Are We Yoked To Holiness?

“Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? What harmony is there between Christ and Belial? What does a believer have in common with an unbeliever? What agreement is there between the temple of God and idols? For we are the temple of the living God. As God has said, ‘I will live with them and walk among them, and I will be their God, and they will be my people.’

“‘Therefore come out from them and be separate,’ says the Lord. ‘Touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you. I will be a father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters,’ says the Lord Almighty. Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” (2 Corinthians 6:14-7:1)

Friends, as I read this charge to examine ourselves today, I am struck with a sense of how holy our God is.

And what wretched sinners we are.

He is so pure, so without blemish, so perfectly right in actions and motives, so loving, so just, so unadulterated that we cannot compare. We, because of our sin, because of our impurity, because of our blemishes, because of our un-right-ness in actions and motives, because of our un-lovingness and unlovliness, because of our apathy toward justice, because of our adulterous ways in all things cannot even stand in His presence . We don’t even dare to lift our head to gaze upon Him because we will be consumed.

Hallelujah, we have a Savior who covers us with his sacrifice, becoming sin in our stead, that we might be spotless and without blemish and therefore righteous before the Father. Worthy, even, to be not only in His presence, but to be His child. His heir. Having His Name.

Can I get an amen for that kind of grace?

Now, if that kind of grace has been imparted to us, don’t we at least owe our reverence to the Giver? This passage tells us one way we show our reverence to God… by perfecting holiness. Knowing that we are imperfect, how do we perfect holiness in our own lives? By eliminating those things in our lives that make us unholy. You know the things I’m talking about*:

  • Watching things on TV that we have no business watching.
  • Being overly competitive or self-exalting. Serving God so we can look good.
  • Getting our own way no matter what.
  • Brooding about harsh things you would like to say to someone.
  • Being prone to exaggeration or lying.
  • Patterns of griping or complaining.
  • Saying things that are divisive.
  • Having a lack of respect or being critical of our spiritual leaders.
  • Failure to forgive, even when the guilty party hasn’t asked for forgiveness or even admitted they’ve done anything wrong.
  • Robbing God by failing to tithe.

This perfecting holiness does not save us. We know that. We are saved by faith alone in the atoning sacrifice of Jesus. We will never rid ourselves of enough sin to be righteous. That would be salvation by works, and salvation by works is no salvation at all. It certainly is not the Good News that Jesus offers. However, as James tells us, faith without works is dead. We must have works in order to show that our faith is genuine. This perfecting holiness, ridding ourselves of those things which don’t belong in our lives, is a way for our faith and works to line up. We separate ourselves from unholy things, not because it saves us, but because by doing so we show reverence to God (v.1).

I pray that we would all examine our hearts today and choose this day to separate ourselves from those things which we know to be unholy, and yoke ourselves to those things which are holy. Because in doing so, we show reverence to the One who is so worthy of our devotion.

*This list was taken from the Solemn Assembly prayer guide for Shades Mountain Baptist Church found here.

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