Recently I have been wrestling with the unnecessary tension the modern church has created between these two commands: “Go and make disciples” and “Be ye holy.” The modern evangelical church focuses so heavily on the former that they oftentimes ignore the latter. Too often, the goal becomes to create a church where the lost will feel welcomed and therefore, more inclined to attend. The downside to that is that the lost rarely see a people who have truly become “holy” people. The other side of this pendulum swing is where a church will focus so heavily on being separated from the things of this world that they voluntarily shut themselves off from those needing help. Jesus Himself said He came, not for the well but for the sick.
What is the answer?
We must be a “holy” people who assemble together corporately for “holy” worship – worship that honors God, not man. Upon that benedictory song and prayer, the holy church then distributes itself among the un-holy people of the world…the sick whom Jesus cares so much about, to act as salt and light.
John MacArthur addressed the issue of a church ignoring the command to be holy at his recent Shepherds Conference.