Thinking about God’s holiness — and mine

This week, in preparation for Sunday, I’ve been thinking about the holiness of God.

And that lead me to peruse (I didn’t have time to re-read the entire book) my favorite book on that topic, The Holiness of God by R. C. Sproul.

And I again came across my favorite statement about what holiness looks like in my life, and how it should be defined —

When piety is defined exclusively in terms of externals the whole point of the teaching of the apostles has been lost.  Somehow we have failed to hear the words of Jesus that it is not what goes into a man’s mouth that defiles a man but what comes out of his mouth.  We still want to make the kingdom a matter of eating and drinking.

Why are such distortions rampant in Christian circles?  The only answer I can give is sin.  Our marks of piety can actually be evidences of impiety.  When we major in minors and blow insignificant trifles out of proportion, we imitate the Pharisees.  When we make dancing and movies the test of spirituality, we are guilty of substituting a cheap morality for a genuine one.  We do these things to obscure the deeper issues of righteousness.  Anyone can avoid dancing or going to movies.  These require no great effort of moral courage.  What is difficult is to control the tongue, to act with integrity, to show forth the fruit of the Spirit.

…A true non-conformist is a person who stops coveting; he stops gossiping; he stops slandering; he stops hating and feeling bitter; he starts to practice the fruit of the Spirit.

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Sproul (along with others) spoke on this topic at the 2007 Bethlehem Conference for Pastors.  His three messages are worth listening to or reading; I’d start with the first one, “The Holiness of God.”

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