Book Review: The Hole in our Holiness



“The Bible could not be any clearer.  The reason for your entire salvation, the design behind your deliverance, the purpose for which God chose you in the first place is holiness.” Kevin DeYoung, The Hole in our Holiness

This past summer I read Crazy Busy by Kevin DeYoung and reviewed it here.  I quickly looked forward to reading another of DeYoung’s book as I really enjoyed his writing style…but more importantly, his commitment to using Scripture throughout his writing in a way that points the reader to Jesus rather than to DeYoung.

I picked up The Hole in our Holiness a few months ago and then life got busy…sort of ironic when you consider the first DeYoung book I read!  I grabbed a few books to read over Christmas break and was eager to jump in to The Hole in our Holiness and I’m sure glad I did! This book pushed me straight into God’s word as DeYoung encouraged the reader to preach the gospel to themselves anytime they need encouragement to pursue holiness in all things.

I highlighted several things while reading and have posted my notes below…this book is highly recommended!

  • 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.
  • My fear is that as we rightly celebrate, and in some quarters rediscover, all the Christ has saved us from, we are giving little thought and making little effort concerning all that Christ has saved us to.  Shouldn’t those most passionate about the gospel and God’s glory also be those most dedicated to the pursuit of godliness?  I worry that there is an enthusiasm gap and no one seems to mind.
  • If you dislike a holy God now, why would you want to be with him forever?  If worship does not capture your attention at present, what makes you think it will thrill you in some heavenly future?  If ungodliness is your delight here on earth, what will please you in heaven, where all is clean and pure?  You would not be happy there if you are not holy here.
  • We don’t take the Great Commission seriously if we don’t help each other grow in obedience.
  • God chose us for salvation in eternity past and sent Christ to save us in history and gave us the gift of faith by the working of the Holy Spirit in our lifetimes so that we might be holy.
  • The Bible could not be any clearer.  The reason for your entire salvation, the design behind your deliverance, the purpose for which God chose you in the first place is holiness.
  • Mere rule keeping is not the answer because holiness cannot be reduced to a little ethical refurbishment.
  • Holiness looks like the renewal of God’s image in us.
  • Holiness looks like a life marked by virtue instead of vice.
  • Holiness looks like a clear conscience.
  • Holiness looks like obedience to God’s commands.
  • Holiness looks like Christlikeness.
  • We see in Jesus the best, most practical, most human example of what it means to be holy.  He is our model for love (John 13:34), our model for humility (Philippians 2:5-8), our model for facing temptation (Hebrews 4:15), our model for steadfastness in the midst of suffering (1 Peter 4:1-2), and our model for obedience to the Father (John 6:38, 14:31).  We see all the virtues of holiness perfectly aligned in Christ.  He was always gentle, but never soft.  He was bold, but never brash.  He was pure, but never prudish.  He was full of mercy but not at the expense of justice.  He was full of truth but not at the expense of grace.  In everything he was submissive to his heavenly Father, and he gave everything for his sheep.  He obeyed his parents, kept the law of God, and forgave his enemies.  He never lusted, never coveted, and never lied.  In all that Jesus Christ did, during his whole life and especially as his life came to an end he loved God with his whole being and loved his neighbor as himself.
  • The Bible clearly teaches that holiness is possible.  This is good news, not bad news.  You have permission to see evidences of grace in your life.  You are allowed (and expected) to be obedient.  You will never be perfect in this life.  You cannot do anything to earn God’s love.  But as a redeemed, regenerate child of God you don’t have to be a spiritual failure.  By the mercies of God you can “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship” (Romans 12:1).
  • 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.  For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.”
  • It’s easy to become convinced that we can never change or that God is ready to kick us to the curb after we’ve screwed up in the same way for the millionth time.  But don’t listen to yourself; preach to yourself.  Go back to the gospel.  Remember that there is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus (Romans 8:1).  Remember that the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you (Romans 8:11).  Remember that you are a child of God, and if a child then an heir (Romans 8:16-17).  Remember that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord (Romans 8:38-39).  God gives more grace (James 4:6).  Draw near to him, recognize who you are in him, and keep on working to cleanse your hands and purify your hearts (James 4:8).
  • Let us say with Paul, “I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Corinthians 15:10).
  • The pursuit of holiness is not a quixotic effort to do just what Jesus did.  It’s the fight to live out the life that has already been made alive in Christ.
  • It’s not for nothing that Jesus expects his followers to ask for forgiveness as a regular part of their prayers (Matthew 6:12).  Repentance is a way of life for the holy child of God.
  • Holiness is the sum of a million little things—the avoidance of little evils and little foibles, the setting aside of little bits of worldliness and little acts of compromise, the putting to death of little inconsistencies and little in descriptions, the attention to little duties and little dealings, the hard work of little self-denials and little self-restraints, the cultivation of little benevolences and little forebearances.  Are you trustworthy?  Are you kind?  Are you patient?  Are you joyful?  Do you love?  These qualities, worked out in all the little things of life, determine whether you are blight or blessing to everyone around you, whether you are an ugly spiritual eyesore or growing up into a good-looking Christian.
  • God wants you to be holy.  Through faith he already counts you holy in Christ.  Now he intends to make you holy with Christ.  This is no optional plan, no small potatoes.  God saved you to sanctify you.  God is in the beautification business, washing away spots and smoothing away wrinkles.  He will have a blameless bride.  He promises to work in you; he always calls you to work out.  “The beauty of holiness” is first of all the Lord’s (Psalm 29:2).  But by this grace it can also be yours.

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