Complete Holiness found in personal and social holiness
It is written in the book of Leviticus and echoed in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy, because I am holy,” and Jesus tells us just what holiness looks like in Matthew 22:37-39 “You shall love the Lord your God in all your heart, and in all your soul and in all your mind, this is the greatest and first commandment and the second is like it, you shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Holiness, or living a life dedicated to God, does not simply mean living for yourself or living for others, it means living your life for God in everything you do.
The founder of the Methodist movement, John Wesley, said there are two types of holiness, personal holiness, which is growing your personal relationship with God, and social holiness, which is showing love to others through caring for their physical needs.
To be a complete Christian we must focus on both.
Most churches today focus on one or the other. They either focus so much on helping others and joining into the culture that the truth of the Gospel is watered down, they don’t hold their people to high standards set forth by God. Other churches focus so much on personal holiness that they forget about the poor, the hurting, and the marginalized. They focus only on themselves and do not look outward to the communities they are called by God to serve. It is seems to be hard to focus on both.
The problem is we cannot have one without the other. The two go hand in hand.
A person cannot grow in personal holiness without giving of themselves to those in need. “Just as you did for one of the least of my brothers or sisters, you did for me,” (Matthew 25:40). Likewise, a person’s personal growth leads to the will to help other people “But some will say, ‘you have faith and I have works,’ show me your faith apart from works and I will show you my faith by my works” (James 2:18). There really is no separation of the two.
This is one of the main goals of the Free Methodist Church, to return to the founding principles of the Methodist movement and more specifically return to the founding principles of the Christian Church. At Gloversville Free Methodist Church it is our goal to reach the people of Gloversville in both ways. We have traditional church activities such as worship services and Bible studies, but we also reach out within the city of Gloversville with social ministries such as our food pantry at the Free Methodist Center of Hope at 33 Bleecker, and family ministries designed to help families come together. Everything we do is focused on spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ, both personally and socially, to the people in our community.
Complete holiness should always be the focus of the church. We should never ask for or strive for anything less than a complete relationship with God through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. This can only be possible when we allow Him to guide us to personal and social holiness.
“Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can.” — John Wesley www.goodreads.com/author/show/151350.John-Wesley.
Rev. Richard Wilkinson Jr. Gloversville Free Methodist Church