I have read a lot of books, and many of them are very good. Occasionally I read a book which I find so compelling that I feel a strong desire to get it into as many hands as possible. Kevin DeYoung’s recent book, The Hole in Our Holiness, is one of those books.
The book is about–you guessed it–holiness. Kevin DeYoung explains, “The hole in our holiness is that we don’t really care much about it” (10). Is DeYoung tilting at windmills? I don’t think so. In the book he poses a simple question, “Is our obedience known to all?” DeYoung asks this question in light of Romans 16:19 where Paul says of the Roman church, “For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you”. When was the last time you heard about a church that was known for its diligent obedience to God? I don’t think we really need this book to convince us that we are slacking when it comes to holiness, but we might need this book to persuade us that it is a problem that can and should be addressed.
If you have ever thought or expressed any of the following ideas, then this book will be especially helpful for you:
“If I am saved by grace, does personal holiness really matter?”
“Being a Christian is about a relationship, not rules.”
“It doesn’t matter what I do, God always sees me the same way in Jesus Christ.”
“Sure [insert-relevant-sin] is bad, but after all, all sins are equal.”
“All our righteous acts are filthy rags, so it is impossible for me a sinner to do anything that pleases God.”
“Trying to be holy is legalism.”
“Holiness is something optional for only the most experienced Christians.”
There is also an entire chapter devoted to holiness and sexuality which is must-read for anyone in our culture, but especially for young people who are wondering how to honour God in their relationships.
Perhaps what makes The Hole in Our Holiness such a good book is that it is so pastoral. Kevin DeYoung is the senior pastor at University Reformed Church in Michigan. When you read through the book, you will not hear the voice of a distant academic trying to impress (or confuse!) readers with technical discussions or obscure vocabulary. Instead you will hear the voice of a pastor whose interest is to encourage you to understand and apply God’s Word to your Christian life especially in the area of holiness. The book is also relatively short, at only 137 small pages with a readable font.
I don’t receive any royalties or commission for sales of the book, so I am going to be bold enough to tell you to buy and read this book. I have been challenged and encouraged by this book, and I am confident that you will be as well. The book is not too long, or too academic, or too superfluous. And as a bonus, I have just received several extra copies from Amazon which I am more than happy to give away or lend out so long as you promise to read it!
Jesus Christ did not suffer and die for you because you were holy, but He also did not suffer and die and rise again so that you and I would remain ‘holey’:
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places, even as he chose us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and blameless before him. (Eph 1:3-4)