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Positive Holiness, Part 2

I published the article “Positive Holiness” on a previous blog several months ago – and republished it today because of the conversation going on regarding John Piper’s use of an obscenity at a recent seminar. See for a complete discussion. It has prompted me to write anew about holiness, seeing that we still have a hard time embracing and understanding the idea.

I wrote this in my journal some time ago:

“Holiness is doing something beautiful as opposed to not doing something ugly.”

I chose the words beautiful and ugly purposefully because they are not usually used in conjunction with holy behavior, and yet I think that they are wholly appropriate, and challenging. We are much more attracted to behaving beautifully, which may be defined as the most good. Beautiful is related to a word much closer to holiness: beatific. Being holy, being a holder of beauty. I like that correlation, it is an inspirational definition.

This perspective also hits the core issue in successful Christian living. What God wants from us is not simply the absence of evil acts, not even that we stop wanting to do bad things. God wants us to love to do the beautiful thing, the holy thing, the right thing. With regard to our speech, that is also the goal. So many of us, self included, have seen it as a matter of Christian freedom to use an occasional “strong” term, that was ultimately ugly. I am striving now to have only things of beauty as my expression in life, to the glory of the Beautiful One.

Be beautiful.

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