A few weeks ago, I was hit with the verse in 1 Peter 1:16 that commands, “Because it is written, ‘YOU SHALL BE HOLY FOR I AM HOLY’.” I asked the Lord, “How has the Church forgotten this?” Sadly, it’s because the Church has decided to be likeable to the unsaved world, to culture, rather than be true to the Word of God. Churches, and those who lead them, have chosen to believe that God can use false teaching, so it is no longer imperative to separate the Church from those who are unbiblically sound.
We know this is a wrong attitude regarding false teaching in the Church. The Word of God gives multiple warnings regarding being aware and alert of false teachers. The reality that God can use anything He chooses does not negate the fact that the Church is supposed to reject it and those who promote and teach it. Basically, we (the Church) are supposed to separate ourselves from those who are unbiblically sound in what they teach (Matthew 7:15; Romans 16:17; Galatians 1:9; 1 John 4:1; 2 John 1:10-11). Instead, our churches continue to use and follow ideas, methods, and concepts that totally lead the Church into a culture friendly, biblically weak direction that is far from “Being Holy for I am Holy”.
“BE HOLY AS I AM HOLY” is a command to be set apart. It is the idea of being consecrated unto the Lord (Leviticus 20:7, 26). SET APART: To make someone or something different and special; or to keep something separate in order to use it for a particular purpose. The Church has one purpose: to represent Christ in sharing the Gospel. The purpose of the command to “Be Holy as I am Holy” – this separation, this action of moving or being moved apart, is so that those who profess faith in Jesus Christ hold fast to the ways of righteousness through Christ and that we grow in our salvation, our faith and our personal purity (1 Timothy 4:16; 2 Corinthians 7:1). We are supposed to act, speak, live differently from those in the world around us, in our communities, wherever we are. We are to live set apart for the Lord. This doesn’t mean that we don’t interact with the unsaved or reach out to them. We must do this, but we must be doing it according to God’s standards.
We need to limit or even avoid relationships, activities, and behaviors (maybe even with those in the Church) that will cause us to compromise God’s commands and standards (1 Corinthians 5:9-11; Romans 12:2). See, when the Church begins to function with a goal of being “culturally friendly”, it stops being set apart. It stops being a representative of the Jesus of the Bible. Emerging Missional Progressive Christianity is a great picture of failing to really represent the Jesus of the Bible. The “thought leaders” of the EMC/PC are all about being like the world. It’s all about culturally friendly church; everyone is welcome. No one is kept out. That is not biblical. The invitation given by God is all inclusive; however, to actually walk through the door is extremely exclusive (John 3:16).
When Churches, and those who lead them, stop following the Word of God because it makes Christianity “harsh”, or because actually just giving people the gospel might cause rejection, or it makes the Christian look and feel weird, etc. Or, if they prefer to follow men like Caesar Kalinowski, Alan Hirsch, Hugh Halter, Brian McLaren, Brandon Hatmaker, Tim Keller, Rick Warren, Creo Collective and so many others who promote an all-inclusive Christianity that lets everyone be who they are and do what they want to do, it is no longer biblical Christianity and makes it impossible to follow the command “TO BE HOLY AS I AM HOLY”. Pastors and leaders need to get back to a biblical reverence of God so that those who sit under them might actually understand that we are all, as those who follow Christ, accountable to God.
The old worship song Refiner’s Fire is such a great prayer for those who truly want to live set apart for Jesus…who want to be consecrated to Him. There is a line that says, “I CHOOSE to be holy, set apart for you Lord”. Do whatever it takes to get free of false teaching. Get back to the scriptures. Throw out heretical resources. Today, choose to be set apart for Jesus. That’s it. StraightUp!