When we think about holiness what often comes to mind is a bunch of 1950’s era Christians condemning men for hair that creeps over the collar and women for skirts that creep up above the knee!
Maybe that’s why holiness is not very popular in the pulpits of “cutting edge” churches today. But is our concept of holiness correct and where do we really stand when it comes to personal holiness?
I have to admit that I really didn’t want to read a book about holiness that did nothing more than tell me what all the things I’m not allowed to do and make me feel like the scum of the earth. Kevin DeYoung’s book does nothing of the sort!
Don’t think of Christianity as having to do what a peevish God wants. Think of it as now being able to do what a good God demands.
What I enjoyed most about this book was that DeYoung presented a balanced yet honest view of holiness. The truth is that we need to come back to a high view of God. God is holy and he calls believers to live holy lives. DeYoung points out that true holiness can only be achieved through union with Christ.
Holiness is not ultimately about living up to a moral standard. It’s about living in Christ and living out our real, vital union with Him.
This union is something that we are given from the moment of salvation. It is what enables us to have a living relationship with God. However, shouldn’t have the attitude that now we can just sit back and let God do the rest. We must strive and work to live according to God’s holy standard.
It sounds really spiritual to say that God is interested in a relationship, not in rules. But it’s not Biblical, from top to bottom the Bible is full of commands.
While we have been given the righteousness of Jesus through justification, God still wants us to work on bringing our earthly lives in line with his standards for us. Because live in a culture of constantly declining morals we must always be reexamining how they think and how they live.
I did not go away from DeYoung’s book feeling guilty and hopeless about ever attaining a “holier than thou” lifestyle. On the contrary, he challenged me to carefully think through my moral standards and compare them with Scripture. He also encouraged me to seek Jesus as the primary source of strength and motivation for living a holy life.