By Larry Ray Hafley
The expression, “the beauty of holiness,” appears several times in the Bible (1 Chron. 16:29; 2 Chron. 20:21; Psa. 29:2). Though the meaning may not be the same, there is beauty in holiness. There is ugliness in unrighteousness.
Our world sees no evil in alluring apparel. Television advertisements are notorious for dressing up ungodliness and making it appear appealing. The liquor industry is especially adept at camouflaging the monster of alcohol and making it seem harmless and desirable. Sin does not cavort in nakedness. No, it wears a fine dress. Sin does not frown and snarl. Rather, it smiles and laughs and promises you joy and happiness. Sin does not mention tomorrow. It only thinks of today, of this moment. Sin does not regard consequences. It sees only the pleasure of the moment. Sin does not make its entrance with flashing lights and a siren. It comes in with candlelight and soft music. Sin does not shout and order you to act. It whispers and reassures. Sin does not introduce itself. It never tells you its real name. It gives you an alias. It wears a nickname. Drug addiction and alcoholic sins are merely “chemical dependency problems.” Whores are never, named; they simply had an affair.
The nature of sin could not be otherwise. Eve saw that the tree in the garden was good for food and pleasant to the eyes. She did not pause, reflect or think beyond the enticement. And that is the way of sin.
Joseph exemplified the beauty of holiness. Yes, he was tempted. But he regarded consequences. Strictly speaking, the consequences for doing right went against him on earth, but the beauty of holiness has blossoms that never fade in heaven (Gen. 39).
Moses is another in whom we may see the beauty of holiness. “By faith Moses, when he was come to years, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter; choosing rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season; esteeming the reproach of Christ greater riches than the treasures of Egypt: for he had respect unto the recompense of the reward. By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible” (Heb. 11:24-27).
There is pleasure in sin. Moses knew it. You and I know it. But Moses knew that the pleasures of sin are temporary. They cannot last. Sometimes, you and I do not recognize that fact. Moses considered the consequences, the reward. Again, from an earthly standpoint, Moses suffered. He rejected the pleasures and treasures of Egypt for the beauty of holiness. There is nothing that the world and the devil can give you that will not be taken from you the second you die. “Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompense of reward. For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise” (Heb. 10:35,36).
Sin and unrighteousness pay wages (Rom. 6:23; 2 Pet. 2:15). They have never missed a pay day. They always deliver. Of course, they do not pay off as expected. They offer sugar, but. you must eat ashes. They promise sighs of comfort, but they bring cries of pain. When one reaches for the soft bunny rabbit of temptation, he grabs the porcupine of sin.
The beauty of holiness is beneath the skin. It abides and resides within. “But though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day” (2 Cor. 4:16). Are the ornaments of your heart those of a meek and quiet spirit which, in the sight of God, are of great price? Or are you dressed in the filthy rags of ungodliness? Are you an old hag of unrighteousness or are you a picture of the beauty of holiness? Inquire within.
Guardian of Truth XXXI: 18, p. 557
September 17, 1987