(Article for publication week of 2-19- AD 2015)
"Follow peace with all men, and holiness without which no man shall see the Lord" (Hebrews 12:14).
The word translated "follow" in our text this week means "pursue." We are told the only way that we will see God (that is see Him in heaven and in peace) is if we pursue holiness. To follow after, or pursue holiness, is to be striving diligently, and in dead earnest to be holy as God Himself is holy (I Peter 1:15-16). The same word that is translated "follow" here in our text is translated "press after" in Philippians 3:14 where Paul said he was pressing toward the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ. It is the idea of running a race as we are called unto in verse one of Hebrews 12. So you see, my dear Reader, you must be chasing after holiness like a Walker hound after a deer. The pursuit of holiness is far greater than a mere casual interest. You must make it the work of your life if you want to see God and enter into His heaven.
The Deist, Thomas Jefferson wrote in the preamble to the Declaration of Independence that all men are endowed by their Creator with "certain unalienable rights", including the "pursuit of happiness." ( Many students of America's Founding Documents have said that what Jefferson meant by "pursuit of happiness" is the right to own property, but that is another subject.) But you see dear Reader, you may see God in heaven without earthly happiness, but you will never enter into heaven without holiness. You better take out after holiness instead of happiness.
A certain pseudo-Christian who is a popular nation-wide radio personality, often exhorts his listeners to pursue "great piles of cash", but friend, you may enter into heaven without any money, but you will not enter into heaven without holiness. You had better take out after holiness instead of "great piles of cash." The fact is the scriptures tell us that those who are poor in this world's goods are often the richest in faith (James 2:5). Our Lord has warned us that the rich shall hardly enter into heaven (Mathew 19:23). And our Lord Himself was a poor Man when He tabernacled on this earth. If you are poor then you are in good company, if you are saved by grace. The point is, it is eternally better to be without any money or property than to be without holiness, for you are not saved unless you are holy, and constantly in pursuit of holiness.
Dear reader, are you in pursuit of holiness? Be honest now. Be honest with yourself and with God. Your eternal destiny is hinged upon whether you are in pursuit of holiness. I urge you to make it your life's work to follow after holiness. Pursue perfect holiness in body , soul, and spirit (I Thessalonians 5:23). Separate yourself from everything that is opposed to God and His ways. Cry out to Christ to make you holy as every spiritual blessing is in Him (Ephesians 1:4, I Corinthians 1:30). Beg the Holy Spirit to work in you that which is well pleasing to God. Beg the Lord to work in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). Take out after holiness as if eternity depended upon it, for it most certainly does. You will never see God without holiness, so pursue it with all your being.