a marketing strategy
called 'repositioning'. Basically, this means that a product or service that
has been perceived by the public to be of inferior quality, can be changed, by
clever marketing into one of great quality i.e. 30 years ago, the words "Made
in Japan" on a product told us that it was cheap and wouldn't last long.
Those same three words have been 'repositioned' and are now a symbol of
quality and such names as Toyota and Honda are leading lights in the automobile
industry.

I realise that the question now arises, what has this to do
with holiness? Well, just as a product or service can be repositioned
positively, it can also be repositioned negatively and that is what has happened
in this case. Many years ago, the fabric of our society was built on the
standards in the Word of God and holiness was incorporated in there because God's
Word is holy. However, as the standards of the Bible were set aside as
irrelevant and old-fashioned, so also the role of holiness became perceived more
and more negatively.

Bruce Wilkinson asks the question -– is there any clear
relationship between holiness and quality of life? "In other words, as
holiness decreased dramatically, what happened to the foundations of society?
For example:

  1. As holiness declined, what has been the trend in
    marriages and families -– has the rate of divorce increased or decreased,
    has the relationship between parents and children become stronger or weaker,
    and has abuse become more or less prevalent?
  2. As holiness declined, what has been the trend in the
    lives of children -– have youth become more wholesome, honest,
    self-disciplined, and respectful, or more dishonest, selfish, and
    disrespectful of authority?
  3. As holiness declined, what has been the trend in the
    media -– have movies, television, radio, and magazines promoted solid
    values, sexual fidelity, and integrity in relationships and business, or
    have they hyped sexual immorality, greed and violence?
  4. As holiness declined, what has been the trend in the
    prison population -– has the percentage of incarceration, the average age
    of inmates, and the level of violence in society increased or decreased?
  5. As holiness declined, what has been the trend in physical
    illnesses -– are more people healthy or sick, are psychological problems
    increasing or decreasing, and are individuals using more or less drugs in
    order to escape their problems?
  6. As holiness declined, what has been the trend in society's
    morality -– how do people feel about leaving their doors unlocked? Are our
    cities safe? Are alcohol and drug addictions increasing or decreasing? Are
    lawsuits becoming more or less prevalent?
  7. As holiness declined, what has been the trend in the
    overall quality of life -– have people enjoyed a more balanced life with
    growing peace and contentment, and has general kindness and goodwill become
    more or less prevalent?

....Although you may never have related the concept of "holiness"
with such things as marriage, family, media, prison, physical illnesses,
psychological well-being, addictions, morality, and quality of life; the Bible
not only links them, it relentlessly presents an unmistakable cause-and-effect
relationship between holiness and the routines of everyday life. Since that is
true, can you now begin to see the devastating result of the widespread negative
attitude toward holiness?" (End quote)

Probably the part that horrifies me the most though is the
fact that Hebrews 12:14 says "Follow peace with all men, and holiness,
without which no man shall see the Lord
."

When God asks us to be holy as He is holy, He is not asking
something that is not achievable. The fabric of society was permeated with
holiness years ago and we didn't even realise it until it was taken away and
we asked ourselves questions such as those above.

God is well able to help us in this area if we ask for His
wisdom on how to reposition it in our minds so that, once again, we can 'see'
God.