BOOK REVIEW: Holier Than Thou: How God’s Holiness Helps Us Trust Him by Jackie Hill Perry

If God is holy, then he can’t sin. If God can’t sin, then he can’t sin against you. If he can’t sin against you, shouldn’t that make him the most trustworthy being there is?

Jackie Hill Perry

God’s holiness is essential to His nature. Hence, it is essential that Christians study and explore this attribute. Many times, we tend to focus on God’s love while forgetting the very fact that He is holy. His holiness is what makes him good, and loving, and kind, and trustworthy.

In “Holier Than Thou,” Jackie Hill Perry embarks on the difficult task of simplifying and breaking down the sanctity of God in a manner that even unbelievers can understand. Throughout the book, she debunks commonly held views regarding idols, calling believers to deter from directing their worship toward anything but their Creator.
Perry spends the first five chapters walking us through the scriptures to lay the foundation for holiness—as an attribute of God, as His moral perfection, as His transcendence—the implications for sinners, believers, and humanity if God were not holy. Then she follows that up with a chapter on the sanctification of believers—how we are expected to replicate that holiness.

The Gospel

One thing I found reassuring and spectacular about this book was that, while the main aim of the book was to remind us of God’s – how He should be seen as perfect in contrast to the fallen humanity we see all around us, Perry never used that to instill fear and despair. She never told her audience to give up, to pull themselves up by their own will, or to practice a “fake it till you make it” righteousness (a futile effort, anyway).
Instead, she points to the Gospel. There is always the promise of Christ’s redemptive work on the cross for Christians. His redemption in the midst of everything is our only hope.


The other strength of this book is the way that Perry uses two chapters to address the right response we should have to God’s holiness. Chapter one really stood out for me because she wrote about sanctification as the immediate work of the Spirit that occurs through the rebirth of an unbeliever.
That established, she then used the succeeding chapter to emphasize the transformation of the believer through believing in God, and thus becoming like Him as we follow His ways.

In her final chapter, she makes a solid conclusion based on 2 Corinthians 3:18—”And we all, with unveiled faces reflecting the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another.”
Building up on the verse, Perry explains how believers are to reflect the life and nature of Christ by focusing their gaze on Him alone, so that there will be no room left to worship any other worldly thing.
The premise of her last chapter convicted and convinced me that God truly is holier than we are; in His sanctity, God is the only one deserving of our worship. Worship is much more than the singing of songs, and through godly worship, believers will be transformed to truly behold God as holy, holy, holy.

Final Thoughts

The subject of God’s holiness is one that is worth reading on and I can say this book did justice to the topic.
If you’ve ever listened to Jackie Hill Perry speak, you will know that she’s very lyrical and poetic in the way she expresses herself. So I will say that Holier Than Thou was true to Perry’s voice, which might be difficult to read for some. However, if you love reading poetry or lyrical writing, Holier Than Thou is a great book recommendation.


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