Is Cultural Holiness the Bar for Right and Wrong?

Cultural holiness cares about how things appear and what people think but God calls His children to obedience for a higher purpose. I wonder…

Is cultural holiness the bar for right and wrong?

What is cultural holiness? 

“Many Christians have what we might call a “cultural holiness”. They adapt to the character and behavior pattern of Christians around them. As the Christian culture around them is more or less holy, so these Christians are more or less holy. But God has not called us to be like those around us. He has called us to be like Himself. Holiness is nothing less than conformity to the character of God.” ~Jerry Bridges

It’s so much easier to follow culture than it is to conform to God’s character.

Because we can be culturally holy without love.

Cultural holiness cares about how things seem and what people think but God calls His children to obedience for a higher purpose.

A purpose of love.

Let me make my case…


  • your spouse disregards your feelings repeatedly.
  • your teen rebels against your rules often.
  • your best friend doesn’t value the things that are important to you.

You can’t help but wonder but question the sincerity of their love. 

It’s natural. Because everyone knows . . . when you love someone, you want to please them.


Obedience is one of the ways you and I love God.

Cultural holiness cares about how things appear and what people think but God calls His children to obedience for a higher purpose.

The word obedience means – to do, keep, or follow commands, restrictions, wishes, instructions, etc.

God gave His people the 10 Commandments to make lives safer and happier. It’s what loving parents do! They provide boundaries because they love their children.

God is love.


“One of Satan’s most frequently used deceptions is the notion that the commandments of God are meant to restrict freedom and limit happiness.” ~Henry B. Eyring

So, you and I have to turn away from Satan’s lies and cultures “holiness” and look to what Jesus said about God’s commands and obedience.

Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:37-40

10 Commandments to Love God and Love People.

1. Have no other gods.
2. Don’t make, bow down, or worship idols (images or things).
3. Don’t misuse God’s name.
4. Observe the Sabbath and keep it holy.
5. Honor your mother and father.
6. Don’t murder.
7. Don’t commit adultery.
8. Don’t steal.
9. Don’t testify falsely about your neighbor.
10. Don’t covet what belongs to your neighbor. (Exodus 20:1–17)

Culture would prefer to make these negotiable guidelines, but when you and I fail to love the way God commands we hurt ourselves and others.

How I would love to keep His commands perfectly. To love the way He wants me to.

But I don’t. I can’t. I won’t.

I’m stubborn and selfish. Maybe you are too.

And that stubborn selfishness wants to believe if the culture says something is fun, acceptable, or beneficial, God’s commands are outdated or unnecessary.

So the internet and magazines publish articles like:

  • Why Gossip is Actually Good for You.
  • When it’s Okay to Lie.
  • Why Adultery Can Help Save a Marriage.

Yeah, the Enemy is still holding out forbidden fruit trying to convince people that God is holding out on them. And like Eve, we grab it and take a bite.


If you’ve been the victim of spread gossip, if people have lied to you or about you, or your spouse has had an affair . . . You know it’s all a lie. None of those things are okay, helpful, or good for you, and God really wants what is best for you because He loves you.

And we obey because we trust Him and want to love and worship Him.
Cultural holiness cares about how things appear and what people think but God calls His children to obedience for a higher purpose.
I love the way Paul put it in Romans 12:1–2

So brothers and sisters, since God has shown us great mercy, I beg you to offer your lives as a living sacrifice to Him. Your offering must be only for God and pleasing to Him, which is the spiritual way for you to worship. Do not be shaped by this world, instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect.

Not cultural holiness but living sacrifices.

People who respond to God’s grace, mercy, and love with obedience disregarding the Enemy’s temptations and rejecting our own selfishness because we trust God’s personal, individual, one of a kind love.

Not cultural holiness but an outpouring of love for a Father who gives all you and I need to love Him and love others. Obeying Him simply to show Him how very much we love Him.

 Now it’s time for…

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Fences and Storms and Fences

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Fences and Storms and Fences by Nylse Esahc


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Cassidy’s Heart

3 Verses for Your Brokenness by Cassidy Poe

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  1. Martha Orlando

    I recognized that quote from Jerry Bridges right off the bat, as I’ve read The Discipline of Grace – what an amazing book!
    Yes, God has given us rules because, like you said, He loves us like any good parent. We need to conform to His image, not the cultural influences around us. Thanks, Deb, for this inspiration today!
    Martha Orlando recently posted..TimelessMy Profile

  2. Debbie says:

    Thank you for such a great read this morning! This was especially on my mind since I was studying 1 Samuel 16 yesterday and thinking about Saul’s disobedience. God set the rules and it is not up to us to justify our sins. Just do what He wants exactly as He told us to do it. Thank you for hosting!
    Debbie recently posted..4.11. Parable: The Lost Sheep & Lost CoinMy Profile

  3. Carlie

    Once again, Deb, as you so often do, you’ve spoken directly to my heart. I long to love God, in a way that obeys Him and not the norms of cultural christianity, but ‘I don’t. I can’t. I won’t.’ Yet, God with His forever love loves me anyway, and it is that love that draws me close, spurs me on and gives me the ability to obey Him one step at a time. Thanks for sharing your heart. Blessings to you, my friend.
    Carlie recently posted..The Amazing Beauty & Impact of One DropMy Profile

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