Holiness is Beautiful and Attractive

by | Oct 1, 2007

Scriptural holiness is beautiful and attractive. It is never ugly, bitter, driving, or censorious. If the life of one who professes to be living a life of holiness manifests any of the aforementioned characteristics in his daily walk and behavior, it is certain and unmistakable that his “holiness” has soured.

Be it known to one and all that sour “holiness” will never attract one individual to Christ or to His salvation by the Spirit.

I would emphasize again that true holiness is never sour. It is true, unfortunately, that some questionable and ungracious things have appeared across the years among holiness people—even among those professing to be entirely sanctified. But these unattractive characteristics only give evidence that something has occurred in these people’s lives which has caused their religious experience to turn negative and sour.

We must always be conscientiously sincere and careful in our endeavor to live the winsome life of true holiness. For it is quite possible to be very orthodox in doctrine but at the same time lack a sweet, Christlike spirit. One may have a clenched-fist, teeth-gritting type of fundamentalism which does not draw or attract people to holiness of heart and life but rather drives them away.

It is possible to be firmly uncompromising with sin or carnality, but at the same time fail to manifest the spirit of Christ in patience and kindness with those in dire need of the experience of holiness. Christ uncompromisingly denounced sin and hypocrisy, but still He was always kind. His manner was far from harshness and a canting criticism.

He could “level” with folk, because He loved them dearly.

There is a tendency among holiness folk to classify an individual as either being a “radical” or a “compromiser.” Both preachers and their manner of preaching are often categorized as one or the other. Certainly, no faithful minister of Christ can be a “compromiser” of divine truth, and always he must be a “radical” in its presentation.

Though the dictionary defines “radical” as “extreme,” it also says that it means “fundamental, thorough-going, [or] basic.” It relates to the “root or source of things.” In light of this, Christ was certainly a radical preacher, for He got to the root of sin in a thoroughgoing manner. He was called an extremist in His day; and those who follow in His steps now are often declared to be radical extremists, too.

But a careful study of the Gospels will forever convince one that a minister of the Gospel cannot be true to his calling as a Christian minister, faithful to God and the inspired Word, and fail to declare a radical message of divine truth from the pulpit.

However, there is a tremendous difference between a firm and uncompromising declaration of a positive truth as outlined in the Bible and prompted by the Holy Spirit and a sour, ranting, accusing harangue concerning mere trifles. It is tragic that the preaching of scriptural holiness has too often been brought into ill repute because the individual listening to the message failed to distinguish the difference between the two.

Yes, it is possible to be radical and at the same time time too “raspy” in declaring truth. One may be true to the Word in many areas but still be hard to live with. We should earnestly endeavor to be unswerving in fidelity to truth but should avoid being uncharitable as we would avoid a plague. Sometimes the message of scriptural holiness has been tainted with so much gall that it was rendered bitter and unattractive.

May God enable us to exhibit the spirit and attitude that will cause others to hunger for the product we advertise.

The late Rev. E.W. Roy was an influential minister of the Church of God (Holiness) and a leader in the early Conservative Holiness Movement. This edited article is reprinted from The Convention Herald with permission.