Pursue Peace and Holiness
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no-one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 NIV)
In our earthly life we are going to have conflict coming against us. We must therefore look for peaceful solutions, but not at the expense of holiness.
In verse 14, there are three main points we need to consider:
1. Peace is something to be pursued:
We must make every effort to walk in peace with all men, especially our Christian brothers and sisters.
Peace, in this verse, is not talking about the opposite to war, but is in fact talking about the opposite to strife, division or misunderstanding among Christians. Don’t just look for peace, pursue it. As it says in Psalm 133, “Behold, how good and pleasant it is for the brethren to dwell together in unity!”
The importance in pursuing peace is essential to spiritual growth and development in our Christian calling, and to the enjoyment of the divine presence. Discord quenches the Holy Spirit in our lives and is fatal to our personal growth in grace, edification, and successful evangelization of the lost.
Romans 14:19 says, “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.’ (NKJ)
We must not sacrifice anything which is essential to holiness. So follow peace, but not at the expense of our Christian principles and holiness.
2. Holiness is something to be pursued:
We are to follow after holiness. So what is holiness? It is the attributes, the qualities, the characteristics, which bring us closer to divine wisdom, power and purity that come from our heavenly Father. Holiness can only be obtained by repentance from the old sinful life; it is the love and grace of God.
How do we pursue holiness? We cannot pursue holiness by our own efforts, but by accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. How do sincere Christians seek holiness? By keeping our spiritual nature open to divine guidance and instruction. We must allow Jesus to live, work and reign within us. We need to walk in a conscious and deliberate example of Jesus and follow His steps, which include total obedience of His divine will. Pursuit of holiness must be continuous and not half-hearted.
We should be zealous in our pursuit of peace and holiness. The word zealous means: to pursue rapidly, to follow eagerly, and to earnestly endeavor to acquire. Half-hearted efforts are worthless. So let us eagerly pursue peace and holiness with great enthusiasm because of their significant importance.
3. Holiness is a qualification for heaven:
Heaven is the place of the Supreme manifestation of God. Holiness is an essential qualification for the perception of this manifestation.
“Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” (Matthew 5:8 NKJ)
The pure heart is where the vision of God becomes attainable by us. A person is not going to see the beauty and glory of heaven without holiness.
God cannot change His nature, He will always be holy and because of God’s holiness, no one who is unholy can enter heaven.
Therefore, let us follow after peace with all men, and Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
Surely, the very holiness of God that puts into us desires to be holy, is a guarantee to us that He will help us to be holy. He that makes us long for purity will work in us. (Charles Spurgeon)