The Hole in Our Holiness: A Review in Quotes
Written by: Dan Stump
This is a book review of The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness, by Kevin DeYoung
Kevin DeYoung is one of my favorite authors. He is the type of guy who can put to words what I have in my head, only he says it much better than I ever could. His 2012 book The Hole in our Holiness is one that challenged me and that I heartily recommend. I would encourage you to pick it up yourself, or gift it to someone this Christmas.
In the book, DeYoung contends that the hole in our holiness is that we don’t really care about it. We don’t give holiness much thought. We are content to cruise through the Christian life, and while we try to avoid the really big sins, holiness isn’t much of a concern.
Rather than a traditional book review/summary, I thought I would instead share a bunch of my favorite quotes from the book. I’m the underlining type of person when I read. One of my favorite things is to go back and re-digest an old book by reading what I underlined.
Here is a sampling of some favorite quotes from the book:
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.
On the last day, God will not acquit us because our good works were good enough, but he will look for evidence that our good confession was not phony.
Worldliness is whatever makes sin look normal and righteousness look strange.
Many Christians have the mistaken notion that if only we were better Christians, everyone would appreciate us. They don’t realize that holiness comes with a cost.
It sounds really spiritual to say that God is interested in relationship, not in rules. But it’s not biblical. From top to bottom the Bible is full of commands. They aren’t meant to stifle a relationship with God, but to protect it, seal it and define it…Just like if you love your wife, you’ll keep your vow to be faithful to her as long as you both shall live. The demand for sexual fidelity does not pervert the marriage relationship; it promotes and demonstrates it. In the same way, God’s commands are given as a means of grace so that we might grow in godliness and show that we love him.
The right way to go is also the best way to go. When God gives us commands, he means to help us run the race to completion, not to slow us down.
Some Christians make the mistake of pitting love against law, as if the two are mutually exclusive. You either have a religion of love or a religion of law. But such an equation is profoundly unbiblical. For starters, “love” is a command of the law (Deut. 6:5; Lev. 19:18; Matt. 22:36-40). If you enjoin people to love, you are giving them law. Conversely, if you tell them law doesn’t matter, then neither does love, which is the summary of the law.
There is no abiding in Christ’s love apart from keeping Christ’s commandments (John 15:10). Which means there is no fullness of joy apart from the pursuit of holiness (v. 11).
“No one can attain any degree of holiness without God working in his life,” Jerry Bridges writes, “but just as surely, no one will attain it without effort on his own part. God has made it possible for us to walk in holiness. But he has given us the responsibility of doing the walking.”
Sanctification is not by surrender, but by divinely enabled toil and effort.
Our first love is Jesus. Holiness is not ultimately about living up to a moral standard. It’s about living in Christ and living out our real, vital union with him.
God doesn’t say, “Relax, you were born this way.” But he does say, “Good news, you were reborn another way.”
Do not strive after holiness because you cower in dread of God. Strive after holiness because you are confident you already belong to God.
I’ve never heard a Christian couple regret all they didn’t do before they were married.
Ironically, if you say “I can’t forgive myself,” it’s probably a sign of worldly grief—either unbelief in God’s promises and the sufficiency of Christ’s work on the cross, or regret that is merely focused on your loss of esteem and your loss of opportunities.
There is an eternal difference between regret and repentance. Regret feels bad about past sins. Repentance turns away from past sins. Regret looks to our own circumstances. Repentance looks to God. Most of us are content with regret. We just want to feel bad for a while, have a good cry, enjoy the cathartic experience, bewail our sin, and talk about how sorry we are. But we don’t want to change. We don’t want to deal with God.