Strive For The Holiness Without Which…
January 31, 2014
We are commanded to “strive for… the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” (Heb. 12:14) Yet many who call themselves a Christian (which means a person who follows Christ Jesus and adheres to His teaching), think that holiness is something they automatically attain upon confessing sin and “praying to accept Jesus”. However, they are gravely mistaken. Holiness is not about a claim, but about holy conduct that comes from a pure heart.
God has given us an order: “Be holy, for I am holy.” (1 Peter 1:16) The verse before this reveals that this holiness is about what we do. It says, “But just as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct.” (v. 15) Holiness, then, we can clearly see, is about behavior. The verse before this one lets us know that we are required to be obedient to our Heavenly Father rather than conforming to the evil desires of our past “when we lived in ignorance.” (See v. 14) Therefore, complying with that which is sinful is to be ignorant of what God requires and to be disobedient to Him. Yet what a host of so-called “Christians” deliberately refuse His authority and abide in their ignorance!
Jesus tells us that it is the pure in heart who will be blessed to see God. (Mt. 5:8) Can anyone behave holy without having a pure heart? No, for righteous deeds are not righteous if they are done while harboring anything within that defiles one’s heart. The heart must be clean. If it is not, then out of the uncleanness of the heart will come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, greed, malice, deceit, lewdness, etc. (Mark 7:20-23), as well as other sinful things which send people to Hell. (Gal. 5:19-21 // Eph. 5:5,6 // Col. 3:5-9)
Holiness is a requirement. It is a requirement for abiding with God –which happens through our obedience. (1 John 3:24) Whoever does not abide with God (living in Him and He in us –same verse / being “one with Him in spirit” –1 Cor. 6:17) is not “born of God” (John 3:3-8 // 1 John 3:9 & 5:18) and is not walking in Eternal Life. (1 John 5:11,12) Whoever does not have this Life will not be allowed into Heaven. (same verses // John 6:53-58 // Rev. 21:6-8,27)
Is there a way to tell if someone has been born of God? Yes: “Everyone who does what is right has been born of Him.” (1 John 2:29) And, “Anyone who does not do what is right is not a child of God.” (3:10) Thus, no one who is born of God will go on sinning. (v. 9) In fact, “he cannot go on sinning because he has been born of God.” (same verse) No matter how it is said, God’s Word teaches plainly: Only the pure, only those whose conduct is holy, only those whose hearts are clean, only those whose lives display a freedom from sin, –only these will be accepted by God into Eternal Paradise. (Rev. 21:6-8,27)
Being that purity –purity of heart and conduct– is what elicits God’s pleasure in us and makes us eligible for eternal life, it would seem that we all would strive to obtain that holiness without which no one will see the Lord.