It’s not often that I come across a book that would be classified as “Christian Living” that takes my breath away. Kevin DeYoung’s latest book, The Hole in Our Holiness: Filling the Gap between Gospel Passion and the Pursuit of Godliness, is definitely one of those books. The Hole in Our Holiness is captivating, convicting, and encouraging at the same time. And when John Piper described this book as “ruthlessly Biblical,” he wasn’t kidding.
I was first introduced to Kevin DeYoung through his blog with The Gospel Coalition. I have come to know DeYoung to be someone I can rely on for solid Biblical truth, challenging insights into Scripture, a convicting message, and an encouraging tone in his blogs. I am very pleased to say that his latest book proved to be all of those things.
The Hole in Our Holiness is not only filled with Scripture, but its message is communicated in a personal, winsome manner that left me wanting more at the end of each chapter. DeYoung says that the “hole” in our holiness is that “we really don’t care much about it,” and, from the rest of the content of the book, I also believe he says the counterpart to that, or part of the reason behind it, is that we don’t understand what holiness is. We think it’s something that is fine for monks, priests, pastors, and people who like making life “harder than it has to be” by following an overly strict sense of rules. But that’s not what holiness is. Yes, obeying Christ’s commands is part of it, but holiness is so much more than that as well.
DeYoung explores and explains what holiness is, and why we should care, by starting at the beginning of the Christian life: redemption. There is a reason for redemption, and it isn’t just so that we can get fire insurance and go on about our sin-filled lives. True, we may not say that with our lips, but how many of us scream that with our lives? He discusses what piety looks like, and the difference between Gospel imperatives (what we should do) and Gospel indicatives (what Christ has already done for us) and how the indicatives must be the foundation and fuel for our working out the imperatives in our lives through grace-driven effort.
What I especially love is that DeYoung makes the important connection between personal holiness and our union and communion with Christ. Then once he establishes the foundation, he doesn’t just leave us with an answer to “what is holiness?” but also gives us some practical ways to pursue holiness, therefore pursuing God Himself.
The Hole in Our Holiness is a hands-down must-read for those who are serious, or want to be serious, about reflecting the image of Christ. It will also serve well those who feel far from God, as it may help to reveal some areas in our lives where we have become apathetic about holiness, or it may simply serve as a reminder of what God has done and what we are called and commanded to do, and stir your affections for Christ once more.