Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord.
- Hebrews 12:9-14
“Really great moral teachers never do introduce new moralities: it is quacks and cranks who do that… The real job of every moral teacher is to keep on bringing us back, time after time, to the old simple principles which we are all so anxious not to see.”
- C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity
I marveled as I studied the bookshelves at the bookstore, back nearly forty years ago. They would have the latest business management book out at the impulse aisle. It promised “never before uttered” management concepts. After buying a couple of them, I realized that the concepts were the same old concepts, just with new names. For example, instead of being passionate, you were fervent. It seemed that business management authors were plagiarists with a thesaurus.
Of course, some used metaphors. When I first got out of the military, everyone talked of the management course that I never had the chance of taking, the jumping monkey course. The concept was that you got rid of the monkeys on your back. You could get the monkeys to jump down, sideways, or up. Jumping down monkeys meant that you delegated to people beneath you. Sideways jumping monkeys were accomplished by others at your level, since the two of you shared in the need for the task getting done. And you avoided upward jumping monkeys at all cost. That meant you delegated something to someone who could not get the job done and they gave it back. You screwed up by giving it to the wrong person, and they screwed up the task. Since I never took the course, I was taught the jumping monkey course in practical terms. I was the monkey at the bottom that got the work done. The boss knew I would never give him an upward jumping monkey.
Sounds idiotic, doesn’t it? But I am sure the guy who wrote that book made a tidy sum of money in saying something that is obvious to nearly everyone, but he said it in an absurd way.
But are the new books on morality and holiness similar? Have we gotten any new revelations regarding “being good little boys and girls?” Where did the revelation come from if there was one?
We have that inward sense that tells us that there are things that are “good” and there are things that are “bad.” It has to do with two things: God making us in His image and the knowledge gained by Adam and Eve eating a piece of fruit. It is in these ways that God communicates our lack of holiness, so that no one is truly blameless.
Thus, C. S. Lewis is correct in stating that if someone comes up with something that is truly “new” we should avoid it. God never changes, and God’s holiness never changes either.
One thing, among many, that continues to change is the secular world. As soon as the secular world’s lies are exposed, they change the wrapping paper. I read something the other day about the Cancel Culture. Since many leading celebrities and public figures signed an open letter and argued against the Cancel Culture’s suppression of free speech and their Nazi-esque means of simply removing people who disagree with them, the secular world has changed the “name.” They are no longer the Cancel Culture, even though they never called themselves that. They are the culture of correcting past wrongs. They have elevated their cause to a more pious level.
Do not believe the lies. The root of this “pious” movement is pure evil. Even if you do not wish to read another J. K. Rowling book, the Cancel Culture, by any name, promotes a total lack of forgiveness, and Jesus taught us that if we do not forgive, we will not be forgiven. The Cancel Culture, by any name, by the very essence of their tactics can never be forgiven. Those among the Cancel Culture can repent, but the Culture itself will be cast into the lake of fire.
Yet, when some great Biblical scholar writes a new book on holiness, and he or she uses the Bible as their guide, they can say the same thing that those inspired to write the Scriptures said, but in a new light, based on the new language of the day and the changes in this fallen world. In relating Biblical teachings to the fallen world, it exposes the lies and brings Hope.
While the Bible never changes, at least the inspired Word of God – since some entities, like China, are rewriting it for their own ends – and God never changes, having a new book on holiness as it combats the evil of the present age… Now that’s a great idea. Hearing the same things from a fresh point of view can be a soothing balm to a weary soul.
If you thought from the title that this was a book report on the “latest new book,” I apologize. But there will be book reports in the future. I am always looking for fresh ideas, a different way of looking at the same thing. I am NOT interested in looking at new revelations regarding holiness.
Holiness is becoming more like Jesus and desiring even more of Jesus in our lives. As the author of Hebrews stated, without holiness, we will never see Jesus.
Soli Deo Gloria. Only to God be the Glory.