Heb.12:14 – Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Every time I read this verse it gives me a good dose of the fear of God. You have to admit, this is a very strong statement and should cause each of us to stop and take notice. What is holiness? How is it connected to seeing the Lord? First of all holiness is the characteristic of God. He is perfect in every way, no flaw in His nature, and nothing impure can stand in His presence. One moment in His presence and you will join in with the angels singing; holy, holy, holy to the Lord. Paul has been pleading with the Hebrew church throughout the book of Hebrews to come near His to presence by faith in the blood of Jesus. The warning he gives in today’s verse is critical, our sins are washed away by faith in Christ but we dare not return to our unholy ways if we want to stand in God’s presence. Here is how Adam Clarke describes this verse.
“That state of continual sanctification, that life of purity and detachment from the world and all its lusts, without which detachment and sanctity no man shall see the Lord – shall never enjoy his presence in the world of blessedness. To see God, in the Hebrew phrase, is to enjoy him; and without holiness of heart and life this is impossible. No soul can be fit for heaven that has not suitable dispositions for the place.”
First of all, holiness means to be different and separated. We are called out of a sinful culture, washed clean from our sin, and are expected to walk separate from the culture of the world. We are no longer like the world, we are different and love and do different things. Our aim is to no longer to fit in and to be accepted by the world but to seek to be pleasing to the Lord. The fear of God delivers us from the fear of other people. When God is pleased with us it makes no difference to us what others think. What is the ultimate purpose of holiness? We are preparing to live in the presence of God. The way into His presence has been opened to us in this life through the blood of Jesus. Our blessed hope is that we will be with Him enjoying His presence for all eternity.