Someone posted a rather strong opinion against how we as Saints of God require certain dress styles, and they are Apostolic and this left me rather puzzled so here is what I wrote in the form of a question -
Question: Are you against Holiness and living above reproach in your lifestyle so that your good will not be evil spoken of so that your life style reflects Christ or just against unnecessary man-made church standards?
Notice I said 'unnecessary man-made church standards' for not all are unnecessary, for each congregation and church has different issues that needed to be handled and taken care of by issuing certain 'necessary' rules or standards applicable within that congregation.
Also some 'standards' only apply when you are out in public or have people in your home visiting - so when you are alone or with your immediate (saved) family that understands such standards and lifestyle, you can be more relaxed and free to do and say and act more liberal in what you wear or look like - that is not to say you can sin but just be more relaxed when not out in public where you must maintain and be a living witness. An example: You do not have to wear a dress when bathing or taking a shower, or when going to bed you can wear PJs, etc.
Sometime ago I wrote a Bible study called 'Standards Explained' and in it I classified 'church standards' into four different categories':
General division and overview of Standards
There are 4 Primary Types of ‘Standards’
‘Bible Standards’; ‘Church Standards’, ‘Local Assembly Standards’ and ‘Individually Appointed Standards’
• The 1st type is ‘Bible Standards’ and are fully and completely detailed within the Bible and is recognized and required by God and therefore is a salvation issue.
• The 2nd type is ‘Church Standards’ these are not generally salvation issues (unless rebelled against or rejected out of a sinful attitude - then the carnal attitude is the sin) but can be if they are there to prevent sin, rebellion or help the congregation avoid losing out with God. These are required by a local assembly for protection from some conflict, trouble, issue(s) or problem(s) that are unique within that single congregation and only that congregation. These are needed to keep the flock of God safe and protected thus it is correct and necessary and at this point they could be a salvation issue (each one would have to be weighed in the balance by Jesus) and that minister has the responsibility to require it as being the Shepherd under Jesus of God’s people.
• The 3rd type is ‘Local Assembly Standards’ and are same as the 2nd but are based on one or both of the following 2 reasons:
1. Misunderstood, out of context or not researched thoroughly enough Scripture(s).
2. An incorrect attitude of: ‘My old pastor taught that and if it was good then and there then its good here and now.
• The 4th type is ‘Individually Appointed Standards’ and is neither a salvation issue nor the actual will of God and is not found in His Word.
True 'standards' should never be a burden, a struggle or a battle to uphold and maintain nor should they cause or bring ridicule or distain from sensible people toward the church or body of Christ but they should be a joy to fulfill knowing they are helping you and others to please Jesus and to keep your light shiny and bright to the lost world.
When Jesus said: Take up your cross and follow me He was not talking about heavy restricting 'standards' but He was talking about picking up the burden of souls, your ministry, your passion for Christ to reach a lost world. Jesus carried His own cross and that is what in reality He carried the burden for the lost and His ministry for that end of bringing a means of salvation - not standards.
Standards should be based on our love for Jesus and our loving attempts at pleasing Him as a Bride preparing for the Groom to come for her and not out of some dictatorship and over burdensome LAW of punishment.
The main thing to watch for concerning Holiness Standards is your attitude - are you trying to live closer to Jesus as reflected in your lifestyle or are you trying to get away with as much as possible and still make it in????
I personally would rather do a few things too much than to do just one thing not enough.
Now consider a few Scriptures:
1 Timothy 2:9 (KJV)
9 In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array;
2 Corinthians 6:17 (KJV)
17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you,
1 Peter 1:15-16 (KJV)
15 But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
16 Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
Hebrews 12:14 (KJV)
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
Romans 12:1-2 (KJV)
1 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.
2 And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
Romans 13:14 (KJV)
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
James 4:17 (KJV)
17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.
1 John 2:16 (KJV)
16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.
Ephesians 2:3 (KJV)
3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.
Galatians 5:16 (KJV)
16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.
Galatians 5:25 (KJV)
25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.
Romans 8:1 (KJV)
1 There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
Romans 8:4 (KJV)
4 That the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
And one last one that tells us that in Final Judgment of Revelations all will be judged by our ‘WORKS’ in other words what we did or didn’t do based on what we knew to do – This would include holiness and necessary standards =
Revelation 20:12 (KJV)
12 And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.
Bro. Rick Flores has a very interesting point =
For anyone who believes that
Holiness has absolutely nothing to do with clothing...
If that is accepted as true, then Jesus' teaching would've been misleading when he had said; "Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing,... " Matt 7:15.
Apparently, there was a manner of dressing that was godly.
Therefore, it is very obvious that people are recognized by what they wear in all walks of life. Solomon also recognized certain kind of women when he stated: "And, behold, there met him a woman with the attire of an harlot,... " Pro 7:10.
Quite obviously, there is a manner of dressing that is ungodly and inappropriate.
My thanks to Bishop Sylbert Clarke for inspiring this post.
So again I ask:
Are you against Holiness and living above reproach in your lifestyle so that your good will not be evil spoken of so that your life style reflects Christ or just against unnecessary man-made church standards?
True holiness starts on the inside and will manifest itself outwardly in how we talk, act, dress what we do and where we go.
© 2014 by Elder S. D. Ashe, All rights reserved