“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” ( Hebrews 12:14 )
In following the example set forth by the Lord Jesus we are to toss off everything that hinders us looking to Him as our example of perseverance and faith ( Hebrews 12:1-3 ). One way to accomplish this is to live at peace with others and to pursue holiness.
Holiness can be defined in two ways. First holiness means consecration and purification, it is the result of being set apart to God ( I Corinthians 1:30, II Thessalonians 2:13, I Peter 1:2 ). This happens when we enter into a relationship with God by faith in Jesus ( Acts 26:18, I Corinthians 6:11 ).
Paul said in Romans, “But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life” ( Romans 6:22 ). Holiness is a byproduct of our union with Christ, it is the reward of that union. It is not through natural means that we possess this. Sanctification comes only through Christ Jesus as a gift.
Secondly, holiness is also the effect of being consecrated or being set apart. It is sanctification of our heart and what becomes evident in our daily lives through union with God. It is the outgrowth of leaving behind old desires and pursuing the things of God. Sanctification is a process for the believer ( I Thessalonians 4:3-4, 7, Romans 6:19, 22, I Timothy 2:15, Hebrews 12:14 ).
In the New Testament, the process of sanctification or holiness can be understood in these ways, first it is God’s will for the believer ( I Thessalonians 4:3 ). Secondly, it is learned by God and taught by His Word ( John 17:17-19, Psalm 17:4, 119:9 ). Next, the Holy Spirit is the agent in sanctification ( Romans 15:16, II Thessalonians 2:13; I Peter 1:2, I Corinthians 6:11 ). And lastly, holiness must be pursued by the believer ( Hebrews 12:14 ). We are to be built up by obedience to the Word following the example of Christ Jesus according to the Holy Spirit who enables this change to happen.
Relationship with Christ and attention to His Word will birth holiness into the natural realm. He has already provided this by faith in Him as you were given everything needed to live as Christ in this world ( I John 4:17, Galatians 5:22-25 ). This is why, as believers, we must pursue holiness; letting His truth and life-giving Spirit change us from the inside out. Letting what is on the inside of us match what the world sees, a life set apart, sanctified and holy. Without it, others will not see the Lord working in us.
This is an amazing truth! God has sanctified us and set us apart. He has given us everything we need to live a holy life. We respond by pursuing holiness in every aspect of our walk with Him. By His Word and by His Spirit we are changed and everyone around will experience the result of our sanctification!