Excerpt from The Hole in Our Holiness

Thistlebend Quiet eMoment

by Laurie Aker

Hello Again from My Reading Retreat

Today’s book is:
The Hole in Our Holiness
by Kevin DeYoung

Excerpt from Chapter One.
I absolutely, positively, LOVE, LOVE,
LOVE this book. I think it is one of
the most important books written in the past decade.
Kevin has spoken the truth in love to the church
with much grace, wisdom, and humor.

“I’ve never understood the attraction of camping.
Although I have plenty of friends and relatives who are avid campers, it’s
always seemed strange to me that someone would work hard
all year so they can go live outside for a week.
I get the togetherness stuff, but why do it in tents with
community toilet? As an adventure, I sort of understand camping.
You strap a pack on your back and go hike God’s creation. Cool. But
packing up the van like Noah’s ark and driving to a mosquito
infested campground where you reconstitute an inconvenient
version of you kitchen and you bedroom just doesn’t make sense. Who
decided that vacation should be like normal life, only harder?
Every year our church advertises “family camp.”
Every year my wife wants to go, and every year we surprising
end up in some other state during our churches allotted week.
As best I can tell, the appeal of family camp, is that the kids,
unbothered by parental involvement, run around free and dirty
sun up to sun down-a sort of Lord of the Flies for little
Michiganders. But as appealing as it sounds to have absentee
offspring and downtime with my friends, there must be a cleaner,
less humid way to export the children for a week (isn’t
that what VBS is for?). And even if the kids have a great time,
the weather holds up, no one needs stitches, and the seventeenth hot dog
tastes as good as the first, it will still be difficult to get all the
sand out of my books.

I know there are a lot of die hard campers in the world.
I don’t fault you for your hobby. It’s just not my thing. I didn’t grow
up camping. My family wasn’t what you’d call ‘outdoorsy.’
We weren’t against the outdoors or anything. We often saw it through
our windows and walked through it on our way to stores.
But we never once went camping. We don’t own a tent, an RV,
or Fifth Wheel. No one hunted. No one fished. Even our
grill was inside (seriously, a Jenn-Air; look it up).

I’ve been largely ignorant of camping my whole life.
And I’m ok with that. It’s one more thing I don’t need to worry
about in life. Camping may be great for other people, but I’m
content to never talk about it, never think about it, and never do it.
Knock yourself out with the cooler and collapsible chairs,
but camping is not required of me and I’m fine without it.

Is it possible you look at personal holiness like I look at camping?
It’s fine for other people. You sort of respect those who make
their lives harder than they have to be. But it’s not really
your thing. You didn’t grow up with a concern for holiness.
It wasn’t something you talked about. It wasn’t what your family
prayed about or your church emphasized. So, to this day,
it’s not your passion. The pursuit of holiness feels like one
more thing to worry about in your already impossible life.
Sure, it would be great to be a better person, and you do hope
to avoid the really big sins. But you figure, since we’re saved
by grace, holiness is not required of you, and frankly, your
life seems fine without it. The hole in our holiness is
that we don’t really care much about it. Passionate
exhortation to pursue gospel-driven holiness is barely
heard in most of our churches. It’s not that we don’t
talk about sin or encourage decent behavior. Too many
sermons are basically self-help seminars on becoming
a better you. That’s moralism, and it’s not helpful. Any
gospel which says only what you must do and never
announces what Christ has done is no gospel at all. So I’m
not talking about getting beat up every Sunday for
watching SportsCenter and driving an SUV. I’m talking
about the failure of Christians, especially younger generations
and especially those most disdainful of ‘religion’ and
‘legalism,’ to take seriously one of the great
aims of our redemption and one of the required evidences
for eternal life-our holiness. J. C. Ryle, a nineteenth-century
Bishop of Liverpool, was right: ‘We must be
holy, because this is one grand end and purpose for
which Christ came into the world. . . . Jesus is a complete
Saviour. He does not merely take away the guilt of a believer’s
sin, he does more-he breaks its power (1 Pet. 1:2; Rom. 8:29;
Eph. 1:4; 2 Tim. 1:9; Heb. 12:10).'” 1


Heavenly Father,
We want to want be holy, because you are holy.
Help us be passionate about what you are passionate about.
Holiness is one of the great and grand purposes for
which Christ came into the world. Jesus has broken the power
of sin and has given us power over it.
Have mercy on us Lord.
Please forgive us for our apathy.
Fill us with your Spirit.
Lead us in the paths of righteousness for Your name’s sake.
May we live in such a way so as to proclaim
the gospel of Jesus Christ with our lips and our lives!

In His hands for His glory,

1 Kevin DeYoung. (Wheaton: Crossway, 2012).


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