Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Review: Hole in Our Holiness

The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of GodlinessThe Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness by Kevin DeYoung
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Holiness has gotten a bad rap lately. I am not sure why. But those who strive for holiness are often accused of legalism or pride. The Hole in Our Holiness is the good remedy for this faulty thinking. Pastor DeYoung does a great job showing how important holiness is, how it can be achieve, how it flows out of justification, and how it means striving to obey God’s commandments.

What impressed me most about the book was the tone. Instead of getting done and feeling like I had been flogged, DeYoung put before me the promises of Scripture and the power of the Holy Spirit to give me a clearer desire to be holy. I did not sense that he was trying to make me feel guilty. Instead I left with a greater faith in Christ my Savior, a greater desire to obey all of his word, and a greater trust in the sanctifying power of the Holy Spirit.

You never got the impression that holiness is earning your salvation. Nor did you get the impression that you could achieve perfection. But you also did not get the impression that because we are all in Christ, therefore everyone is really equal in holiness. Some people are more holy than others and we should all strive to be holy.

The book is pastoral in tone and clear. It is filled with verses from Scripture. I appreciated the emphasis on the Scriptural commands to holy living. Too often these verses are explained away. It is balanced. It may not be as theologically dense as some would like, but I think this has to do with the nature of the book and the intended audience. It is a wonderful remedy to much of “grace based” Christian life stuff that goes around. Like DeYoung I believe in grace. But grace leads to holiness and obedience, not to worldliness or spiritual apathy.

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Let the saints be joyful in glory, let them sing aloud on their beds, let the high praises of God be in their mouth, and a two edged sword in their hand, to execute vengeance on the nations, and punishments on the peoples; to bind the kings with chains and their nobles with fetters of iron. Psalm 149:5-8