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… (Heb 12:14-15a);
(NOTE: This is an edited piece I posted 3-4 years ago under Good Mornng! and later in Morning Minute. It touches the tangible proof by which we may judge ourselves, if we be in the faith. Some are struggling in their journey of faith and this may help them estimate where they are. What they are looking for is “Assurance of Salvation.”
Some saved people struggle for years for assurance of salvation. John Bunyan, who wrote Pilgrim’s Progress struggled for years with this problem. I have done ongoing counseling with people over a period of years who labored in the assurance of their salvation. Once the light is turned on, they seem to have it for a life time.
I never doubted my salvation from the moment I was saved October 1943 at the age of nine. But everyone who is saved is not granted that kind of assurance. At the root of it is whether we depend on feeling instead of faith in the Word of God. One day they feel saved and the next day they feel lost. It is beyond them to lay hold of the Word of God and rest completely upon it. Some of Jesus’ disciples were much this way. They seemed to understand very little until after Christ’s resurrection from the dead.
Evangelist Paul Ferguson was saved at age 12 but never had the assurance of salvation for another 112-15 years. For eleven years, he was the welter-weight boxing champion of the southeast (1939-1950). When he got the assurance of his salvation from John 5:24, he lost interest in boxing while he was at the top of his game. In the picture for today, the plowman is following after the horse.
Chacteristics of Salvation – The above verses are short with extremely long roots. It is not possible to deal with it in two or three paragraphs. But, since death stares us in the face every day, 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 sixty years by men who had been taught they had to live holy enough to be saved. 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 several years of this I began to study these verses and other related verses with an open mind and considerable research in the Bible. Without going into a lot of detail here, I will simply say that I believe the Bible teaches when one repents of sin and the old direction of living and turns by faith toward the blood of 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 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 and the new nature struggles with the old nature we have until the day we die. The new nature cannot be copied any more than the sap of a peach tree can be produced by tying peaches onto a tree.
Following after peace and holiness is a general characteristics of the new birth. A backsliding Christian will be judged in this life by the Lord, sometimes as “a sin unto death” (1 Jn 5:16). I have chosen the comments by Barnes as the best on these verses.
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. (DC).
"Follow peace with all men - Do not give indulgence to …passions of strifes, see Rom_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 - see Mat_5:8. The principle here stated is one which is never departed from; Rev_21:27; Isa_35:8; Isa_52:1; Isa_60:21; Joe_3:17; Mat_13:41; 1Co_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.
Lest any man fail - As every man is in danger, it is his personal duty to see to it that his salvation be secure.
Fail of the grace of God - Margin, “fail from.” The Greek is, “lest anyone be wanting or lacking” - ὑστερῶν husterōn. There is no intimation in the words used here that they already had grace and might fall away - … but that there was danger that they might be found at last to be deficient in that religion which was necessary to save them. It is a proper…to inquire diligently whether.…when he comes to appear before God he will be found to be wholly destitute of religion (Barnes-Abbreviated). Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
MAY 23, 2017 – TUESDAY
A.M. 1Chron 8-10 P.M. John 8:37-59
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
Memory Verse This Month:
And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. (Luke 24:44)
Song for Today:
He Giveth More Grace (3:07) (Gaither Group)
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