Whatever happened to righteousness, purity and holiness? We don’t seem to hear a lot about any of these in today’s mega church pulpits. What do they mean? Why should we be concerned about them, anyway? Isn’t this just archaic jargon, and legalism now?

Holiness is defined as a state of being set apart, consecrated to God; separated from sin; morally  perfect. Jesus/Yeshua walked in purity and holiness; He lived a completely sinless life, totally free from defilement. “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”(2 Cor.7:1). “Sanctify them through Your truth; Your Word is truth” (John 17:17). We see this principle reinforced by Yeshua, Paul, all the prophets and disciples quoted, throughout God’s Word. And until we find a place in Scripture where it says that this is no longer applicable, we are surely called to it.

“That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word” (Eph. 5:26); we need to be cleansed, “washed with the Word of God,” and thus behave accordingly. God said to Abraham, “I am El Shaddai. Continually walk before Me and you will be blameless” (Gen.17:1). 

Jesus/Yeshua taught His disciples: “Then Yeshua said to the Judeans who had trusted Him, “If you abide in My word, then you are truly My disciples. You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free!” (John 8:31,32). It’s pretty clear that as disciples of Yeshua/Jesus, we are expected to do as He did. He’s not talking about being free to do whatever we want; He is talking about the freedom to follow Him, freedom from the bondage of sin, which gets in the way of following Him, not freedom to sin, as some misinterpret. 

The Torah scholars and Pharisees bring in a woman who had been caught in adultery. After putting her in the middle, they say to Yeshua, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of committing adultery. In the Torah, Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do You say?” (John 8:3-5). Once again, post-modern liberalists use this to twist God’s Word, claiming that because Jesus/Yeshua didn’t condemn and order the woman stoned, that He is sanctioning her behaviour. To the contrary, the Scripture indicates quite the opposite: “Yeshua said. “Go, and sin no more””(John 8:11), clearly directing her to repent (turn from this behaviour) and “sin no more.” Let’s get something straight here; He just said that His Word is truth; and He said “Sanctify them through Your truth,” so let’s please stop distorting and perverting God’s Word with our carnal desires to find ways to make sinful lifestyles acceptable to God. They aren’t. They never were, and they never will be. God doesn’t change His statutes/standards to suit humankind, to adjust them to fit with post-modern revisions. Revisions of God’s Word, without His endorsement, are not only meaningless, but blasphemous, heretical, and deceptive works of the Enemy. He said: “I am the Lord, I change not” (Mal.3:6). 

Further to this, Paul provides clear directives: “Flee from sexual immorality! Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body—but the one committing sexual immorality sins against his own body. Or don’t you know that your body is a temple of the Ruach ha-Kodesh/Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you were bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body” (1 Cor.6:18-20). Notice that Paul not only says “don’t do it” (i.e. sexual immorality); he says “flee from it.” What here needs interpretation? Perhaps one item could be elaborated on: that fornication is unacceptable whether straight or gay. And the point is, that once we give our lives to Christ, we are not our own; we give up our so-called, post-modernist assumed “rights.” As Christ-followers, our only real rights {but then, what more could one aspire to?} are the right to be “heirs and joint heirs with Christ,” to be identified as sons and daughters of the living God, follow Christ and live for the Kingdom. 

You know that you were redeemed from the futile way of life handed down from your ancestors—not with perishable things such as silver or gold, but with precious blood like that of a lamb without defect or spot, the blood of Messiah” (I Pet. 1:18,19). Confirming the sinless status of Jesus Christ/Yeshua Messiah, and that His disciples are to follow in His footsteps: “Through Him you are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your trust and hope are in God. Now that you have purified your souls in obedience to the truth, leading to sincere brotherly love, love one another fervently from a pure heart. You have been born again—not from perishable seed but imperishable—through the living and enduring word of God” (I Pet. 2:21-23). Jesus/Yeshua was fully man, and fully God: “For we do not have a kohen gadol/High Priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but One who has been tempted in all the same ways—yet without sin” (Heb. 4:15). “You know that Yeshua appeared in order to take away sins, and in Him there is no sin” (I John 3:5). Yeshua/Jesus was sinless, representing purity, holiness. Do you still want to follow Him?

Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For everything in the world—the desire of the flesh, the desire of the eyes, and the boasting of life—is not from the Father but from the world. The world is passing away along with its desire, but the one who does the will of God abides forever” (I John 2:15-17). “We are therefore ambassadors for Messiah, as though God were making His appeal through us. We beg you on behalf of Messiah, be reconciled to God” (2 Cor.5:20). This is our job description; this is God’s will. God’s mercy and grace bring us to the Kingdom; make a way for our redemption; God’s mercy and grace do not extricate us from our duty to honour God by following His commandments. It is a dangerous and foolish thing, to play with God’s Word, to call obedience legalism, and replace it with cheap grace, manipulating, distorting and perverting God’s Word. Let us honour God by living according to His Word. We are called to holiness, set apart to “live not unto ourselves, but unto Him who died and rose again” (2 Cor.5:15).

Sorry, folks, but it doesn’t look like at any point we are let off the hook from this requirement. Paul’s teachings still apply to us today, “For God did not call us to impurity, but in holiness. Consequently, the one who rejects this is not rejecting man, but God, who gives His Ruach ha-Kodesh to you” (I Thess.4:7,8). Rejecting the call to holiness is rebellion against God. 


Gen. 17:1

2 Cor.7:1

John 17:17

Eph. 5:26

John 8:3-5,11,31,32

Mal. 3:6

I Cor. 6:18-20

I Pet. 1:18,19

I Pet. 2:21,22

Heb. 4:15

I John 3:5

I John 2:15-17

2 Cor.5:15, 20

I Thess.4:7,8

Tree of Life (TLV) Translation of the Bible. Copyright © 2015 by The Messianic Jewish Family Bible Society.

© 2019,  by Verna Crowther. All rights reserved.



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