As Christians, we constantly talk about “being like Jesus.” There has been much confusion about how does this look like in real life. How can you tell for sure that you are following the King? Let me give you two thoughts.
First, pursuing moralism does not necessarily mean that you are following the King
Moralism is a cruel trap in the Christian path. Moralism is a lookalike of holiness, an impostor, a “deep fake,” if you will. Moralism is the “fast food” of Christianity—quick results at a low cost with even lower quality. Moralism is addictive because it resembles holiness so effectively. Most people can be truly misguided and smartly deceived by it, but not God.
Moralism seeks to appease our thirst for praise, our hunger for attention, and our desire for self-gratification. Moralism is the tool that we use when comparing ourselves against others. Moralism masquerades our weaknesses by manufacturing false strengths. Moralism says, “I must increase, the Spirit must decrease.” Moralism uses our own achievements to build our own fame. Moralism builds thrones in our hearts and forces us to sit there—we are kings and queens of our own legendary kingdoms.
Moralism is not only a faulty tool, it is also a deadly weapon. It destroys all those who are not in our same level of moral standards. Moralism is an avid destroyer of people. Paul commands the spiritual ones to “… restore such an one in the spirit of meekness; considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted,” (Gal. 6:1), but moralism won’t allow that. Moralism is a dictator, not a restorer. Moralism seeks to execute the weak, not to rescue them. It uses mockery, comparison, pressure, and manipulation to enforce its cruel will.
Moralism and those who follow it are a sign of the “end times” because they act as, “Having a form of godliness,” when in reality they are, “… denying the power thereof,” 2 Tim. 3:5. Moralism protects his “host” from public eye’s ridicule, while allowing unleashed sinfulness in the intimacy of his privacy. Moralism is evil, satanic, fleshly, and sinful—very sinful. Moralism appeases the conscience of non-Christians, making them think that they need no god, since they are already “good persons.” Also, moralism neutralizes Christians making them think that they are “holy,” since they are producing all these “good deeds.”
Dear friend, moralism alone is not a trustworthy evidence of true conversion. God is not after behavior modification, He is after heart transformation (Ps. 51:17). Moralism is similar to holiness but is not the same—not even close. True, holy people will be moral, but moral people alone will never be holy. No matter how much morality you accumulate, it will never be enough to accomplish what the King Jesus alone can. Moralism focuses on the exterior, while holiness targets first the interior, then the exterior.
Second, pursuing holiness is what the King expects of those who follow Him
If you are a believer, you are already a holy person in the sight God (Eph.1:1; Col. 1:2)—not because of your own accomplishments, but because of Jesus’ work on the Cross. Therefore, holiness in the believer is not an aspect to accomplish but an aspect to develop. This is what theologians call “positional holiness” and “practical or progressive holiness.” We are not achieving holiness, we are maturing in it. We are growing, perfecting, advancing, and enjoying to live in holiness.
The New Testament commands citizens of the kingdom to “follow holiness,” (Heb. 12:14), to “be holy,” (1 Pet. 1:16), to “perfect holiness,” (2 Cor. 7:1), to “present our bodies as a holy sacrifice,” (Rom. 12:1), and to “protect the holy temple, which is our bodies,” (1 Cor. 3:17). Pursuing holiness is a life-long endeavor, and it is our delight to live holy since we are already holy.
We need to understand that this is not a New Testament teaching only. Adam and Even were separated to a specific calling. Noah, Moses, Israel, David, the temple, the prophets, and the disciples were separated unto a particular calling as well. You are part of this long-line of holy people who were given a purpose for their lives—be separated unto God.
You were made by Him and for Him (Col. 1:16), and you want to learn to live that way. It is not easy, as you can probably witness in your own life. But that doesn’t mean that we lower our expectations, or we surrender in failure. We call on God for help. We call and cling on His promises for, “Faithful is he that calleth you, who also will do it,” 1 Thes. 5:24.
Wait a second!
So does this mean that I don’t have to be moral? Absolutely not! Morality is a despised enemy on its own, but it doesn’t mean that we despise everything that morality stands for. We do stand for moral values not because they are moral, but because they are godly and biblical. However, your heart is in the wrong if you are asking, do I have to be moral? Rather, the question should be, in my life, am I being holy? Am I acting according to my calling? (Eph. 4:1). Am I acting as a separated kingdom citizen who faithfully follows his King?
Holiness doesn’t produce morality, it produces godliness. Morality is the expectation of “bad humans” becoming “good humans.” Godliness is the impression of the person of the perfect God in the heart of His rescued citizens. Godliness is far better than moralism—long for godliness, purity, and integrity. Long for the genuine work of the Spirit in your heart. It takes time, and patience, but it will be a satisfying experience in your life like none other. Don’t be moral, be holy.
Following the King in holiness is not an oppressive task, if you are seeing it that way you are seeing wrong, or worse, you are being taught wrongly. Following the King in holiness brings the peace that the King promised. Right after He said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments,” (Jn. 14:15), Jesus added, “I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you,” (Jn. 14:18), and then He promised, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you…” (Jn. 14:27). Following the King in holiness is the mark of true citizens of the kingdom. Are you one of them?