If at First You Don't Succeed, Stop Trying so Hard
If at First You Don't Succeed, Stop Trying so Hard

The Hole in our Holiness is a fine book that makes a good argument that all devout Christians should read and inwardly digest. And then, as soon as possible, we should forget about it.

It's a fine book because Kevin DeYoung makes as good a case as can be made for pursuing holiness. Holiness is never formally defined in the book, but what he apparently means by it is righteous behavior motivated purely by a desire to obey Christ. Being familiar with DeYoung's writings, I know he is aware that holiness embraces more than this, but here he uses the term in its more ethical sense.

The case for holiness is not hard to make, as the Bible is full of injunctions to that end. There is no better summary than that of Ephesians 1, wherein we are told that from before the foundation of the world God chose us to live holy and blameless lives (v. 4), and then in chapter 2, that we have been saved by grace so that we might do good works (v. 10). Put in the perspective of salvation history, every other biblical admonition to holy living seems like mere commentary.

In pursuing the life of holiness there are many land mines to avoid, and DeYoung warns us about most of them. For example, he rightly notes the temptation to think that good works are something owed to God because of all the love he has lavished upon us. He also reminds us that "holy" is not something we become as much as a reality we live into, since by Christ's death and resurrection, we are already holy in the most important sense. Because of many such nuances, the book avoids many of the dead ends that one finds in other pleas for righteous living.

Inevitable Self-Righteousness

I believe, however, DeYoung fails to take some of his own advice as ...

Subscriber access only You have reached the end of this Article Preview

To continue reading, subscribe now. Subscribers have full digital access.

May
Subscribe to CT and get one year free.
Read These Next
Current IssueYour Smartphone Is Neither a Cancer nor a Cure-All
Your Smartphone Is Neither a Cancer nor a Cure-All Subscriber Access Only
A balanced, biblical take on the devices we can’t seem to live without.
RecommendedThe Seven Levels of Lying
The Seven Levels of LyingSubscriber Access Only
We lie more than we think. And that's part of the problem.
TrendingForgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Forgiveness: Muslims Moved as Coptic Christians Do the Unimaginable
Amid ISIS attacks, faithful response inspires Egyptian society.
Editor's PickWhatever Is Pure: Cedarville Requires Professors to Apply Philippians 4:8
Whatever Is Pure: Cedarville Requires Professors to Apply Philippians 4:8
Faculty push back against stricter standards keeping curse words, R-rated movies, and sexual content out of their curricula.
The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness
Christianity Today
If at First You Don't Succeed, Stop Trying so Hard
hide thisAccess The Archives

In the Archives

November 2012

To continue reading, subscribe now for full print and digital access.