Pursue peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord:Hebrews 12:14(Darby)
Following a beautiful chapter on faith, which reminds us of our privileged position in Christ and the glories that are yet to be realised in Him, Hebrews 12 exhorts the Church to maintain our hope in Christ - the Author and Finisher of our faith.
We are reminded that this world is not our home and as sojourners in a foreign land, we will have to undergo the same sort of hostility the Lord Jesus endured, from sinners who opposed Him. But as God's blood-bought children, we are beloved of the Father Who disciplines those He loves... so that we will be trained through the sufferings of this world and afterwards enjoy the peaceful fruit of righteousness.
How important that our faith does not fail and that we stand firm in this evil day. How important that we strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble. How necessary to hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering and to pursue peace and holiness, for our God and Saviour Whose promises are faithful and true.
Peace and holiness are to be our spiritual condition as well as our spiritual position. As His children we are already at peace with God because He forgave us our sins by grace through faith. But we are also to make every effort to maintain the inner peace of God that surpasses human understanding - by maintaining a mind that is stayed in Him.
Jesus said, "Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Let not your heart be troubled or fearful." It is as we turn the eyes of our heart upon Jesus and fix the thoughts of our minds on Him that His peace, like a river, will flood our heart, and His holiness will become a practical reality in the life that is consecrated to Him.
Because we are His children, by faith, we have been permanently positioned in-Christ, which has given us peace with God, the forgiveness of sins, and life everlasting. But now that we have been saved by grace through faith in Him, we are to strive to live in peace with all people and to pursue godly consecration and holiness of heart - without which we are told, no one will ever see the Lord.
We are called to be holy and set apart unto Him... for God is holy, but this cannot be achieved by our own efforts. We are commanded to be holy and consecrated unto the Lord in body, soul, and spirit, but we can't do this in our own strength. We are instructed to be holy in all our words and in all our ways – we are directed to be holy and blameless in His sight, and to pursue after peace and holiness - in love. It is only through the empowering of the Holy Spirit that we can, "Pursue peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord."
There are many perils and dangers for the one that fails to pursue peace and rejects Christ's call to holiness. Unless we are saved by faith, we cannot have peace with God and unless we are walking in spirit and truth, we will not know the peace of God. When we choose to walk in fleshly disobedience and carnal disbelief, when we take hold the privileges of the New Covenant in contempt, or when we fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, the consequences of sin will result in irrevocable loss, 'saved - yet as though by fire'.
We are holy unto the Lord because we are set aside by God and positioned in heavenly places in Christ... and we are to be holy because the Lord our God is Holy. We are to be holy by setting ourselves apart for Him, as a living sacrifice, "holy and acceptable unto the Lord," surrendering to Him in every corner of our lives and every attitude of our being – surrendered to Him for His praise and glory – through time and into eternity.
Father, thank You that I have been redeemed, sanctified, and set apart by You because I am Your blood-bought child. My dear desire is that my life is truly holy and set apart for You, in thought, word, and deed. I have so often spotted my garments by pursuing things other than Your perfect peace, Your holy purity, and Your godly will for my life. Help me to keep the eyes of my heart fixed on Jesus and I pray that the life that I now live in this body may reflect my heavenly position in Christ - in Whose name I pray, AMEN.