In the third chapter of The Hole in Our Holiness, Kevin DeYoung looks at the pattern of piety found in Scripture. It is not enough to know we are called to holiness, but we also need to know what it looks like, and doesn’t look like.
Holiness means separation. That is the bottom line. God sets us apart from the rest of humanity in two ways. First, we are definitively set apart at justification. We are set apart as Gods’ people. So, every Christian is sanctified. But God continues to set us apart from the world morally. This is progressive sanctification. You don’t have one without the other. Both of these are a result of grace.. The first is an act of grace (one time event) and the second is a work of grace (a process) according to the Westminster Confession of Faith.
What Holiness is Not
It is not rule keeping. Holiness certainly includes obedience. People often get off course by thinking about non-biblical rules. We are set apart for God. We are to obey his law. Jesus was not too keen on the Pharisees for neglecting God’s law from man-made traditions. It is not about dancing, whether or not you drink a beer with dinner, or have the occasional cuss word slip out when you smash your thumb with a hammer. It is about gentleness, not getting drunk, and having lips used to edify and express gratitude.
“Holiness is more than middle class values. … checklist spirituality is highly selective.”
It is not generational imitation. Some people think it is having the standards and practices of an earlier generation. It could be the 1950′s in Amercia, Calvin’s Geneva or the Puritan’s England. This is what got the Amish in trouble. DeYoung notes that the 50′s may have had a better standards of sexual decency. But when it came to race relations, not so good. Just an example. We are trying to apply the timeless law in our time, not recreate another time.