All forms of unholy living will attract God’s judgement.
TEXT: 2 Timothy 3:2
A closer look at the events in our society today will reveal how the devil is mounting pressure on people to lower moral standards and holy living so as to distance them from God.
The worrisome aspect of the growth of sinful living is that Satan’s deception is not restricted to the unbelieving larger society alone. Some churches and their leaders are getting increasingly infested by this “end time bug” of “it doesn’t matter” mentality, which condones and compromises unholy, sinful, lifestyles. It is indeed increasingly becoming difficult to distinguish some Christians from unbelievers as a result of similarities in their lifestyles.
The aim of Satan in this regard is very clear. He knows fully well that this time (reign), is running out and that the second coming of Christ is closer than ever. Satan would therefore want to keep people from meeting God’s standards through unholy living, and for believers, he would work relentlessly to de-emphasize the place and importance of holiness.
However, holiness remains and all-time standard that God demands of his children as a condition for pleasing Him and for gaining access to His kingdom, 1 Peter 1:15-16.
The objectives of this study are:
- To understand the meaning of holy and unholy.
- To know practical situations that promote unholy living.
- To know the consequences of unholy living.
- WHAT DO YOU UNDERSTAND BY THE TERMS “UNHOLY AND HOLY LIVING”?
“Holy living” is a wholesome life-style (in words and deeds) that conforms with God’s standard of decency, moderation, and devoid of any form of corruption, defilement or ungodliness. It is a lifestyle that shuns sin, conforming with God’s nature and character of holiness. Holy living consists of whatever thoughts, words or deeds that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praise worthy, Philippians 4:8. It follows from the above that a life of holiness is a life lived in love as it also has all the attributes of love, 1 Corinthians 13:4.
One therefore wonders about the folly of some Christians who regard holy living as a preserve of some particular church denominations only. Holiness demanding as it may seem, remains both an old time (Leviticus 11:44), and present-day standard (1 Peter 1:16), that commands universal acceptance and practice for the Christian faith. It is an unwavering requirement for pleasing God and “making” heaven. Without holiness, it is impossible to see God, Hebrews 12:14.
“Unholy living” on the other hand, remains thoughts, words and conducts that are carnal, sinful and unacceptable to God. There is no middle course between holy and unholy living, as God does not only regard the direct and indirect sinful deeds and words as unholy but equally condemns the encouragement, appreciation, condonement and approval of people who practice them.
The standards for holiness can be obtained from no other source – (be they persons, church denominations or culture) other than God’s word.
It is therefore dangerous to use the personal standards or biases of the church leader or particular denomination or tradition as standard for holiness. For in God, we live, move and have our being; and no other foundation can any man lay than Jesus who is the author, finisher and example for our faith, (Act 17:28;1 Corinthians 3:11; Hebrews 12:2).
- CONTRAST THE CHARACTERISTICS OF HOLY AND UNHOLY LIVING. Galatians 5:19-23; Romans 12:1-2; Mark 7:20-23
Holy living is generally characterized by whatever is true, honest, just, lovely, pure, virtuous, praiseworthy and of good report, Philippians 4:8.
However, it takes both spirit-filled and led, born again Christian to live a holy life. Holy living naturally results from the fruit of the spirit which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, temperance, etc., Galatians 5:22-23.
Also, holy living can only result from a life that abides in or that is well stuck to Christ (the true vine). John 15:4-5. We can only radiate the glory of God as we offer our lives continually to Him as living sacrifices. Romans 12:1.
Holiness or holy living is not by any way restricted to outward, appearance, visible consumption or physical comportment of any man. It is a radiation of God’s glory in all facets of life of the believer. Holiness is the character of them that have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, Galatians 5:24.
Unholy living on the other hand is deceptive of the manifestation of works of the flesh which include adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envying, murderers, drunkenness, revellings, etc. Galatians 5:19-21.
Unholy living is the identity of men and women who live after the flesh, and not after the spirit. It is also reflective of lives that have not crucified the flesh with the lusts thereof.
Unholy living, unlike holy living is a characteristic of backsliding and detachment form Christ, the True Vine, John 15:4-5.
- DISCUSS PRACTICAL SITUATIONS THAT PROMOTE UNHOLY LIVING IN OUR SOCIETY. Matthew 24:36-42
One of the practical situations that promote unholy living is the downright relegation of teachings and admonitions on holy living to the background.
Prosperity and get-rich-quick messages have been overplayed out of proportion to detriment and admonitions on holiness and righteousness.
While it is the wish of God for us to prosper in body, soul and spirit, conditions on which such prosperity is based, Joshua 1:8, are never given equal attention by preachers.
Closely following the lack of sincere attention to the propagation or moral ideals in the society, it is the undue recognition, attention and respect that are undeservedly being paid to conspicuous consumption patterns of people. The society and even the church seem to encourage moral laxity and unholy living through the special value, attention and recognition given to people that display their wealth by the cars they drive and the quality of dresses they put on, without regard to the lifestyle and sources of the individual’s income.
Such social events like weddings, birthdays, burial ceremonies and house warmings have become venues for promoting unholy living in the society which most Christians have unwittingly enmeshed themselves in.
With flagrant displays of wealth at such occasions, many armed robbers and fraudsters have gotten their minds made up inevitably to attack such individuals. Some people, by the things they have personally caused others to lust and dwell in envy.
The golden all-time noble principle of “whatever you think or do, do all to the glory of God”, 1 Corinthians 10:31, is normally thrown to the dust bin at such occasions. Many activities at these social occasions are done to match up with societal traditions in vogue (no matter how opposing these may be to God’s commandments).
The present upsurge of home videos, pornographic pictures and blue films which can readily pass for end time phenomenon have in no small measure promoted unholy living. It is disheartening to observe that some mode of dressing and dancing styles are copied directly from these sources no matter how demonically oriented the styles or fashions may be and are freely imported into the church.
The upsurge of sexual immorality and promiscuity amongst youths also owe their origin to corrupt films and television programs which most unwary Christian parents not allow their children to pollute their minds with, but are themselves active consumers. It is not uncommon these days to find that some films that pass for Christian films on their covers actually present pictures that do not present any Christian values. The appearance of near nude individuals on the streets today have perhaps accounted for more cases of rape than all other factors put together. Standards of morality in the educational sector are daily lowered when parents help their children through examinations as well as admissions. On a gradual basis, these unholy acts are fast becoming the social value.
Culture is the way of life of a people or community. Understandably, as cultures and traditions are not completely ungodly as some have inbuilt, moral codes that could even promote, discipline, peace and progress of the people.
However, some traditional practices exist in all communities which are designed to glorify fetish gods, and Satan.
Some practical examples of these practices can be found in some burial ceremonies where sacrifices of animals to ancestors and fetish gods are prevalent. Most, is not all, annual traditional festivals in our villages, such as manhood/age group ceremonies and new yam festivals have one aspect or the other that is designed to honor Satan.
Christians have to be wary of all cultural and traditional ceremonies and festivals, as they are not of the world even though they are in it, John 17:16.
Satan is making the love of money a veritable tool in pulling down some individual Christians and church denominations today because such Christians and denominations already have distorted opinions of scriptural teachings on prosperity.
The moving force behind most Christian ministries is fast becoming money and money alone! The Biblical injunction to first seek the kingdom of God and His righteousness, Matthew 6:33, is treated with all levity by most Christians. The virus of mammonism or money worship is about the most powerful end-time pollutant of the holiness of the church and individual Christians alike. This also explains the upsurge of fraudulent practices and financial unfaithfulness of Christians in employment and business. The causes of many wrangling’s, scheming and unholy divisions in churches today are easily traceable to conflicting financial interests among members and their leaders.
- DISCUSS PRACTICAL WAYS THROUGH WHICH SOME CHRISTIANS DEFILE THEMSELVES. Romans 6:12-13; 1 John 2:15-16
In no other practical ways do some Christians defy themselves than in those situations that promote unholy living as discussed in question 3, above. Some of these practical situations are:
Many Christians are found to exhibit unholy dispositions while organizing one social activity or the other. Such activities could be wedding ceremonies, birthday parties, obituaries, etc.
On these occasions the temptation to either exhibit their wealth and please the world catches up so fast with them that they throw overboard spiritual principles and standards.
Some Christians spend fortunes in marriage ceremonies and end up in penury after such wedding. Other areas of indulgence by believers is with respect to the worldly practices of spraying money and feasting during obituaries. Some Christians are even tempted to organize some burials (not memorial or remembrance services) under different guises with the trappings of cultural rituals and sacrifices.
The scriptural injunction that the believers are peculiar people, a royal priesthood whose actions and deeds at all times must please God remains an enduring principle to guide all believers.
Christians are expected to show examples in moderation and godliness in all (conducts) social ceremonies.
The recent initiative of some orthodox church denominations in banning all-night obituaries (funeral), or elaborate feeding arrangements in social wakes is an admission of the unholy excesses of Christians in this regard.
- WHAT ARE THE RESULTS OF LIVING HOLY OR UNHOLY LIVES? Matthew 5:8, Revelation 21:27; Ezequiel 18:4
A Christian who first pleases God also stands the chance of having favor with man. Another benefit of living a holy life is the privilege of seeing God, Matthew 5:8, Hebrews 12:14. The heart is the fountain out of which comes the issues of life. These issues of life determine the believer’s character and nature which are themselves reflective of God’s nature. Man is best able to relate with God when he is in a state of being exactly in the very likeness of God in thoughts, words and deed (character).
For the few who will not defile their garment (who live in holiness) they shall walk with Christ in glory as they shall be accounted worthy, Revelation 3:4.
Unholy living in contrast to holy living, attracts consequences and not benefits. All who live unholy lives shall be denied entry into the kingdom of God, Revelation 21:27. Unholy living is characterized by sinful living and eternal death remains the judgement of whosoever choses to remain in sin, Ezequiel 18:4.
The so-called civilization does not reduce God’s expectation of us with regards to holiness neither does it lower His approved standard or holiness with his own life style. Consequently, the wages of sin (unholy living) remains and will always remain death to whosoever unrepentantly remains in sin, while the gift of God (eternal life) shall remain the portion of those who refuse to defile themselves.
DAILY LIVING APPLICATION
Christians are enjoined to always watch out against anything that could defile their holy state by being always in a state of prayerfulness and watchfulness, Matthew 26:41; Mark 13:33.
One of the ways to keep off sin and other forms of defilements is to always keep to heart and appropriately apply the word of God, Psalm 119:9-11.
Many mighty men of God go into sin simply because they believe and wrongly too that they have risen to such a level of spirituality where they can no longer fall. They therefore fall into the temptation of becoming careless with their lives,
1 Corinthians 10:12. Holy living should be the preoccupation of every Christian rather than just the leadership.
1 Peter 1:15
“But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation.”