Congruence (n) “1 the state or quality of being in agreement; correspondence; harmony.”
Concurrence (n) “1 A happening together in time or place
2 a combining to produce or bringing about something 3 Agreement; accord.”
Do you know what these two words have to do with Christianity? [ ] Yes [ ] No. The title of this lesson may have tipped you off. It has to do with our walk of holiness before God and others. They refer to the consistency God demands relative to what is outside in our behavior, being in harmony with what is inside. There is a congruence—consistency. It is an affirmation that holiness is not being faked—it is real from the inside out.
Here are some Scriptures that reveal God’s demand for holiness by His children:
- Hebrews 12:14: “Pursue peace with all people, and HOLINESS, without which no one will see the Lord.”
- 1 Thessalonians 3:13: “[S]o that he may establish your hearts blameless in HOLINESS before our God and Father at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ with all His saints.”
- Romans 6:22: “But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves to God, you have your fruit of HOLINESS, and the end, eternal life.”
- 2 Corinthians 7:1: “Therefore, having these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting HOLINESS in the fear of God.”
- Hebrews 12:10: “For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His HOLINESS.”
- Ephesians 4:24: “[A]nd that you put on the new man which is created according to God, in true righteousness and HOLINESS.
- 1 Peter 1:15, 16: “[B]ut as He who called you is holy, you also be HOLY in all your conduct, because it is written, ‘Be HOLY, for I am holy.’”
God has called us to be HOLY, which means He has called us “to be set apart” (Greek, hagios). He has set us apart to practice holiness in our lifestyles in every situation we are in.
HOLINESS! Few words in and out of theological circles are as misunderstood, misused, and mocked as holiness. We hear such remarks in reference to holiness exercised by people as:
“Holier than thou”
“Fake or hypocrite”
As we noted in the previous Scriptures, HOLINESS is a commanded virtue. However, it also carries with it the challenges of being consistent—inside and out. Holiness is an attitude that drives a person’s character and lifestyle. Holiness is the external revelation, hopefully, of what is in the heart (cf. Jeremiah 6:19; Provers 23:7).
A group of Christians went from Sunday morning services to a restaurant for lunch. During the meal one of the Christian men, a church leader, treated the waitress in a very rude and unChristian manner. Needless to say it was very embarrassing to the group; it cast a dark negative shadow over Christianity. People judge us by our behavior, which flows from the heart (Proverbs 23:7)
Holiness is not just a practice at the church building or in some special religious service. It must be part of life 24-7-365. A person—especially a Christian—is known by his . . .
- Creed—what he believes
- Character—what he is
- Conversations—what he says
- Conduct—what he does
- Contribution—what he gives
- Conviction—what he stands for
- Courage—what he defends
Hypocrisy: The Enemy of Holiness
Holiness is not just the correct externals by which people tend to judge us by; after all, only God knows what’s in our hearts (cf. Hebrews 4:12). The Bible has a very strong word to describe this inconsistent behavior: HYPOCRITE. A hypocrite was a “play actor”—someone assuming a part and playing it on stage. In ancient times it included wearing a mask to conceal one’s true identity, or to take the audience’s mind off the person playing the part. For example men played the role of women because females weren’t allowed to participate in theater.
Jesus was very direct and explicit in his rebuke and condemnation of the scribes and Pharisees who were the masters of “playing a part.” In Matthew 23:13-29, Jesus pronounced eight “Woes” on the scribes and Pharisees. One example is in 23:15, in what we would call evangelistic efforts, we read: “Woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel land and sea to win one proselyte, and when he is won, you make him twice as much a son of hell as yourselves.”
Our daily walk is a continual revelation of our holiness. It reveals our external behavior but not a clear revelation of our inner state of mind. People can “Fake it until they make it.” The number one environment where we must practice true holiness—inside and out—is in the home. Each family member is judging the consistency of other members; even though it may not be brought up in conversations until an argument occurs. Eyes and ears are always open.
Parents have an awesome responsibility to live a holy lifestyle in and out of the house. The 9-year-old boy who was stationed in the back window of his father’s car to let dad know if a police car was approaching, knew it was a major contradiction to what he had taught his father about honesty and obeying the law. Obviously this is an application of “What you are speaks so loudly I cannot hear what you are saying.”
Attributes of Holiness
Holiness is not a pseudo behavior demonstrated only in words, dress, or body language. While these three expressions may exist; it will only be as a byproduct of commitment to Christ and following His word. Genuine holiness stems from “being an imitator of God as dear children” (Ephesians 5:1). It flows from “being poor in spirit” and being willing “to mourn” as you extend mercy to others. It stems from “being pure in heart” (cf. Matthew 5:1-12). And all these attributes stem from the “imputed righteousness” of Christ (cf. Romans 4:13-25).
Holiness is demonstrated by the “fruit of the Spirit” existing in our lives: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its pleasures and desires” (Galatians 5:22-24).
Others can see holiness in us, even though they don’t know what to call it, as we love the unlovable and one another: “But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). “By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another” (John 13:35). These is manifested when we “speak the truth is love” (Ephesians 4:15).
Holiness is expressed in our daily worship and obedience to God: “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, HOLY, acceptable to God, which is you reasonable service. And be not conformed to the world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12: 1, 2).
We maintain our holiness by daily “walking in the light as He is in the light” (1 John 1:7). What are you intentionally doing to maintain your holiness—inside and out—before God?