“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14 NIV).
When we are very young, I mean toddler young, we learn right from wrong. We learn it very easily at that age. Why? Because, I feel that God intertwines in the deepness of our soul the innate sense of good, even if it is broken because of the fallen world we are born into. Yes, original sin and depravity exist in us even at that age, but even though we do what is wrong I feel we know what is right. Why else does a 2-year-old lie about stealing a cookie with chocolate still smeared all over their face. Of course, we are also helped in knowing what is right by the Holy Spirit already at work with us drawing us toward God.
However, when it comes to holiness it is a different story. For some reason when we use the word holiness, we start to make things harder to understand. In a word, holiness is “Christ-likeness.” We are drawn to holiness because God is Holy, God is not like any other, He is complete and utterly transcendent. When we look up the definition of holiness, we find things like, consecrate, or set apart, sanctified. But what does this all have to do with us? Well, God calls us to be holy, so it is important for us to understand.
Holy or to be holy does mean to be set apart, to be set apart for use, not just religious purposed but for God’s use. To be set apart is often mixed up with being separated or to separate oneself. And it does have origins in this. God does call us to set ourselves apart from sin and evil, but He is not calling us to cloister ourselves away in some religious club away from the world. So back to Christ-likeness.
This is where the first part of this passage comes in, “live in peace with everyone and to be holy.” We are called to live in peace with everyone, and everyone means just that, all people: all cultures, races, nations, and people. Then it goes on to say AND be holy. What is being said is, set yourself apart like Christ did. He did not sin. He obeyed the Father. He loved God, and loved others. But Jesus still did not isolate Himself from the sinners and the rest of the world. Jesus waded in, He ate with sinners and tax collectors, He argued with hypocrites, healed lepers and the unclean; even Gentiles. Yet, He was different from them, He was set apart from them, He was holy.
We are called to be holy in the world we live, and to be at peace with all. We are called to be different but not isolated. We are called to be Christ-like!
Do you want to see the Lord?
How Christ-like is your life?
Are you living a holy life AND living in peace with all?