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Living Holy in Today’s Society

Let's face it, the world is filled with temptations to throw off a person's moral compass--but living in holiness is possible when armed with true faith.


Living Holy in Today’s Society 

Brother Richie Juatco: Do you feel like living a holy way of life in these modern times is attainable? Or do you feel that living in holiness is idealistic and impractical? Many say these days it’s simply impossible to follow the Bible’s guidance for everyday life. Today on The Message, we’ll find out if it is as impossible as some may think. 

[Show open]

Brother Richie: Hello, I’m Brother Richie Juatco, and with me here in our studios in the San Francisco Bay Area is Brother Bernard Daos. Hi, Brother Bernard! 

Brother Bernard Daos: Hello, Brother Richie! You know, human as we are, we have our weaknesses, tendencies, our frailties. That’s why it’s understandable why many people feel that living a holy life is just impossible. They might even give their best effort, but then they end up learning that despite their good intentions, they fail, proving the biblical truth that “the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Brother Richie: So, to start our discussion, if living holy is really something that’s impossible, let’s first find out how one should even go about attempting to be holy.

Brother Bernard: Well. To answer that, we turn to the Book of John 17:17. Please listen to the proclamation of the Lord Jesus Christ. Here is what it says: 

Sanctify them by your truth. Your word is truth. 

[John 17:17 New King James Version] 

Brother Bernard: Here, our Lord Jesus Christ is saying that we can be sanctified by the truth. What does it mean to sanctify? In the common English Bible, the verse says, “Make them holy in the truth…” So according to the Bible, what sanctifies or what makes a person holy is the truth. Now, although people today think that truth is something that we can vary from one person to another, we can see what the real truth is. The biblical truth are the words of God. Therefore, Brother Richie, if we follow God’s words written in the Bible, then that will lead us to a holy life.

Nothing is impossible if you have faith

Brother Richie: So, Brother Bernard, that brings us back to our original question. Is it even possible nowadays to strictly follow biblical instructions?

Brother Bernard: Well, again, let’s turn to our Lord Jesus Christ. And here’s what it says in Matthew 17:20. Let me read this: 

… For truly I say to you, if you have faith the size of a mustard grain, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

[Matthew 17:20 New World Translation] 

Brother Bernard: The Lord Jesus Christ is the one speaking and teaching us here when he says, “nothing will be impossible for you.”

Brother Richie: But, wait a second, when will nothing be impossible? 

Brother Bernard: Our Lord Jesus Christ said, “if you have faith…” So that is the condition that has to be met. Now, how powerful can our faith be? Our Lord Jesus Christ said, even if it was the size of a mustard grain, then we can say to this mountain, “Move from here to there,” and it will move mountains. So take note, having faith is so important to living a Bible-based life.

Brother Richie: But today there are people with all different kinds of faith.

What kind of faith does one need to live holy?

Brother Bernard: And that is true. And so which type of faith is needed? Is it just any kind of faith? What kind of faith was the Lord Jesus Christ referring to and how can we acquire that faith?

Brother Richie: That’s a good question. Let’s turn to what’s recorded in Romans 10:14-15. And this is the answer that the Bible gives us:  

How can people have faith in the Lord and ask him to save them, if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear, unless someone tells them? And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord? The Scriptures say it is a beautiful sight to see even the feet of someone coming to preach the good news.

[Romans 10:14-15 Contemporary English Version] 

Brother Richie: According to what we have read, there is a clear sequence to obtain true faith—the faith needed to do the seemingly impossible, as our Lord Jesus Christ mentioned in the verse earlier. How do we get that? Before people can have faith in the Lord and ask Him anything in prayer, what must take place first? The Bible says that they have to hear about Him or they have to hear the Gospel. Now, before people can hear or learn about the biblical truth, what is needed, the Bible says, “And how can they hear, unless someone tells them?” So, there has to be someone who tells or teaches people the truth.

Brother Bernard: Well, wait, Brother Richie, can just anyone simply pick up a Bible start reading, and then begin preaching and teaching others so that they can have true faith? 

Brother Richie: That answer to that question is actually no because the Bible actually clarifies. “And how can anyone tell them without being sent by the Lord?” So, notice if they are sent by the Lord, they have authority. It’s not just a feeling that they’re going to preach. The first step of the sequence to acquire true faith is to first find those sent by God to preach.

Just like Apostle Paul, he is the one speaking in the verse here, he was sent to preach. So, unless this first step is achieved, the faith that a person claims to have [will] not be the faith that our Lord Jesus Christ was referring to earlier when he said “nothing will be impossible for you.”

Those sent by God to preach

Brother Bernard: But wait, before we move on, we just have to make it very clear. Where can we find those who, like Apostle Paul, was sent by God? Meaning they were given the authority to preach the truth, the good news, or the wisdom and faith that actually comes from God.

Brother Richie: Let’s get the answer that is written here in Ephesians 3:10. So we want a biblical answer, for sure. Many people might give their own interpretation or what they feel, but this is what the Bible teaches. Here in Ephesians 3:10. It says: 

to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places, 

[Ephesians 3:10 New King James Version] 

Brother Richie: So the Bible makes it clear because we read “the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church.” So those God sends and gives the authority to teach the truth or to preach about His wisdom, we’ll have to take note, they’re not in various churches, they are in one singular Church. Just like Apostle Paul, the other apostles, and all those sent to preach—they are all just in one Church.

Brother Bernard: Well, wait. Their time was very different from our time because today we can see there are so many churches with all kinds of people using the Bible in their own way and assuming that this is what they’re teaching, the true biblical faith.

Brother Richie: Now, that is true—[the] observation that you made—that the Bible says one Church, but we see all different types of churches. But we have to understand, although that is true, there are a lot of different churches today, that does not change the written truth in the Bible, that there is only one true Church that God uses to make known His wisdom of truth, because those that He sends to preach they are all from that one Church. So the question now is, which is the true Church that contains the preachers sent by God? Just like Apostle Paul, we can even specify which Church was Apostle Paul a member of.

Brother Bernard: Well, let’s read the answer to that question here in the Book of Acts 20:28. Listen to what Apostle Paul says:  

Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock, over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood. 

[Acts 20:28 George M. Lamsa’s Translation] 

Brother Bernard: The true Church taught in the Bible is the Church Of Christ. So, if a person learns the Gospel in the genuine Church Of Christ by those whom God sends to preach, then they will have the opportunity to acquire true faith through that biblical process we mentioned earlier and will actually be a part of the biblical Church.

Brother Richie: Now, Brother Bernard, and to those that are watching, someone might be thinking, if a person doesn’t want to go through the biblical process and join the Church Of Christ, can they find another way, maybe on their own, to live a holy way of life?

Brother Bernard: Well, let’s continue to get the answer from the Bible here in the Book of Jeremiah 13:23, it says this: 

Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard its spots? Then may you also do good who are accustomed to do evil.

[Jeremiah 13:23 New King James Version] 

Brother Bernard: According to what we have read, there’s no chance that a person, on his own, can change himself to living a good and holy life. It’s the same situation that an Ethiopian cannot change his skin or a leopard cannot change its spots. So remember, the only chance that a person has to living a holy life is to follow the Bible’s teachings, which are taught the genuine true Church Of Christ, and then they can acquire the true faith. 

What if you’re in the true Church, but have doubts?

Brother Bernard: So, now that we’ve made that very clear, what is the situation if one who is already a member of the true Biblical Church Of Christ—they are already receiving the truth from those sent by God—but what if they have reservations or doubts, meaning they don’t apply the faith in how they live?

Brother Richie: That’s a good question, Brother Bernard. They have that requirement, they’re inside the biblical Church Of Christ, they’re receiving the help that they need. But what if there are some doubts, you say? We can read the answer from James 1:6-7. It says this: 

But when you ask for something, you must have faith and not doubt. Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm. 

[James 1:6 Contemporary English Version] 

Indeed, people who doubt should not think that God the Lord will give them what they ask for {so uncertainly}. 

[James 1:7 Unfolding Word Simplified Text] 

Brother Richie: A person who asks or prays for something, yet doubts, [is already] straying from the biblical instruction. How does the Bible describe people who second-guess God’s words or His ability to make them a reality? The Bible says, “Anyone who doubts is like an ocean wave tossed around in a storm.” We know that waves in a storm, they’re not stable. So, what can people with unstable faith expect from God? Well, we read, “people who doubt should not think that God the Lord will give them what they ask for.” That is when living a life in holiness—that is when it really will be impossible.

Brother Bernard: So, if we want to live holy or live a life of holiness, then we must sincerely follow the Bible’s teachings and we must prove our faith instead of doubting it. What is the stark difference, for example, between those who doubt God’s words and those who really do believe in these biblical truths?

Brother Richie: We’ll read from what is recorded in Mark 9:23. Well, this is the stark difference. It says here:

Jesus said to him, “Why do you say: ‘If you can?’ All things are possible for one who believes.” 

[Mark 9:23 Christian Community Bible] 

Brother Richie: Here, our Lord Jesus Christ, He actually just reiterates what He said in the verse that we read earlier. Earlier in the verse that we read, He said, “nothing will be impossible,” Here, He rephrased it. What did He say? He said, “All things are possible.” But notice He repeats the same condition again and specifies to whom this applies. He said, “All things are possible for one who believes.” So, it really does all boil down to having faith and believing in God’s words. 

But we know, we understand this world, it places temptation after temptation in our path and the general decline in morals and values of various ways to go against God. The list is endless— infidelity, dishonesty, stealing, and so on. What do we need as a personal trait? Now, we’re talking of personal traits or characteristics because we know we need to have faith. But what do we need as a particular characteristic to prove that we are actually using our faith to fight against temptation?

Brother Bernard: Well, here’s the answer of the Bible written in the Book of Proverbs 25:28. This is what we need to have: 

A man without self-control is as defenseless as a city with broken-down walls. 

[Proverbs 25:28 The Living Bible] 

Brother Bernard: The Bible teaches us, here, that we need to have self-control in our lives. You see, the walls of a city provide defense, protection against enemies, [and] attacks. That’s why people who do not have self-control are defenseless to all the temptations around them and they can easily be controlled.

Whom are we defending ourselves against?

Brother Richie: But wait a second, Brother Bernard, why do we need to defend ourselves? Who is attacking us? Who’s trying to control us? Which is why we need to defend ourselves against that? 

Brother Bernard: Listen to what the Bible teaches us in the Book of Ephesians 4:27:  

Don’t give the Devil a chance.

[Ephesians 4:27 Good News Translation]  

Brother Bernard: Our ultimate enemy is the Devil! And he should not be underestimated. The Bible does not merely describe the Devil as a liar, but also cunning, crafty, clever, skilled in deceit, which is why we are instructed to not even give the devil a single chance.

Brother Richie: That’s right! So, we shouldn’t do wrong and actually call it a calculated risk or a measured decision. Any advice that we happily accept in our lives will actually bring down our walls of defense for our enemy to enter and make living a holy way of life really impossible.

Brother Bernard: But, Brother Richie, no one wants to be defeated by the enemy. So, why are there people who do give in to the devil? What is the devil’s method? His way to try and control us? 

Brother Richie: Let’s get what is recorded in James 1:14 and this is what we’re able to learn, it says: 

But each one is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own lusts;

[James 1:14 Recovery Version] 

Brother Richie: Now the devil’s method is using enticement and temptations because he really is the ultimate tempter. How does the devil know what enticements to use? The Bible says, “one is tempted when he is drawn away and enticed by his own lusts …” It is our lusts or desires that the enemy uses against us. We should understand that doing whatever we want or whatever we desire is not actually to our benefit. What we should want to do is we should want to do whatever God wants. He’s the Creator. We should want to live that way of life because that is where we will live a good life the way God intended.

Brother Bernard: Well then here’s the question, Brother Richie: If one would not give in to their desires or be led by their wants, and instead, if they manage to follow God’s words that are written in the Bible, would the enemy, succeed in trying to tempt us? 

Brother Richie: That would never happen.

Brother Bernard: Well, we know that the devil will not simply give up, will never just stop tempting us. So what other method, what other way does the devil, the enemy, use against us?

Brother Richie: Let’s read in I Corinthians 15:33, the Bible gives us this insight: 

Do not be fooled. ‘If good people keep company with bad people, the good people will become bad too.’ 

[I Corinthians 15:33 Worldwide English New Testament] 

Brother Richie: What’s another method that the devil uses to tempt people away from God? The Bible says it is the people we keep company with. The Bible says, “the good people will become bad, too.” Now, if one argues, “No, no, no, I’m going to hang out with that crowd because I’m going to be the good, positive influence!” What does the Bible instruct? It says, “do not be fooled.”

Brother Bernard: Don’t be fooled. So, take no part in being controlled is being careful how we live is choosing our friends wisely. It’s very possible to live a life of holiness, but we have to make sure we do not give the devil a chance to control us.

Brother Richie: Despite the constant attempts of our enemy to control us by using all the temptations. What would happen, we should learn, what would happen if we really do follow God’s instructions, Brother Bernard? 

Brother Bernard: Let’s turn to the book of 1 Corinthians 10:13. Here is what we can share: 

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it. 

[1 Corinthians 10:13 English Standard Version] 

Brother Bernard: Here, the Bible clearly states, that God will not let you be tempted beyond your ability. Now, Brother Richie, isn’t that wonderful? 

Brother Richie: That is awesome.  

Brother Bernard: Isn’t that good to know? But therefore, we have to have the ability to properly handle every temptation that we encounter. So remember, if it’s too much for us to handle, God will not allow it to come our way. And we know this because we also read God is faithful, so we know God will keep His word.

Brother Richie: Now, what else will God do to His faithful people that are going through different temptations?

Brother Bernard: Well, the Bible teaches us that with the temptation, God will also provide us the way of escape. So when we are being tempted, instead of giving in to the temptations of the devil, what we should utilize is the escape that God is providing us.

Brother Richie: Now, you might be thinking, how can I, as a human being with weaknesses and impulses, how can I remember all of these biblical instructions or you might think, how can I fight my dark desire to do what God desires? What will happen if we follow the Bible’s teachings, as we discussed today, and we use our faith, we use our self-control as well, to prove to God that we really are trying to live a life of holiness. Let’s get the answer from Philippians 2:13. And this is what the Bible tells us. It says: 

For it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases him. 

[Philippians 2:13 International Standard Version] 

Brother Richie: How can we live lives that are holy? Well, the truth is that, “it is God who is producing in you both the desire and the ability to do what pleases Him.” So, is it impossible to live a holy life in today’s society? No. It is 100% possible to live holy despite all of the distractions in this world. That’s why, as members of the Church Of Christ, when we are able to accomplish this, what is it that we are taught? We are taught to give back all the honor and glory to God who provides us with the desire and ability to live how He wants us to live.

Brother Bernard: So, whether this is the first time you’re watching our program of The Message or maybe you’ve been tuning in with us for a while, we’ve wholeheartedly welcome you to learn more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo, the Church Of Christ, and hope that you will stay with us, learning the message of God that is written in the Bible.

Brother Richie: On behalf of all of us here at The Message. We’d like to thank you for joining us in today’s study of the Bible. But before we go, please join us for a short prayer. 

Our Heavenly Father, we humbly approach You, thanking You for the mercies that You showed to us, allowing us to hear Your truth, Your words written in the Bible, Your message of encouragement that we can live holy lives. 

We thank You, our God. We praise You, and we worship Your most Holy Name. We do ask for Your help, because we know that on our own we will not be able to fulfill Your will. We ask that You give us the strength, that You give us the faith that You help us to acquire—not only the self-control—but the true faith that You teach from Your Holy Scriptures. 

For those that are watching this, please be kind and merciful. If they are looking for the way to be able to be close to You, please let them feel it is You that is speaking to them that they may be able to have an opportunity to acquire the true biblical faith. They can hear Your words through those that You send to preach, and they will be among those that you call inside the true, genuine biblical Church Of Christ. 

Our Lord Jesus Christ, we also approach You, and we thank You, Dear Lord, for telling us the truth that comes from God. We ask you, Dear Lord, please strengthen our faith. Help us to fight against our enemy, to always follow your example in Your obedience to our God in Heaven. 

And Dear God, we thank You so much. We thank you for programs like this that You allow to be produced through the true Church Of Christ. Please allow all of us to remain under Your care, through our obedience to Your Holy teachings. Please always bless the Church Administration that you are using to lead Your people in these last days and help us, Dear Father, that every single one of us will be able to prove to You our true faith through following Your laws and commandments. We pray for all these things all through the name of Your Son, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen. 

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Living Holy in Today’s Society