Date Published: August 17, 2021
Holier Than Thou
Book Author: Jackie Hill Perry
Summary reviewed by:
Bachelor of Arts (BA), University Of California, Santa Barbara 2019
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Holier Than Thou:
Are you ready to trust the most trustworthy being in existence? The answer lies in understanding His divine holiness." In her book, "Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him", Jackie Hill Perry, acclaimed author, poet, Bible teacher, and artist, takes us on a journey to understand what the reality of God’s holiness means for our daily lives.
The book is a guided exploration of God's holiness. Jackie redefines our understanding of the term "holy" and brings to light its true essence, which is good news for everyone. Jackie emphasizes that God is different, He is holy, and this very attribute of His is what makes Him trustworthy.
The book unfolds with a fresh perspective on God’s holiness, not as a daunting character trait but as a testament to His trustworthiness. Perry argues that our tendency towards sin and unbelief is rooted in our lack of trust in God’s holiness.
Across seven chapters, Perry illuminates various aspects of God's holiness, showing how it can act as a catalyst for a more profound relationship with the sovereign Creator of the world. She covers a broad spectrum of topics, including idolatry, holy justice, and our inherent need for a morally perfect God.
Perry consistently underscores the importance of distinguishing God from ourselves, challenging us to acknowledge that God is God, and therefore worthy of our worship, time, and attention. She posits that if we truly believe God is who He says He is, we are left with one choice: worship.
The latter part of the book delves into how God’s holiness alters perceptions of idolatry, justice, and what it means to behold God, leading to transformative trust in Him. Perry lays out the foundation of why people sin, attributing it to a fundamental distrust in God, before moving on to discuss how holiness impacts our relationships, social media usage, and pursuit of justice in today's world.
The narrative remains closely tied to biblical scripture throughout, weaving in anecdotes, humor, and a solemn emphasis on God's grace. It serves as a reminder of the divine love and righteousness displayed on the cross, and how this allows us to strive towards becoming more like Christ.
Holier Than Thou:
Holier Than Thou:
God’s Holiness: This is the central theme of the book. Perry explores the concept of holiness and how it is integral to understanding God’s character. God’s holiness, according to Perry, is an assurance that everything He does and says is good.
Trust in God: Perry establishes a correlation between understanding God’s holiness and our trust in Him. Our lack of trust is a result of misunderstanding His holiness.
God’s Trustworthiness: The inherent trustworthiness of God is a recurring theme. Perry posits that God’s holiness makes Him the most trustworthy being.
Sin and Idolatry: Perry delves into the reasons people sin and the role of idolatry in our lives. She ties this back to a fundamental distrust in God and a disbelief in who He is.
Worship: The theme of worship is constant throughout the book, with Perry suggesting that if we truly believe in God’s holiness, our response should be worship1. Authentic worship, as Perry describes, emerges from a heart that trusts in God’s holiness and faithfulness, which should then naturally lead to a life of worship.
Forgiveness: Perry discusses the theme of forgiveness, both God’s forgiveness of our sins and our need to forgive others. The author asserts that understanding God’s holiness gives us a profound realization of our sinfulness, leading us to seek His forgiveness. Simultaneously, it helps us to extend the same grace to others.
Repentance and Transformation: The book underscores the theme of repentance, transformation, and renewal of the mind. Perry believes that recognizing God’s holiness should lead us to a place of humility and repentance. This transformation allows us to reflect more accurately God’s image in our lives.
Love and Grace: Perry emphasizes the role of God’s love and grace as expressions of His holiness. She advocates that, despite human sinfulness, God’s holy love and grace remains steadfast and unchanging, enabling us to draw closer to Him despite our shortcomings.
Fear of God: Lastly, Perry unpacks the theme of the ‘fear of God,’ often misunderstood in contemporary culture. In light of God’s holiness, this fear is not about terror or dread but a reverent awe and respect for His unblemished character.