Holiness Unto the Lord
"And thou shalt make a plate of pure gold, and grave upon it, like the engravings of a signet, HOLINESS TO THE LORD. And it shall be upon Aaron's forehead, that Aaron may bear the iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts: and it shall be always upon his forehead, that they may be accepted before the LORD" (Exodus 28:36, 38).
"In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, HOLINESS UNTO THE LORD: and the pots in the LORD's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be *engraved holiness unto the LORD of hosts . . ." (Zechariah 14:20-21}.
The message is pretty clear from these verses of Scripture that holiness is to be "unto the Lord," not a public display of our own self-righteousness. God spoke through His prophet Isaiah concerning those who say, "Stand by thyself, come not near to me: for I am holier than thou." God calls people like this a smoke in my nose, a fire that burneth all the day (Isaiah 65:5). Can you imagine God looking down at a bunch of self-righteous, "holier-than-thou" people, and saying, "That just burns me up!"
THE CHIEF REASON FOR HOLINESS
THE IDENTIFICATION OF A TRUE CHRISTIAN TO THIS WORLD
True apostolic Pentecostals believe in Biblical standards of dress, but we must be aware that our dress does not identify us to the world as the true followers of Jesus Christ. Jesus made it plain to us:
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another: as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples" (John 13:34-35).
If we truly love the Lord--and others--as we should, this will lead us to live holy lives. We will not dress in such a way as to provoke unholy desires in the hearts of others. We will dress modestly in a way as befitting to a child of God. We will be holy "unto the Lord." At the same time, we will possess the same love for others as He has for us. That is the true identifying mark to the world that we are the disciples of Jesus Christ.
God help us to make sure that our "holiness" is not just an outward deed that we do to conform to the teachings of our church and please the church's leadership. Whatever we do, we should do it "unto the Lord," and that includes keeping our heart and spirit right with God, so that we can continue to enjoy His fellowship. When our heart and spirit is right with God, we will gladly obey Biblical standards out of a heart of love "unto the Lord," and not just so the pastor "will get off our back." (ds)