Thursday, May 24, 2018

The Impact of Holiness

Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me” (Matthew 24:9).

Yesterday we considered the fact that the first petition in the Lord’s prayer is that God’s name be considered holy throughout the world. This fear of God is the first step of wisdom, and of reformation. When God’s name is treated as holy, His kingdom will come and His will will be done on earth. Today we want to consider further the impact of holiness upon the lives of those around us.

A few years ago a champion golfer had an opportunity to play a practice round of golf with the President of the United States and Billy Graham. A man asked him afterwards how it went. The golfer was furious. “I hated it,” he said. “I didn’t need to have Billy Graham stuffing religion down my throat for 18 holes of golf.” A few minutes the man came over to him and said, “Well, I guess Billy came on strong.” And the golfer, feeling better by that time, admitted, “Actually, Billy never said a word about religion. I just had a bad day.”

Here was a man who spent some time with Billy Graham, who is one of the most gracious human beings you could ever have met, and Billy Graham did not have to say a word about Christianity, yet this person was feeling uncomfortable. Why is this?

People who are not reconciled to God are uncomfortable in the presence of Christians. This is not because we are holy, but merely because we represent the Holy One. That fact alone makes them nervous.

The most vehement enemies Jesus had during His lifetime were the Pharisees, who specialized in a kind of self-righteousness apart from personal humility before God. He exposed their hypocrisy, and they resented it. The King had come and was announcing the holy kingdom. The holiness of Christ caused men to react for or against Him.

What forces the issue in society? The same thing that forces the issue in our personal lives: confrontation with God. If we want to see a reformation in our time, we must represent Christ, both verbally and by a holy walk. This may lead to persecution, but it is the only way to bring men face to face with God, who alone can transform them.