For the last few weeks we’ve been looking at reasons to go to church and be taught. This week I want to encourage you to go to church to become holy.
Once you become a Christian through repentance and faith, you then are supposed to be holy by doing good works. Otherwise your faith is shown to not be true faith at all. James tells you: ‘faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead’ (James 2:17). How do you do good works? By obeying God’s commands to love him and love your neighbours.
But doing good works is not easy. Once you are a Christian, being good is not plain sailing. You will find that again and again you do not show love to God and you do not show love to your neighbour. So how can you become holy more easily? Go to your local church to find the teaching and support that you need.
Again and again the secular world encourages support groups for overcoming difficult tasks. Programs like Weight Watchers are designed to give proper teaching on weight loss as well as provide support networks between fellow weight losers.
And there is definitely a sense in which going to church is like attending a weight watchers program. You meet up with people who all have the same goal of losing spiritual fat and gaining spiritual muscle. You then all listen to someone explain the best ways to gain spiritual muscle and lose fat. The fact that everyone else sits there and listens to the teaching encourages you to take it seriously and gives you an opportunity to discuss what was taught afterwards.
And it works. Paul describes the change that came from being taught the word: ‘But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted’ (Romans 6:17). The Romans heard someone teaching and obeyed it.
You may be able to read your Bible at home and try to grow in holiness on your own. But as with most self-directed programs, you will not grow as strongly as when you receive teaching on how to be holy.
Do you attend church to grow in holiness?