Walking Away from Holy
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts; the whole earth is full of his glory!” (Isaiah 6:3)
The holiness of God needs to be at the center of how you make sense of life. Whether you are a homemaker, executive, pastor, plumber, farmer, designer, or professor, it is impossible to understand anything in your life correctly without the doctrine of the holiness of God.
But here’s the problem: the culture around us, along with the systems and institutions of that culture, has abandoned the category of holiness.
When was the last time you heard a politician, educator, social media influencer, cultural critic, athlete, or entertainment icon use this category of holiness? Much of what you read, hear, watch, and interact with as a citizen in this present world will not discuss or consider holiness.
As a culture, we have philosophically walked away from holy. For many, holy doesn’t exist, or even if it does, in the practical scheme of things, holy simply doesn’t matter.
Holy doesn’t factor into our evaluation of success. Holy is not seen as a framework to shape marriage and guide parenting. Holy never is discussed when people plan their careers or futures.
If it is ever talked about, holy is viewed as a dusty, historical, religious concept held on to by a shrinking minority. Yet, all the while, our culture demands justice, equality, peace, and love. But here’s the rub: none of those can exist without holiness!
It’s not just secular culture that has abandoned this truth. Within the Church, the more and more the culture influences us, the less holy will have any practical, functional purpose in your life.
It’s happening without us even realizing it. Hopefully, these last few weeks of devotionals have helped to spark a conversation or reignite an awareness of holy, but be honest: when was the last time the doctrine of the holiness of God changed the way you made decisions in your everyday life?
It is very possible for devout followers of Christ to genuinely believe in the doctrine of the holiness of God, yet in our daily life, we practice “holy-less” living.
Take just four areas of your life, for instance (and there are many more):
1. We can intellectually assent to this doctrine while functionally ignoring that holiness is what keeps our sexuality safe and pure in the context of our marriage.
2. It is very possible for us to sing about the holiness of God in church, yet on the drive home, we neglect to represent this Holy One with our words and actions to our children.
3. We can embrace this truth in our mind while still being cold in heart, lacking compassion and passion for evangelism with most of the people we encounter who know nothing about the glory of this Holy One.
4. We can publicly profess the theology of God’s holiness while in private, we cheat, steal, lie, or fudge the numbers with our finances, taxes, business reports, or résumés in an effort to selfishly get ahead.
Is the doctrine of the holiness of God a truth that is a shaping influence on everything in your life? Or, have you, without even realizing it, walked away from holy?
Paul David Tripp
1. What are the major topics of conversation in the public forum of your culture? How confident do you feel speaking into these issues from a biblical worldview? What can you do to become a more effective evangelist and better apologist for the gospel in your culture?
2. When did you last take significant time and energy to meditate and reflect on holiness? How, if at all, does holiness fit into the framework of your daily life? What can you do better?
3. Consider two areas of your life from this list: marriage, parenting, career, sexuality, finances, or relationships (non-family). How does the concept of holy have the ability to radically change this aspect of your daily life? Be specific.
4. What practical steps can you take to not only become better educated in the doctrine of the holiness of God, but then implement holiness in your thoughts, desires, words, and actions?