So a friend of mine asked me this question.
No human is holy. Pastors are humans. So pastors too are somnetimes ot holy. How can God speak through them if they’re ungodly and unholy? (Holiness and ungodliness as in everyday life like not helping the poor whom they pass by on the roads even though they’re capable of helping). So is holiness a criteria for God to speak through a Church pastor or if there’s no holiness God doesn’t speak through him? I hope I made sense, please correct me if I’m wrong.
So a friend of mine asked me this question.
This is an awesome question and thank you so much for asking it. First of all, I would like to say that you are quite correct. We are all fallen and sinful, even pastors. In a way, that is one of the most comforting things we see in the Bible. I look at my life before I gave it to Jesus Christ and it makes me shudder to think of the kind of person I was, and the things that I did. Even to this day I still mess up and do things that I wish I didn’t. But Paul gives us an interesting perspective on this in Romans. He states,
“For I do not understand my own actions. For I do not do what I want, but I do the very thing I hate. Now if I do what I do not want, I agree with the law, that it is good. So now it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me. For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out. For I do not do the good I want, but the evil I do not want is what I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want, it is no longer I who do it, but sin that dwells within me.
So I find it to be a law that when I want to do right, evil lies close at hand. For I delight in the law of God, in my inner being, but I see in my members another law waging war against the law of my mind and making me captive to the law of sin that dwells in my members. Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, I myself serve the law of God with my mind, but with my flesh I serve the law of sin” - Romans 7:15-25.
Even Paul, who was one of the greatest advocates for Christ in this world recognized that he was a sinner, and that there was a constant battle within us of the flesh against those things that are holy and right.
Now, can we be holy? We can certainly try our best, but what we truly learn is that we fail spectacularly at it. That is the point of what Christ did for us. He gave the ultimate sacrifice so that we could be declared, through Him, legally holy before God. When we accept Christ, we accept the payment for our sin, all of our sin; past, present, and future. God looks at us and sees His Son standing there with us saying, “This one is covered by my blood.” So by that we are declared holy. Now…are we? NO! No we still are sinners and we still make mistakes. We still live in this fallen world contained in a sinful fleshly body, we are still wretched, but we are on a path of improvement. We will not be made truly holy until we stand before God and are made as such. We will receive a new body and a new life, and be sanctified through the blood of the Lamb, but at this present time we are still very much sinners. We must work to recognize our failings every day and seek God’s guidance in eradicating those sins from our lives, but this is merely the precursor to the time that we will be made truly holy.
One of the things that really makes the Bible so amazing is that it does not just show a bunch of people who served God and were righteous all the time. It shows us some of the greatest figures of history, were also failures and sinners, just like us. King David was a man after God’s own heart, even though he took someone else’s wife and even had the husband killed to cover it up! But he saw that he had done wrong and he repented to God and sought His forgiveness. Paul tells us in Romans that he did not do what he wanted to do, but that which was sinful and that he hated. But he continually sought God’s forgiveness, picked himself up, and continued in the path toward Christ. God does not love us, or speak through us because we are perfect. God takes broken things like us, and uses them to show others that it is not about how perfect or holy we are, it is about how glorious and amazing His grace truly is.
In 1 John 1:8-10 we are told, " If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us."
We all sin and make mistakes, but that does not mean that God cannot use us, or that He does not speak through us. If God only used perfect holy people to work through, then we would be doomed, because He would have no one to work through.
One more passage I would like to share with you is from Hebrews, “But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with the ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” - Hebrews 9:11-28. We do not do anything to serve God by any means that we hold, we serve God through Christ and His redemption given to us through His blood.
Now this does not mean that every pastor out there is giving out the truth. We must be cautious and selective. 2 Peter 2:1-3 tells us, “But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” So we must always seek the knowledge and truth of God’s word to prepare ourselves, so that we are not deceived by false teachings. But if we seek the Lord’s guidance, and we learn and know His word, then we will be able to spot these false teachings.
I hope that this all helps you Levi. I am glad you trusted this community with your question and if you have any other please do not hesitate to ask them. May God guide you and bless you with discernment and wisdom as you seek the answer He has for you. God bless you and thank you.
- One little note, if you are interested in a video to check out I will leave a link to a video called The Holiness of God by Chip Ingram on here. He gives a very clear picture of God’s holiness and how it relates to us. God bless.
@LeviSatwik Great question I think there are two important points to keep in mind in relation to your friend’s question.
- through faith we are made righteous in Christ
- we should examine both the lives and teaching of our leaders
Holiness / Righteousness
The word holy means to be “set apart unto God”. All Christians are holy in that sense, even though we still make mistakes and must repent. We are not sinners—we are saints or “set apart ones”. God has given us the righteousness of Christ, so if we are living in Christ we are covered by His righteousness. That is why we can enter God’s throne room with confidence in prayer. So any pastor who is walking with Jesus is hidden in Christ and has the righteousness of Christ.
Romans 3:22-26 - This righteousness is given through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference between Jew and Gentile, 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25 God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26 he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.
Ephesians 2:4-10 - But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. 6 And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, 7 in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. 8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9 not by works, so that no one can boast. 10 For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.
Be a Berean - Examine the Scriptures
We are not called to blindly accept everything that our pastors say. Rather, God calls us, like the Bereans, to study the Scriptures to show ourselves approved and to verify that what is taught from the pulpit is true. Granted, not everyone has the ability to do that at the same level, but we are all called to do our best to grow in knowledge of God and of the Scriptures. That is part of growing in Christian maturity.
We are also called to examine the lives of our leaders—not in order to be critical or judgmental—but to ensure that they are worth imitating. They should be living lives that honor Christ—self-controlled lives and leadership exemplified by humility and service rather than domineering behaviors.
Acts 17:11 - Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.
Matthew 7:15-20 - “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them.
1 Timothy 3:1-10 - Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task. 2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach, faithful to his wife, temperate, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, 3 not given to drunkenness, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. 4 He must manage his own family well and see that his children obey him, and he must do so in a manner worthy of full respect. 5 (If anyone does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of God’s church?) 6 He must not be a recent convert, or he may become conceited and fall under the same judgment as the devil. 7 He must also have a good reputation with outsiders, so that he will not fall into disgrace and into the devil’s trap.
8 In the same way, deacons are to be worthy of respect, sincere, not indulging in much wine, and not pursuing dishonest gain. 9 They must keep hold of the deep truths of the faith with a clear conscience. 10 They must first be tested; and then if there is nothing against them, let them serve as deacons.