Owen Strachan on Holiness

One of the professors at Boyce and one of my fellow students at SBTS, Owen Strachan, recently answered a question for Kevin DeYoung . The question is in regards to younger believers in the evangelical church and how they lack pursuing holiness. I found his answer rather challenging and I hope it does the same for you.

It seems like younger evangelicals are not as passionate about sanctification as previous generations. What do we need to do get young Christians to see the importance of growth in godliness?

For many younger evangelicals today, cultural literacy matters more than biblical fluency. Previous generations stepped away from the world; ours has plunged into it. Some believers of the recent past knew too little about the world around them; too many today know too much about it. We know a great deal about NBC’s Office, and not enough about the Levitical office. The first cause of this sorry situation is, ironically, the first cause of past evangelical woes: our God is too small.

We do not care much about sanctification because we do not care much about God. That sounds a little tough, but I think it’s true. If our conception of God fit the Bible’s, then we would find ourselves drawn to the Word and its way of life both from a sense of reverential necessity and devotional delight. In a world in which we possess so much at our fingertips–instant athletic excitement, sizzling sexual temptation, limitless possibilities to Tweet, update, iChat, and blog about ourselves–we struggle to remember that “the Lord our God is holy” and thus worthy of our joyful devotion (Psalm 99:9).

If from biblical study we comprehend the glory and grandeur and holiness of God, then we will naturally understand the need to humble ourselves before this Lord and seek through the power of the Spirit to kill the flesh in the name of Christ our Savior. The greatest need before us is not so much to isolate the various sins that we can spot, but to open our eyes to the “weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17) borne by God. Doing so will steal our breath away, even as it will drive us to, as Jonathan Edwards said, “remanate” that same glory by the pursuit of holiness.


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