One of the highest-selling movies this past weekend was “Sin City.” This is just another indication that Americans, like all other human beings, are utterly depraved. Past generations were restrained enough to cloak wretched hearts with polite public morality. But that takes work — moralism always takes work. And our generation is not very interested in work, morality, politeness, or even public decency (all of which cannot merit favor with God anyway).
The current trend is essentially bad and effectually good. It is essentially bad because all sin is heinous and is an unthinkable offense before a jealously righteous God. But it can be effectually good because if the few true believers in America today will be radically holy, the separation which is of the essence of holiness will grow clearer than ever. I do not ever want godlessness to reign. Ever. But when godlessness does reign, one effect is that extreme Godwardness has a greater opportunity to shine. The blacker the black, the whiter the white.
The faster Americans stagger towards “Sin City,” the more different our hard but joyful hike towards the Celestial City will appear. In these days when the broad road is proving just how broad it is, the narrow road will get more narrow. And while I am appalled, angry, and saddened at the rush towards “Sin City,” I am eager to see what God may yet do as He teaches us to walk worthy of our calling. Because the worthiness of our calling is most evident when the worthlessness of every other calling is made manifest.
It is my prayer and the earnest desire of my heart that we might not respond to “Sin City” by congratulating ourselves that we are not that bad, but that instead, we might bemoan our own lack of holiness, call upon God with sincerity to purify us, and make practical decisions to be more set apart today than we were yesterday. My dad once told me that every great man of the faith makes a conscious decision at some point in his life to be set apart. This is not necessarily legalism (although it could be). This is God-besotted, Christ-centered, Spirit-controlled resolution. It is self-denying commitment. It is spiritual determination.
For the honor of God’s name, decide today to be holy. It will not be a one-time decision. It will be a moment-by-moment decision. But there are times in life to summon up a spiritually violent tenacity that says, “God help me, I will be holy.” This is one of those times. So gird yourselves, brothers and sisters. This is not for the faint of heart. The battle will be fierce and the cost will be unimaginably high (which is what so often keeps us from radical obedience). But the reward is infinite and eternal and blessed. For the honor of God’s name, decide today to be holy.