“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).
The holiness that the Hebrew writer speaks of is not the holiness that comes directly from the Lord. Notice how the writer calls us to “make every effort to live…and to be holy.” That is right, the holiness he speaks of is the choosing to live a holy life. Further investigation leads us to understand that holiness has three components to it. The first is that one is “set apart” from the common things of the world and made holy. There is a clear distinction between that which has been set apart unto the Lord and the rest of the world. The second component of holiness has to do with being “pure,” clean, unmixed and pure of heart. The third component of holiness has to do with “service”. Service is one’s life offered as a living spiritual sacrifice to perform acts of kindness and service, good deeds, works of ministry to God and man, especially within and to the body of Christ, his church.
Without holiness, without our lives being set aside from the profane, the common, the world; without our lives being pure and clean lives, without our lives being offered up to God as a living sacrifice wherein we serve God and man through humble acts of kindness and service that reflect the spirit of Christ, there is no hope of living in peace with men or of seeing Jesus when he returns to take his people home.
How has God set you apart from the world? Speak with a friend about how God has set you apart in order that you may discern this. How are you doing at living a pure life? Confess to a most trusted friend how you struggle, have them pray with you, allowing them share in the victory as through Christ you overcome weakness and sin. God is making you into a testimony of his power and love. What humble service are you rendering in love and kindness to those around you in the church, family, work and community? In other words, how are you through a labor of love being Christ to the world? How are you being a living sacrifice that strengthens the saints and draws lost souls to Jesus?
The promise is that if we learn these principles, along with the rest of Jesus’ teachings, we will have a greater measure of peace among men, and the hope of seeing Jesus in heaven. God said, “Be holy, for I am holy.”
Sharing in the holy life,