It strikes me that holiness is something you almost never hear anything about in church anymore.
It saddens me more than I can possibly express - not because I am fan per se of judgment, but that it (to my mind anyway) demeans the nature of God. Suddenly God is much more concerned with other things - social justice, environmentalism, _____ rights. These, we are told, are what the gospel is really about. Sin is at at best alluded to, at worst not mentioned at all. We are "saved", but from some nameless thing we cannot verbalize.
Mind you, I understand the root of the complaint. Holiness as it has been interpreted by lots of periods of time has simply become a list of things that a person should not do, sometimes without any root in Scripture. Yet holiness, we are told, is a command of God - "Be ye holy, as I am holy" (Leviticus 11:44, 1 Peter 1:15). It is a thing that we are told without which we will not see God.
But think about it: holiness was valued by the prophets, valued by the apostles, valued by Christ himself (see Matthew chapters 5-7 to get a glimpse of what Christ said holiness looks like). And yet the modern church, for the most part, seems to have turned its eyes away for the clear commands of God in the matter for other things.
Just plug in your favorite cause - "Be ye Diverse, for I am diverse; be ye environmentally friendly, as I am environmentally friendly". Oddly enough, you will not find those verses in Scripture (although it is fair to say they are discussed or implied. But holiness is commanded.
I have to ask myself: where is the cry for holiness from the church? Where are the models of holiness in her ranks? Where are the people - not saints of far away lands and times but those that live near us - that we can look to as role models of holiness?
Holiness, said one preacher, is "to think as God thinks and will as God wills." Do we true aspire to think as God thinks? Or do we think as we would like to think that God thinks, sprinkled with our own flavor of interpretation.
Every successful religious movement of the Old and New Testament, even to our day, had holiness its root. Where is the cry to discover that root in our own churches today?
Social movements and trends will fail us. Feelings will be betrayed, relationships will be broken. Only holiness has the enduring power of God in it to sustain us when the going get rough.
Where are the cries for holiness today?