Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God… (Hebrews 12:14-15a);
CHARACTERISTICS OF SALVATION - The above verses are short with extremely long roots. A little time spent on this theme may not be the most wasted time in your day.
THESE VERSES HAVE BEEN QUOTED TO ME MANY TIMES IN FIFTY YEARS by men who have been taught they had to live holy enough to be saved. At that point they turned away from any hope of ever being saved because they knew they could not live holy enough to be saved by it.
AFTER SEVEAL YEARS OF THIS, I began studying these verses and other related verses with new interest. I believe the Bible teaches when one repents of sin and the old direction of living and turns by faith toward the Christ’s death on the cross as complete payment for all their sin, something vital happens to that person inside. There is a new birth and a new nature!
A NEW CHARACTERISTIC SETTLES IN UPON THAT PERSON that finds them following after peace with all men and following after holiness. The key words are: “follow after.” Not having achieved perfection, but “following after,” in the direction of peace and holiness.
The new birth from God involves a radical change in the life of a repenting soul. They do not become perfect, but they do become endowed with a new nature from God. It cannot be copied or mimicked any more than the sap of a peach tree can be produced by tying peaches onto a tree.
WE SHOULD MAKE SURE THAT THE NEW BIRTH HAS TAKEN PLACE that has produced the change of following after peace with men and following after holiness. A nature toward peace and holiness are two characteristics of the new birth and this endures for life. This nature is not so strong that it asserts itself and forces a person to yield to that nature. It is an underlying nature that is present and can be followed. A backsliding Christian will be suppressing that nature, but the nature is still there.
THE BIBLE GIVES SEVERAL CHARACTERISTICS THAT ARE TRUE OF EVERYONE WHO IS SAVED. This is one of them. Others include accepting Christ with the humble faith of a child and embracing Christ so that you are not ashamed of Him. There are others that are too lengthy for the space we have here. (DC). Again, I have chosen the comments by Barnes as the best on these verses.
"FOLLOW PEACE WITH ALL MEN - Do not give indulgence to …passions of strifes, see Romans 14:19. The apostle is referring to the trials which those whom he addressed were experiencing. Those trials seem to have arisen mainly from persecution, and he exhorts them to manifest a spirit of kindness toward all. This is the temper of the gospel. We are to make war with sin, but not with people; with bad passions and corrupt desires, but not with our fellow-men.
“AND HOLINESS - INSTEAD OF YIELDING TO CONTENDING PASSIONS and to a spirit of war; instead of seeking revenge on your persecutors and foes, make it rather your aim to be holy. Let that be the object of your pursuit, the great purpose of your life. Men might in such cases counsel them to seek revenge; the spirit of religion would counsel them to strive to be holy.
“WITHOUT WHICH NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD -- That is, shall see him in peace; or shall so see him as to dwell with him. All will see him in the day of judgment, but to “see” one is often used in the sense of being with one; dwelling with one; enjoying one; see Matthew 5:8. The principle here stated is one which is never departed from; Revelation 21:27; Isaiah 35:8; Isaiah 52:1; Isaiah 60:21; Joel 3:17; Matthew 13:41; 1Corinthians 6:9-10.
NO ONE HAS EVER BEEN ADMITTED TO HEAVEN IN HIS SINS; nor is it desirable that anyone ever should be. Desirable as it is that lost people should be happy, yet it is benevolence which excludes the profane, the impious, and the unbelieving from heaven - just as it is benevolence to a family to exclude profligates and seducers, and as it is benevolence to a community to confine thieves and robbers in prison. This great principle in the divine administration will always be adhered to; and hence, they who are expecting to be saved without holiness or religion, are destined to certain disappointment.
HEAVEN AND EARTH WILL PASS AWAY, but God will not admit one unrepenting and unpardoned sinner to heaven. It was the importance and the certainty of this principle which made the apostle insist on it here with so much earnestness. Amidst all their trials; when exposed to persecution; and when everything might tempt them to the indulgence of feelings which were the opposite of holiness, they were to make it their great object to be like God. (Barnes-Abbreviated). (Note: The use of “religion” by Barnes indicates a genuine Christian condition and not a mere outward profession.)Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 3, 2019 – FRIDAY
A.M. 1Kings 6-7 P.M. Luke 23:27-38
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Good Verse to Memorize:
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. (Colossians 3:16)
Song for Today:
Follow, Follow, I would follow Jesus (2:16) (Robert Lowry)
(Wait a few seconds for it to come on.)