Striving for Holiness

Hebrews 12:14 – Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.

Rest in grace. Strive for holiness. It may seem like these two are at odds. But, the one who knows the word of God will see that these are regularly set side-by-side.

In the letter to the Hebrews, the author has shown us that our salvation is not based on our works. Christ, as our perfect high priest, has done the only work that can be done to save our souls. Christ has made the only blood sacrifice that can take away our sins. Christ is our advocate before the Father.

The grace of Christ does not, however, change the calling of God on our lives to work toward being changed. We are never saved by our works. Nor are we kept by our works. But we are commanded to work toward godliness after our salvation. And, in fact, our salvation naturally moves the saved toward God.

In verse 14, we are called to strive “for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” No person sees God without holiness. God is holy. God is unapproachable for the sinner. And if we have no holiness, we can never see or draw near to God.

In Christ, we are granted holiness as a gift. The Savior’s righteousness is imputed to us. This means that, while our lives are not yet made holy in our actual experience, God credits the righteousness of Christ to our account.

We rest in Christ’s holiness for our salvation, but Scripture never allows us to cease pressing toward holy living. That is the point of the verse. If you are saved, you will strain forward to have your life come closer and closer to the holiness that Christ has given you. Step-by-step and day-by-day, you strive to be sanctified. God commands that we strive for the holiness required for any of us to see God. We have that holiness as a gift. We press on to make our lives match what Christ has given us.

This is the place where a Christian should question himself. Am I striving toward holiness? Do I change toward the righteousness of Christ? Am I committed to growth? Do I understand that the Lord must transform me, making me holy? What must I start doing to move toward holiness? What must I put out of my life to have greater holiness?

Christian, be thankful for the gift of grace in Christ. Christian, strive for the holiness without which no one can see God.