When we say we’re throwing something under the bus, that means we’re giving up on it. We aren’t protecting it; we’re letting go of it; we’re standing by doing nothing while it’s being destroyed. I think this is the spirit in which Jesus tells us in Matthew 7:6, “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs.” Dogs receive the leftovers—the scraps that we no longer want or need. Why does Jesus warn us not to give away those things in our life which are holy and let them be destroyed by “dogs” who will devour them? Because those things which are holy are actually the most important things in our life!
What do we have that’s holy, and what is holiness? According to Merriam Webster, something that is holy is “exalted or worthy of complete devotion as one perfect in goodness and righteousness.” By that high standard, only God is perfectly holy: “Who shall not fear thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name? for thou only art holy” (Revelation 15:4). First and foremost, God is holy, and we should never throw God under the bus or allow anything in life to cause us to leave the name and glory of God undefended. Don’t stand idly by while people profane God or defame His character. Rather, let’s imitate King David: “I will bless the Lord at all times: his praise shall continually be in my mouth. My soul shall make her boast in the Lord: the humble shall hear thereof, and be glad. O magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt his name together” (Psalm 34:1-3). The proud may think you’re crazy to believe in God, but the humble will be glad! I have long appreciated this statement by Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia (devout Catholic believer and judge for 30 years): “God assumed from the beginning that the wise of the world would view Christians as fools … and he has not been disappointed . . . If I have brought any message today, it is this: Have the courage to have your wisdom regarded as stupidity. . . Be fools for Christ. And have the courage to suffer the contempt of the sophisticated world” (speaking to a group of evangelical Christians in Jackson, Mississippi).
Second, the Church is holy (see Acts. 6:13 and Ephesians 2:21 and 5:27). The Church is the body of believers who come together for worship, prayer, communion, and to build each other up through fellowship and study. The Church is like the fireplace where heat and light are generated, and we are individually like living coals of fire! If we get too hot and pop off, we’ll most likely tumble away from the heat and grow cold. It’s in the community life of the Body of Christ that we grow, flourish, and minister to others. In 1 Peter 2:9, God says, “But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.” Don’t throw away your commitment to fellowshiping with a local community of believers! The Church is sacred! Don’t throw it under the bus!
Third, if we are believers, we ourselves are called to holiness. “But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (1 Peter 1:15-16). In Romans, every believer is encouraged to “present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service” (Romans 12:1). So, God intends for us to be “sanctified”—consecrated to God and set apart in purity for him. When we make moral compromises with our friends or co-workers for the sake of “getting along” with them or fitting in, we are giving that which is holy (ourselves) unto the dogs (those who do not believe and have no regard for holiness).
One of the most unpopular aspects of holiness today is protecting our purity. God reminds us in 1 Corinthians 3:17, “If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are.” And, 1 Corinthians 6:18-20, “Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.” We are called to sexual purity—don’t give your body up for immoral relationships—real or virtual! We belong to the Lord
There is a fourth thing that is repeatedly called “holy” in the Bible, and I’ll share about that next week. Can you guess what it is? Meanwhile, as we consider our lives, let’s make sure we’re not giving away our most important possessions—which are spiritual and holy: the Triune God, the Body of Christ, ourselves and our purity!