Hebrews 12:14 “Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.”
Wow! Sometimes it is hard to follow peace with all men. And even scarier to follow after holiness. Then the real scary part: which no man shall see the Lord.
Trying to be at peace with everyone is hard enough, but living a life of holiness? And if I don’t, I will not see the Lord?
What about the grace of God? I thought grace was getting something I did not deserve. Or how about holiness? If I don’t live a life of holiness, I won’t see the Lord?
What about the mercy of God? According to Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God”. Therefore it is inevitable I am not going to be able to follow peace with all men or live a life in total holiness.
Romans 3:20 “Therefore by the deeds of the Law there shall no flesh be justified in His sight.” So even if I am able to follow peace with all men and live a life in total holiness, I cannot earn favor with God or my own salvation.
So now are you totally confused? Maybe if we look at some other translations of this scripture, we can better understand what Paul is saying to the Hebrews.
Hebrews 12:14 (AMP) “STRIVE to live in peace with everybody and PURSUE that consecration and holiness without which no one will ever see the Lord.”
To strive means to make great effort and to try very hard. This sounds more like doing everything you can; make a great effort and try very hard to be at peace with everyone. This is about having the mindset and proper motive to try and be at peace with everyone. However it sounds like even though we are trying very hard and making a great effort, it will not always be accomplished. Therein lies the grace and mercy of God when we fail.
Hebrews 12:14 (MSG) “Work at getting along with each other and with God…”
Here again it is the effort and the intention to be at peace with everyone. But notice it says you need to work at it. Sometimes we are going to fail. Thank God for His mercy and His grace when we fail.
It is the same when it comes to holiness. We are to strive at and work at being holy in our speech, our thinking and our actions. It is one thing to not even try. I believe these are those who will not see the Lord.
But to those who strive, make every effort, work hard at it and pursue with all their might, at holiness will see the Lord. It is one thing to not even try. I question their love of God and their desire to obey His word. But there are others who work at it; make every effort and purse to the best of their ability to walk in holiness.
God knows our weaknesses. He knows our inabilities. But He knows those who are at least trying to follow after peace with all men. He knows those who are trying; working hard; and making every effort to walk in holiness.
Yes we will fail sometimes but we are willing to make the effort to obey God. The good news is that we also have the Holy Spirit to help us follow after peace and holiness.
The key here is to strive; make every effort and work at it. When we fail we know that our Father God is quick to forgive. We have faith and trust in His mercy and His grace.
Proverbs 24:16 “For a just man falleth seven times and riseth up again…”
So when you fail to be at peace with some people; when you fail to sometimes live a life that is holy in the sight of God, get back up and try again.
Be at peace with God. He loves you and knows you will sometimes fail. With diligence and with the help of the Holy Spirit, next time you will succeed.
Failing is not failure. Giving up and losing your faith and trust in God’s mercy and grace is failure. Get back up for tomorrow is another day.
- Pastor Jim