Following Peace and Holiness
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)
THE ABOVE VERSES ARE SHORT WITH LONG ROOTS. They are giving us some characteristics of salvation but not the cause of salvation. It is not possible to cover 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 by men who have been taught they had to live holy enough to be saved. At that exact 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 SEVERAL YEARS OF HIS 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 CHARACERISTIC 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 fastening peaches onto a tree.
WE SHOULD CAREFULY SEARH OUR SOULS TO MAKE SURE THAT THE NEW BIRTH has taken place that has produced the change of following after peace with men and following after holiness. Peace and holiness are characteristics of the new birth and this endures for life. A backsliding Christian will be judged in this life by the Lord, even if it is counted as “a sin unto death”(1 John 5:16). I have chosen some comments by Barnes on these verses.
THE BIBLE GIVES SEVERAL CHARACTERISTIC THAT ARE TRUE OF EVERYONE who is saved. These are two of them. Others include accepting Christ with the humble faith of a child and embracing Christ so that you are not ashamed of Him.
“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. (Barnes)
WITHOUT WHICH NO MAN SHALL SEE THE LORD - It is a solemn thing that a Christian is one who has been transformed by the Spirit of God in such a way that we may predict some of the characteristics in his or her life. One who is not traveling in the direction of holiness and peace with all men is not headed in the direction of Heaven when they die. We cannot live with such holiness that by our holiness we shall be saved. We cannot follow peace with all men to the degree that we never have a disagreeable word with anyone we meet. But, it is true that we are headed in the direction of holiness and peace with all men. That’s just the way it is. Barnes makes one more comment:
“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.” (Albert Barnes - 1798-1870)
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JULY 3, 2018 – TUESDAY
A.M. Job 26-28 P.M. Acts 11
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.) If you are behind in reading, read the passage for today and then go back
●Good Memory Verse:
For unto us was the gospel preached, as well as unto them: but the word preached did not profit them, not being mixed with faith in them that heard it (Hebrews 4:2). (Write verse on scrap of paper and put in your pocket to memorize.)
●Song for Today:
Peace, Wonderful Peace (1:36) (Gaither Group)
When a storm hits the mid-section. It may be upper, lower, or both. It’s good to keep a bottle of Pepto-Bismal or Kaopectate in the cabinet. Another thought is to let it run its course for a while and rid yourself of some bad stuff. It can be the light brigade, or the more serious monsters that insist on a trip to the emergency room. When the kids were small, a pediatrician advised us to keep coke in the house and when a stomach storm hits, pour out some in a glass and weaken it (stir)at room temperature. The effective ingredient is the coke syrup and not the fizz. We used to be able to buy coke syrup from the drug store soda fountain.
An old stand-by is peppermint tea: heaping tsp of leaves in a cup of boiling water; steep 5 minutes, add ½ tsp honey. Drop in enough ice to cool it a bit. Sip slowly. This is my old standby. The honey is slightly anti-biotic and satisfies the craving for something sweet. The original saltine crackers (salted both sides) are a standard stomach soother that helps in some cases. It’s the salt that calms the stomach. Keeping capsules of powdered charcoal in the house is a good idea. It absorbs poison in the gut.