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Maintaining Distinctive Holiness

If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new.” (2 Cor. 5:17) “That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; and be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and that ye put on the new man which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.” (Eph. 4:22-24) These verses are very clear that when a person believes in Jesus Christ for salvation, his life is radically changed, and he is to display this change by the way he lives a distinctively holy life. 1 Peter 1:14-16 instructs us to be holy like God is holy by forsaking the fashion of our unsaved lifestyle, and instead defeating the lust of ignorance by putting on the holiness of God Himself.

These passages make it obvious that the modern movement of cultural relativism is not a scriptural choice for today’s believers nor for their churches. It is a growing trend to modify our standards of holiness under the guise of being like the world to reach the world or becoming relevant to the world in which we live. Excuses for such change, such as, “People won’t come if we are too different,” or “We don’t want to stand out in the crowd and draw negative attention,” may sound convincing, but they defeat the very command that God has given to reveal the difference between the hoy and the profane. God’s Word, according to Hebrews 4, is designed as a divider and discerner. To seek to blend in with the world contradicts the Bible’s character.

I do not have to look like the world to reach the world. I do not have to sing the world’s songs to reach the world. I do not have to dress down the worship of God to reach a casual world. If I reveal the loving heart of God, the caring compassion of the dying Christ, the sacrificial service of the surrendered Christ, and the indwelling power of the Spirit of Christ, I will be enabled by the grace of God to reach the world on God’s terms. We must be very careful that we do not sacrifice Biblical Holiness on the altar of cultural relativism or else we may find that we have lost our relevance entirely.