Why strive to be holy?
FAIR USE FOR EDUCATIONAL OR DISCUSSION PURPOSES
Marriage and Food: Two Good Things
by John D. Morris, Ph.D.
"Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (1 Timothy 4:3)
Paul, in his instruction to his younger disciple, Timothy, knew that "in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils" (v. 1). Timothy had to be warned and prepared for this, as do we. The message could not be ignored, for Paul had received it from the Holy Spirit who had spoken "expressly" on these matters (v. 1). Certainly we are in the "latter times," and the message applies to us.
In addition to "speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron" (v. 2), we will recognize these false teachers by two of their doctrines (among others described elsewhere in Scripture). We can look for a false show of spirituality or appearance of piety and self-denial--in this case "forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats" (v. 3).
In both cases, however, to teach or believe so is to deny the clear teaching of Scripture, for both were created by God for His glory and our proper use, and are intrinsically good.
Furthermore, He created food to provide nourishment for mankind; first plants (Genesis 1:29; Genesis 2:16), then flesh (Genesis 9:3). Everything He created, if in its proper use, is "good" (1 Timothy 4:4) if "received with thanksgiving" (1 Timothy 4:3) and "sanctified by the word of God and prayer" (1 Timothy 4:5).
Vows at a wedding and a word of thanks before meals--thus we can enjoy Him, His creation, and His provision. JDM
This article was originally published February, 2011. "Marriage and Food: Two Good Things", Institute for Creation Research.
It seems to me that there might be a further application of this principle in law vs. grace discussions.
The law forbade eating meat from idols, yet the Holy Spirit, via Paul, makes it clear that the only good reason to abstain is to give honor to God and to avoid the possibility of causing a brother to stumble...not because it will be "the sin that denies you salvation" or the "un-holiness that denies you the rapture".
Even further, we are told, all that was once under the law is now "permissible", but not "profitable"....meaning it does not cause us to lose eternal life, but that there are consequences for such choices in our earthly life.
This point is considered important enough that it is repeated twice, and both times brought full circle back to "Honor the God who saved you" as the proper motivation behind our choices:
12 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but I will not be mastered by anything.
20 you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.
23 “I have the right to do anything,” you say—but not everything is beneficial. “I have the right to do anything”—but not everything is constructive. 24 No one should seek their own good, but the good of others.
25 Eat anything sold in the meat market without raising questions of conscience, 26 for, “The earth is the Lord’s, and everything in it.”
31 So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 32 Do not cause anyone to stumble, whether Jews, Greeks or the church of God— 33 even as I try to please everyone in every way. For I am not seeking my own good but the good of many, so that they may be saved.
So, the point isn't "don't bother striving to be holy" since we are freed from "the law of sin and death" and can do anything we want. The point is why we are striving to be holy - and the answer is to please and honor God. If we are striving to be holy as some kind of prerequisite - then, I submit, we are missing the point altogether.