Happy New Year! We have had an eventful holiday season-one that has kept me from the blog-as we welcomed our newest little Hutto to the family. Owen Kristopher Hutto was born on December 21st and is both healthy and beautiful. We are praising the Lord for his kindness to bless us with this most precious of gifts at Christmas time!
Today we begin a new year of The Book Club by diving into Kevin DeYoung‘s The Hole in Our Holiness. Throughout the month of January we will be reading and discussing DeYoung’s newest book which focuses on the relationship of the pursuit of personal holiness and the grace of God-through the gospel-which makes that pursuit possible. What an excellent way to begin the new year! I would love for you to join in.
Each week I will be posting discussion questions here at the blog and look forward to hearing your thoughts on the book and related topics. Simply leave your answers in the comments and be sure to check back to see what kind of feedback your comment receives from me and/or other participants! I look forward to working through this book together!
The aim of DeYoung’s book is to emphasize the importance of the gospel driven pursuit of holiness. In chapter one J.C. Ryle is quoted as saying:
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).
The point being made by Ryle-and of course DeYoung-is that Christ hasn’t just saved us from something (the penalty of our sin), but has saved us out of something as well (the bondage of our sin). Thus, it makes complete sense for us to push with all our might toward the goal of holiness–toward eradicating sin from our lives. Later in the same paragraph, DeYoung makes this conclusion: “Shouldn’t those most passionate about the gospel and God’s glory also be those most dedicated to the pursuit of godliness?” I would have to agree. It would be a great waste of the costly grace purchased by Christ on the cross to not purposefully work toward putting off the old sinful flesh and putting on the new Christlike nature.
One of my favorite quotes from the first couple chapters is this one found at the end of Chapter 2:
In all this it bears repeating that God is the one working in us, giving us the desire and ability to obey. We earn nothing. We are promised everything. But don’t be so scared of works-righteousness that you make pale what the Bible writes in bold colors. We are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8). And we were created in Christ Jesus for Good works (v. 10). Any gospel which purports to save people without also transforming them is inviting easy-believism. If you think being a Christian is nothing more than saying a prayer or joining a church, then you’ve confused real grace with cheap grace. Those who are justified will be sanctified.
Though, as passionate gospel-believing Christians, we never want to be found putting stock in our own abilities (what abilities do we have apart from Christ?) or trusting in our own works for salvation (which would be absolutely impossible!), we must acknowledge and firmly stand on the Biblical call to strive toward holiness. As the book of James confirms “faith apart from works is dead.”
Discussion Questions for Week One:
As you read this week, come back to this post and join in the conversation! Leave your thoughts in the comments!
1.) When you think of the concept of personal holiness, what thoughts come to mind? What is your definition of holiness and how do you think this book will challenge/encourage your view of your own pursuit of holiness?
2.) Share your favorite quotes with us. How were they helpful to you?
3.) Do you agree with DeYoung’s premise that while we must both rest fully in what Christ has accomplished for us while also actively pursuing holiness? Why or why not?
Can’t join in this month? Join us next month as we read Feminine Threads by Diana Lynn Severance.