Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Misunderstanding Holiness: The error of the holiness movement

There are many verses in the New Testament scripture that refers to holiness. Unfortunately, there are those who erroneously think that holiness is something that saints can do or become. Nothing, absolutely nothing, could be farther from the truth. Sanctification is something that is done for the saint by God and growing in holiness is something that accompanies the transformation power of the gospel. This is a continuation of the last blog post  "The Transforming Gospel."

The truth is that many a life has been shipwrecked by the error of holiness, and specifically the Pentecostal movement known as Holiness Churches. The reason for this is that in holiness, as defined by the Holiness Church, it is all self effort. Holiness is something one does. Being sanctified is earmarked by a set of observed behaviors. In fact, the Holiness Church ignores the most important of all concepts, the transforming power and action of the gospel message. Now I realize that it would seem in reading the New Testament that there is a strong case for the necessity of holiness. The problem is that it has been sorely misunderstood. There are many scriptures that the Holiness Church uses to prove the necessity of the holy life. However, they do not mean what the connotation placed on them by the Holiness Church has given them. I will give an example. Hebrews 12:14 KJV  "Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:" Pretty straight forward and clear right? WRONG!

Holiness begins with the Greek word HAGIAZO... this means to make holy. It is also used for sanctify, sanctified and sanctification. Then we have HAGIASMOS... this means to become holy or to move toward holiness and sanctification; to become sanctified. Next comes HAGIOS, this word is translated saint in the New Testament scripture. Finally, there is HAGION... this is a sanctuary or a consecrated place. They can be found in Strong's Greek Dictionary as 37, 38, 39, and 40 respectively. I list all of these here because they will aid in showing just how far off the mark the Holiness Church Movement is. Let me give you a hint right now. Anyone's holiness begins with HAGIAZO which God did FOR US in Christ, and HAGIASMOS is something that is done supernaturally over time by hearing the gospel. We, by the act of God in Christ, become HAGIOS, and at the same time we are the HAGION for the Spirit of Christ here on earth. Absolutely none of this is done by our effort, and most definitely, it is not accomplished by our reading and doing. The fact is that the so called Holiness Church has a different gospel. It is a damaging gospel as it kills spirituality.

So let's use the example form Hebrews listed above. There is no way that one could say that the author of Hebrews means what the Holiness Church teaches it means. The reason is that the same author stated a redemptive decree in Hebrews 10:10-14 KJV.  "By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.  (11)  And every priest standeth daily ministering and offering oftentimes the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins:  (12)  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;  (13)  From henceforth expecting till his enemies be made his footstool.  (14)  For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." There is no possible way that the Hebrew writer could have meant what the Holiness Church has claimed for Hebrews 12:14. Paul also writes similarly.  1 Corinthians 1:30 KJV  But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption: God made Jesus our sanctification, or in other words our holiness.... and again.... 2 Thessalonians 2:13 KJV  But we are bound to give thanks alway to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:

So what about HAGIASMOS? Well, this is where the previous blog post comes into play. Hearing the gospel over and over again builds our peace with the Father and causes us to love the Father "for real" at a depth that is impossible without the gospel. It is from this place that our HAGIASMOS, sanctification and holiness grows ever stronger and more and more like our Savior. However, law and the striving for holiness actually kills this supernatural spiritual movement in our hearts.

The Holiness Church needs to REPENT!!!

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