To the Christian, All of Life Is Holy


Heard  a good message recently that was marred by someone adding her thoughts to it. The ruinous addition was that we need always to be careful about those things in life that distract us from God or bring us down to a more worldly level.

When I was younger, I would have heartily endorsed that addendum. Now, I see it as a dilution of the Gospel.

One of Paul’s consistent understatements in his books is that the sacred/secular divide is something of a hoax. Yes, the OT is filled with illustrations about what is holy and what is not, but doesn’t Christ’s death redeem ALL of life?

What verse in the Bible is more astute than this one?

To the pure, all things are pure, but to the defiled and unbelieving, nothing is pure….
—Titus 1:15a ESV

Nothing destroys the joy of Christ more than dogmatic, persistent sin management. We encounter these semi-tortured folks who burn worry lines into their faces from all the concern over potential sinning. It’s like grace doesn’t even exist. To those people, I recommend reading about Martin Luther’s rediscovery of grace and his own fight against perpetual sin.

Can I have a glass of wine, play a game of Ca$h ‘n’ Gun$ with friends, and read a novel that makes no pretenses at being Christian? Why would anyone have to even ask that question? Yet there are M-A-N-Y Christians out there who struggle with all that. (Why? Because well-meaning Christians in authority positions keep knocking certain actions as sinful when those actions are anything but.)

One of  the reasons people don’t want to be Christians is that they don’t want to constantly monitor themselves for “sinful” behavior. You know what? I don’t blame them. Call me lazy, but I don’t want to either. That’s not what being a Christian is about.

Crazier still, the sins that most bother some Christians are the ones the Lord Jesus spent the least amount of time denouncing. He wasn’t so worried about how people dress, what they eat and drink, their leisure activities, and so on. Instead, He was angered by pride, injustice, lack of concern for other people, factionalism, materialism, and the like. Last time I checked, those latter sins were the ones least addressed and most stumbled over by the greater crowd of Christians in North America.

Even if we are guilty of any and all of those sins, let’s deal with them and move on. Let’s not keep wallowing in our own filth and lamenting it. Instead, be glad for grace and live fully.

To the Christian, all of life is holy. And there is joy in that!

11 thoughts on “To the Christian, All of Life Is Holy

  1. Ron

    Good post and good thoughts and something that my wife and I are wrestling with as we watch our 20 year old daughter make poor decisions in physical relationships and claim the freedom of God’s all sufficient grace.

    There seems to be a fine line, if not an outright paradox, in living a life set squarely between legalism and antinomianism (also talked about by Martin Luther).

    It’s not a new problem of course. thi sis the same discussion Paul was having with the Romans. ‘Should we sin all the more so that grace may abound? May it never be!’

    It’s difficult, and different circumstances probably call for different emphases. I really do appreciate what you say above but because of where we are right now I begin to worry over the human tendency to grab hold the truth of our absolute freedom in Christ and forget that at the exact same time we are slaves to righteousness.

    • I hear you, Ron. Struggling while you watch someone make poor choices is brutal.

      I’m not advocating license. Sin is sin. Don’t consciously sin.

      But if you do, there is grace. Don’t flagellate yourself for your failures.

      And also recognize that sometimes “sin” isn’t sin. Well-meaning church people, in an effort to appear holy, often make some activities into sin that aren’t.

      In short, making the emphasis of Christianity into sin management waters down the Gospel. You’re either set free in Christ or you’re given a tally list to keep track of your failures (now that you are more aware of what they are). “Set free” is the answer. Then why do so few people live as if that were the case?

  2. Ron

    Agreed, and I understood that you weren’t advocating license. I think I’m feeling particularly cautious about talking of grace without holiness or holiness without grace. We humans are like pendulums and tend to swing to one side or the other without coming to rest in the middle.

    Anyway, I get you, and I agree with you whole heartedly. We are completely free and completely bound (by love, not rules). Grace is sufficient for all.

  3. The impossible to achieve–“be perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5:48)–is not meant to turn us lose on a never ending self-improvement campaign, but to make us realize we have nothing to offer, nothing to achieve, and must die to self and live in God.

  4. Connie

    I get exactly what you mean. Jesus wants us to focus on Him. Too many people want to focus on themselves looking for sin with a lice comb. The Holy Spirit is perfectly capable of convicting us as we need it…..and a focus on the Lord will do way more for us re sanctification than soulish nitpicking could ever do.

    Great post!

  5. Jeff Richardson

    How can we confess our sins to one another if we don’t realize what our sins are? How can we turn from our sins if we don’t realize or acknowledge them? How can we ask the Father to forgive us if we don’t acknowledge the sin that we have? How can we strive to be holy if we don’t strive to live better? And we do have something to offer, our obedience, and we have eternity to gain.

  6. Franklin N. Ampah-Korsah

    “Even if we are guilty of any, and even all of thise sins lets deal with them and move on”. Dan , your parting shot was a timely saver or I would have tagged you a christian who does not believe in the existence of SIN and RIGHTEOUSNESS. My next question would then have been , “What sets the life-style of Jesus apart from the rest of mankind?
    Well you have already answered that , and I would want to add that the Grace of Jesus reveals to man what sin is , so that he/she may follow Jesus through Faith in His Father’s Commandments as THE PATH TO GOD. Grace is not “an occasion to sin” and pretend that it did not happen or worse of all, TO PRETEND THAT SIN DOES NOT LEAD TO HELL.
    Earthly philo-psychology cannot be employed to “lift” a man out of sin, only TRUE REPENTANCE saves us from sin. Hence continuance in sin coupled with living in absolute denial of it , is a recipe for UNREPENTANCE , which is the tedeum of Antichristianity.

  7. Franklin N. Ampah-Korsah

    Dan I think Jeff Richardson puts this matter on a more sound footing , what do you think of Jeff’s post ?

    • Franklin,

      I think that Jeff’s perspective is fine so long as it does not lead into constant navel-gazing over one’s prospective sins. The problem is that we don’t manage that understanding well enough to keep from descending into perpetual sin management mode.

      And honestly, that perpetual sin management mode can be just as big a bondage as what Christ came to free us from in the first place. Grace is bigger than that. Freedom in Christ means not having to worry constantly about one’s personal sin meter. That’s the Gospel right there. Who the Son has freed is free indeed. Let’s not go back into bondage.

    • I will add that in the narrative of Jesus and the woman caught in adultery, it was the older men who put down their stones first and the younger men last. The young want to keep sin ever before them, while the old realize there is little gained by always dwelling on one’s sin. All it does is add further weariness, which is something we old men simply do not need.

  8. Franklin N. Ampah-Korsah

    In my nigh-on 20years of riding motorcycles I have come to trust that indeed, to avoid crashing into an object when it all goes awry, its of utmost importance to…..avoid focusing on…..the object we want to avoid crashing into in the first place. To avoid looking at said object is to firstly accept the danger it poses ; that when we crash into it we will injure or perhaps die from the collision. Haven made this split-second decision , the next thing is to look for a safer route out of the situation i.e focus on the direction…we want to take… avoid the ‘offending’ object ( “gouging out eyes, cutting off our offending limbs” ) etc.
    Dan as you implied , focusing too much on our sins makes us develop a kind of ‘tunnel-vision’ for them, and this unwholesome preponderance on our sins has a subtle way od keeping us in it ; therefore , rather than dwelling on our sins we have to re-focus on Living Jesus.

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