Fallacies that Hinder Holiness – Part Two
Welcome back to our unveiling of fallacies that I believe are hindering holiness among Christians. There are ten fallacies that the Lord has revealed to me in answer to my question, “Why are there so many Christians that are stagnant, dependent, and unfruitful?” I uncovered the first two fallacies in Holiness Pt 5.
Fallacy #1: Being Born Again is Sufficient
Fallacy #2: Once Saved always Saved
I will uncover fallacies #3 – #4 in this blog.
Fallacy #3: Repentance leads to Holiness
Repentance can lead to holiness but many times does not lead to holiness. Mainly, because two key requirements for repentance to bring about transformation are not met. First, you must have an understanding of what true repentance is. Repentance is not just remorse, or in other words, just being sorry for what I did. The Scripture speaks about godly sorrow.
“For godly sorrow produces repentance leading to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.” (2 Cor. 7:10)
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord;” (Acts 3:19)
How will your repentance lead to conversion and your sins being blotted out? You must first recognize the sin for which you are repenting. Many of us simply repent of our behaviour. For example, I got angry at Jane today so I go to God and I say sorry for getting angry at Jane. But that won’t bring about any change in me. I have to go behind the action and recognize what caused me to become angry at Jane. It could have been envy, jealousy, fear, pride, selfishness, resentment or bitterness. Once I determine, sometimes with the help of the Holy Spirit, what was behind my outburst, then and only then can the conversion process begin. I must identify the root sin and make my confession of that sin. I cannot change what I have not acknowledged. If an alcoholic does not admit that he or she is an alcoholic and understands what led to the addiction in the first place the problem will not be truly resolved. The enemy wants to continue to operate in darkness, to stay hidden because once the sin that is at work in our members is revealed then it can be removed.
“But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin, which is in my members.” (Rom. 7:23)
“lest Satan should take advantage of us; for we are not ignorant of his devices.” (2 Cor. 2:11)
“To open the blind eyes, to bring out the prisoners from the prison, and them that sit in darkness out of the prison house.” (Isa. 42:7)
So, the first step to godly sorrow is recognition of the sin. The second step is taking responsibility for the sin. Even if these are generational sins you must still take responsibility for having allowed them to become part of your life. As long as we continue to blame our circumstances, other people, or God our repentance will not lead to conversion. As we repent, we must state the sin and confess our part in allowing that sin to become part of our persona. This was the difference between David and Saul. When Nathan came and confronted David with his sin, we from his confession in Psalms 51 that he took full responsibility. Throughout his confession to God he acknowledges in the first person (I, my, me) his guilt without naming anyone else. He could have blamed Bathsheba for being so beautiful, for seducing him, for bathing out in the open, or God for giving him eyes to see, for that matter. He was broken in spirit. That is godly sorrow. This is why despite David’s sin God called him a man after His own heart.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matt. 5:3)
On the other hand, what was Saul’s reaction when confronted by Samuel? Read 1 Samuel 15:24 – 30. At the same time that he admitted that he had sinned, he cast blame on the people whose voice he obeyed. He asked Samuel to simply pardon his sin and thought that was sufficient to allow him to enter again with Samuel into worshipping the Lord. Not his Lord but Samuel’s Lord (v 30). He was more concerned about Samuel honouring him before the elders of the people than repenting.
Repentance must be followed by renouncing and removing. When we renounce the sin we are removing or cutting off ourselves from that sin. It may involve removing ourselves from friends that influence us in that area or stopping behaviour that we know triggers things in us that lead us into committing the sin e.g., watching pornography or certain types of TV shows or movies, listening to certain types of music, going to certain places or events. Next, we remove the sin from us as far as the east is from the west. So, it has no legal right to dwell within us. In essence, we are making a 180 degree turn and going in the opposite direction.
“Flee also youthful lusts: but follow, righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22)
“They cried unto them, Depart ye; it is unclean; depart, depart, touch not: when they fled away and wandered, they said among the heathen, They shall no more sojourn there.” (Lam. 4:15)
“Depart from evil, and do good; seek peace, and pursue it.” (Psa. 34:14)
Fallacy #4: Grace Releases me from Following the Law
Many of our Christian leaders and teachers have done us a disservice. Contemporary Christians have been lulled into complacency by the erroneous teaching about grace. Some even say that the Old Testament scriptures are no longer relevant because we are under grace and not under the law. But this is not what Jesus taught.
“Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil.” (Matt. 5:17)
We have been taught that grace means ‘unmerited favour’. They have perverted grace and the love of God to make it appear that, because we are under grace and not the law, God will not hold us accountable if we do not keep the law because of His great love for us. Consequently, the church, the body of Christ, has lost reverent awe for the Lord God Almighty. We see evidence of this in the behaviour of many Christians both inside and outside of church.
It turns out that exactly the opposite is true! Because of His great love for us, God will hold us accountable. If grace means we are no longer under the law then on what basis are we going to be judged on the day of judgment (Heb. 9:27)? Paul warned the Christians in Rome:
“What then? shall we sin, because we are not under the law, but under grace? God forbid.” (Rom. 6:15)
The verse prior to this (Rom. 6:14) puts the matter of grace and law into proper perspective. In essence, Paul is teaching that we have greater dominion over sin because we are under grace and not under the law. The problem is that the notion of grace meaning “unmerited favour” was based on the second definition given for grace in the Webster’s dictionary, “a. approval, favour; b. mercy, pardon; c. a special favour, privilege; d. disposition to or an act or instance of kindness, courtesy, or clemency; e. reprieve.” However, it is the first definition of grace found in the Webster’s dictionary that lines up most accurately with the scriptural meaning of grace: “a. unmerited divine assistance given humans for their regeneration or sanctification; b. a virtue coming from God; c. a state of sanctification enjoyed through divine assistance”. When Jesus ascended into heaven we were given access to His Spirit to come and live within us. Because He can now operate from within, we are more empowered to become holy. Something that we could not have attained in our own strength when we were only under the law. So, because we are under grace we have even less argument for sinning and can actually be held even more accountable.
“as His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.” (2 Pet. 1:3-4)
We are therefore without excuse!