Beyond Outward Righteousness: The Holistic Approach to Holiness

2 Corinthians 7:1
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.

Do not assume that simply because you successfully abstain from fleshly sinful appetites, that you are perfecting holiness! This is a necessary discipline for any child of God who wants to please the Lord, and is commendable, but it’s certainly not all there is to Christianity. Our text instructs us to be cleansed not only from the filthiness of the flesh but also of the spirit. Have you ever seen someone who was morally clean so far as outward sins of the flesh are concerned, but who had filthy spirits? They may not steal, kill, commit adultery, drink, cuss, chew, or go out with those who do, but they have the most destructive, divisive, negative, nasty, filthy spirits you would ever even care to see. This is where man’s religion can get him in trouble. Often is the case that some of the most divisive and mean spirits are found among people who have a form of godliness but who deny the power thereof.

Just because you keep more of the commandments than someone else doesn’t make you holy in the sight of God. The only way a man or woman can truly be cleansed from ALL filthiness is to be cleansed not only of the filthiness of the flesh but also of the spirit. I would even dare say that a cleansing of the spirit yields even more effectively a cleansing of the flesh. It is difficult to keep the flesh out of trouble when the spirit is out of sorts with God! May God cleanse us of both, so that, as the text says, we might perfect holiness in the fear of God! Living holy is more than just living up to your “thou shalt not” list, as it relates to the sins of the flesh. It always starts on the inside.

How is your spirit? Is it also governed by the Spirit of God? Is a Christ-like spirit found in you? Or, is it usually tangled up with doubts, fears, and judgmental attitudes? We need a revival in our churches today that cleanses not only our hands but also our hearts! What can wash away my sins? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus! Oh, precious is that flow that makes me white as snow! No other fount I know; nothing but the blood of Jesus! Are you washed inside and out? Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved!

~ Pastor Gary Caudill
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