The Lord is holy. The Lord has called us to be holy like Him (I Pt. 1:15-16). Holiness comes from intimacy, and intimacy is developed in the holy place (Ps. 24:3-4, John 14:21). One cannot be claimed without the other.
There seems to be a troubling recurrence with the Body of Christ that claims to be so intimately connected to the Lord that there is a revealed grace that allows us to walk unholy before Him and yet live. I want to go on the record as saying that is nonsense and a purposeful misinterpretation of Scripture meant to allow the flesh to have its way (Rom. 8). God’s mercy at the cross was accompanied by grace that empowers us to overcome sin (Rom. 6:15-16)! This includes every sin from lies and gossip to sexual misconduct and murder. Well, judgment starts in the house of God (1 Pt. 4:17).
Before Paul ever listed the qualifications of ministers for Timothy (1 Tim. 3:1-7), Malachi was rebuking priests who had not kept covenant with the Lord, making a mockery of His temple. In Malachi chapter two, verses five through seven, he spells out exactly what the Lord’s ministers were supposed to be doing but neglecting.
1) Be conduits of life and peace
2) Walk in fear of the Lord
3) Awe the Name of the Lord
4) Speak the true Gospel
5) Be honest
6) Walk in peace and righteousness
7) Turn people from sin
8) Safeguard knowledge
9) We should be the ones people seek out for wisdom
10) Be the messenger of the Lord
This list holds today, and God still expects it of those who declare and proclaim the message of the kingdom. I issued this same warning back in February of this year specifically to people that hold ministerial positions. God is cleaning house, and it is imperative that ministers seek His face, repenting of their failure to be the shepherds He demands for His flock, and that all who claim Christ walk worthy of Him (Col. 1:10).
There is a changing of the guard that is taking place within the church, and those that choose the path of holiness are going to be elevated into greater areas of responsibility. Those who refuse to do so, He will expose and remove from their place. Because they dishonor God, He will allow dishonor to fall on them. God declares that He will curse them and spread dung on their faces because they refused to hear and wouldn’t take to heart His commandment – not exactly a pleasant picture (Mal. 2:1-4). Those the Lord loves, He chastens, and He does so that we may be partakers of His holiness and yield the fruit of righteousness (Heb. 12:1-11). Fellow ministers and Christians, I implore you as co-laborers in Christ, let us repent and walk in fear of Him with peace and righteousness, awing His Name, being an example to the believers in all things, and being careful to take heed lest we fall (I Tim. 4:12, I Cor. 10:6-12). Let us return to the Lord our God, that He will return to us (Zech. 1:2-6).