“Therefore, since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2Cor 7:1.)
The concept of holiness, as with many other aspects of what God commands, is sometimes misused within the church to try to force religion upon people legalistically. Just like the teaching of repentance and sin, parts of the church have moved away from teaching about holiness because of the damage that it has been seen to do. Some may no longer teach holiness because of the unpopularity of the message; preaching about setting ourselves aside for God is never going to attract large numbers of people to a ministry. However, I believe that a return to genuine holiness will be at the centre of a coming move of God which will see the church transformed from what it is now.
True holiness is a decision of the heart to set ourselves aside from the world that we might chase the glory of God. It is a determination to follow and obey Him no matter the cost, and it is an intrinsic part of the life of those who choose to follow Him.
The desire for holiness comes from God Himself. It is the Holy Spirit who convicts us of our sin and gives us that passion to follow Jesus, (John 16:8.) To want to follow God at personal cost is completely contrary to the heart of man and can only come from that which He does within us. Genuine conviction may come through hearing an anointed sermon or reading a book written by person who has been used by the Spirit, but man cannot use his own force of will to manufacture holiness in somebody else or to make them to follow God by religious rules. It is too easy for the preaching of holiness to become method where man tries to build the church by his own flesh. Using such methodology soon becomes very damaging for people.
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You clean the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.” (Matt 23:25.)
The movement of holiness that is coming upon the church will not come about by man trying to make the outside of the cup clean by imposing rules, but by men and women of God circumcising their hearts before God and dedicating themselves to following Him regardless of the cost. It is from the heart that a true desire to follow Him and to serve Him must come from. This movement will see a transformation in what the church is. The church will become centred around seeking, knowing and following Jesus. People who come from such churches will carry real love and power as they walk the world clothed in His holiness and in submission to His will. Such a church will never be seen as an irrelevance by the world, but it will be both loved and feared as something that carries the authority of God.
“If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.” (2 Chon 7:14.)
This move of God is not a new or a radical idea, it was ordained by God to be the foundation of how His people met when He established His temple though Solomon. In 2 Chronicles 7:14, God consecrates His temple making it clear that it is to be a place where His people call on His name, humble themselves, repent and seek His face. The promises of the Old Testament are not replaced by Jesus, but they are fulfilled by Him, (Matt 5:17,). God no longer lives in a house made by human hands, (Acts 7:48,) but He dwells inside His people, and we make up His temple, (1 Cor 6:19.) The same challenge and promise is upon us to seek his face, repent and pray if we are to see Him heal our land.