There seem to be a lot of teachers creeping up in basement youtube videos teaching a form of Pentacostal Holiness, but without the teeth of the actual movement. By citing passages out of context, men like the one I stumbled accross recently named Jan (Justice) Boshoff of First Plumbline Apologetics (www.firstplumbline.net) While I cannot comment exhaustively as to this man’s ministry and certainly not to his inner thoughts or hearts intent, in reading much of the materiel on his ministry website and after examining several of his YouTube videos, it appears that he prescribes to at least a version of what is commonly known as holiness theology which arose out of the Pentecostal Holiness Movement of the early twentieth century. The common elements of this view are that it is possible to achieve actual propositional holiness in this life. This is evidenced by a few of Mr. Boshoff’s statements found in one of his You Tube videos. He says that “We cannot carry on in sin and then say that we have a relationship with God… if you love Jesus my friends you make sure there is nothing between you and God.” (YouTube Video: “Sin no more lest....” )
While I do not wish to engage in a debate or critique of this man or his ministry, it is not difficult to find an abundance of biblical support against this view. If you are interested, keep reading:
This view depends upon citing only those passages of the Bible which speak of the importance of personal holiness in the life of the Christian. Indeed, the Bible does speak of the importance of real holiness. However, citing Scriptures that only support one’s view is highly problematic. This method of Bible interpretation divorces those passages of Scripture from their context. When we take passages out of context to prove a point in seclusion from other passages on the same subject or similar subjects, in this case the themes of sin, forgiveness, and holiness, then we isolate those passages from their overall meaning and do damage to the overall themes of the Bible.
The Bible makes it clear that all people, including Christians, are not without sin. Romans 3:23 makes it clear that all people have sinned. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (NIV) In the Epistle of I John, the author writes to Christians concerning, among other things, their own sin. He says that “If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his word is not in us.” (1 John 1:8-10 NIV) The writer of this letter, most likely John the Apostle, is writing to Christians. He makes two very important points in relation to our discussion here. First, while writing to Christians, he says that we are not without sin. Secondly, John says that if we confess our sins God is faithful and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.
The Bible speaks of our need for holiness. “But just as he who called you is holy, so be holy in all you do; for it is written: “Be holy, because I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:15-16 NIV) However, nowhere does the Bible imply or state that such holiness is dependent upon our ability to create or maintain it. Our holiness comes through confession to God of our sin and trust in Jesus Christ, who forgives our sin. In the very next verses which follow this citation from Peter which is often used by those of the holiness theology perspective, Peter goes on to point us to the reality that our holiness in the sight of God is completely reliant on the holiness of Jesus which comes through faith! “For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your ancestors, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God.” (1 Peter 1:18-21 NIV)
Our faith and hope for salvation are completely in God. He saves us through faith in Jesus. Holiness and obedience are important but they are the product of God’s grace working in us. God’s favor does not in any way depend upon our ability to live a life of holiness. God’s grace is the product of His love and faith is the gift that God gives to us in order to access His grace. Fear mongering men rely upon our insecurity as believers to get us to listen to their message. While they may even be well intentioned, a Gospel that depends upon our ability to be holy in order to get or keep a relationship with God is no Gospel at all.
The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin and not only that; He also covered us with His righteousness, His holiness. “This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe.” (Romans 3:22a NIV) When God judges us He does not judge our holiness that we have been able to maintain by our efforts. He judges us according to the holiness of Jesus that was transferred to our spiritual account by faith. We are called to a life of growing obedience but our obedience is not the basis of our salvation or of God’s love for us. The blood of Jesus Christ which covers us is the basis of our salvation because of God’s love for us. Peace comes from knowing that God did it all in Christ. “For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.” (Colossians 1:19-20 NIV)
Believers will always be faced with temptation and sin in this life. (Ephesians 4:27, James 4:7) Through a life of devotion to Christ and commitment to spiritual growth we do mature in our ability to resist temptation and sin. (Romans 12:1-2, Ephesians 6:13-17, James 4:1-6) That does not mean that we will ever cease to sin. We must be very careful what voices we choose to listen to. (Matthew 7:15, Acts 20:29, 2 Peter 2:1) If a man’s ministry teaching or views run counter to what we know of the Bible, then we should distance ourselves from that man, choosing well respected and biblically consistent sources of instruction instead. Obedience matters. The Bible calls on us to be a people of growing maturity in and obedience to Christ but we will never find the peace of God until we recognize that salvation and a relationship to God is the gift of God alone, through faith. Our righteousness is the gift of Jesus righteousness.
Our good works and ability to live a sinless life is but a shadow of the worth of Jesus which God covers us with freely. “All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.” (Isaiah 64:6 NIV) Any good work that we do is the result of God’s grace, not the means of gaining or maintaining it. Peace comes through resting in what God has done for us, standing in awe and amazement at His love for us, and resting in Him. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” (John 14:27 NIV)