God’s servants must separate themselves from the world’s wickedness; they must overcome sinful thoughts and deeds.
TERRORIST ATTACKS. Increasing crime rate. Widespread corruption and scandals. Violence against women and children. These and other disheartening news speak volumes about the present world. And the situation worsens everyday.
True servants of God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15) must keep in mind God’s commands as enunciated by Apostle Peter:
“Therefore, prepare your minds for action; be self-controlled; set your hope fully on the grace to be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed. As obedient children, do not conform to the evil desires you had when you lived in ignorance. But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: ‘Be holy, because I am holy’.” (I Pet. 1:13–16 New International Version, emphasis added)
Thus, when facing decisions about the way they should act or how they should live, God’s chosen people always remember to put out of their lives activities and values that are not in keeping with true Christian standard as Apostle Paul made clear:
“So put all evil things out of your life: sexual sinning, doing evil, letting evil thoughts control you, wanting things that are evil, and greed …” (Col. 3:5 New Century Version)
Indeed, God’s servants must separate themselves from the world’s wickedness; they must overcome sinful thoughts and deeds—such as immoral thoughts, impurity, discord, hatred, and jealousy—rather, they should live with “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control” (Gal. 5:19–20, 22–23 New King James Version).
In this present day and age, despicable deeds and desires show no signs of abating. However, God’s people are not unwise but must take decisive steps to avoid evil and to have no fellowship with the works of darkness but live a life of “goodness, righteousness and truth” (Eph. 5:16–17, 11, 9 nkjv).
Holiness, obedience, and the Church Of Christ
Members of the Church Of Christ “were washed” and “were sanctified” or have been made holy through the redemptive blood of Christ (I Cor. 6:11 nkjv; Acts 20:28 Lamsa Translation). Moreover, they continue to be “purified” or sanctified or made holy by obedience to the truth or the commandments of God (I Pet. 1:22 nkjv). Daily application of or obedience to God’s word has a purifying effect on their minds and hearts. Their everyday lives always attest to their being God’s chosen people, a holy nation belonging to God—abstaining from “sinful desires” and living “good lives” (I Pet. 2:9, 11–12 niv).
Therefore, holiness and membership in the Church Of Christ go hand in hand. However, it is not enough that man becomes a member of the Church Of Christ to become holy; he needs to constantly fulfill God’s laws and commandments which are themselves holy and good
So, one of the distinctive virtues of God’s children is their holiness, not wealth, prestige or fame. This holiness comes from a sincere desire to obey God and His laws and to wholeheartedly worship and honor Him.
Holiness and salvation
In no uncertain terms, God stated the benefit of doing what is right and being holy even if evil people keep on doing evil:
“Evil people will keep on being evil, and everyone who is dirty-minded will still be dirty-minded. But good people will keep on doing right, and God’s people will always be holy. Then I was told: I am coming soon! And when I come, I will reward everyone for what they have done.” (Rev. 22:11–12 Contemporary English Version)
The reward being referred to for those who have placed a high premium on doing works of holiness or obeying what is good amid this wicked world is eternal life (Rom. 2:7; I Tim. 6:19).
Indeed, the end of the righteous is different from that of the wicked:
“Be assured, an evil man will not go unpunished, but those who are righteous will be delivered.” (Prov. 11:21 Revised Standard Version)
Value of God’s help
No doubt, it is no easy task to be holy in an unholy world, but God’s servants always implore Him to guide and direct them according to His words in order to overcome sin (Ps. 119:133).
Moreover, in the face of ‘evil tidings,’ they will never be afraid but remain trusting in our Lord God’s love and goodness:
“Surely he will never be shaken; The righteous will be in everlasting remembrance. He will not be afraid of evil tidings; His heart is steadfast, trusting in the Lord.” (Ps. 112:6-7 nkjv)
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Surely goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever.” (Ps. 23:4, 6 niv)
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine.