In Hebrews 12:14, we read, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” If no man can see the Lord without holiness, then we need to learn all we can about its requirements.
Just exactly what is holiness? If you will check the various sources that give us the meaning of the original words used in Scripture, you will find that the word sanctification is a synonym of the word holiness. In fact the same word is sometimes translated both ways in different passages. Sanctification has to do with our being set apart or sanctified. We are set apart from the world and to the service of God.
Let's look at some other passages dealing with this idea. David sang a song unto God in I Chronicles 16. Among many other things he states that we are to “worship Him in the beauty of holiness” (I Chron. 16:29). Thus holiness is beautiful to the Lord. See also Psalm 29:2 and Psalm 96:9. The way of salvation is called the way of holiness: “And an highway shall be there, and a way, and it shall be called The way of holiness” (Isa. 35:8). Zacharias, father of John, prophesied and said that we are to “serve Him without fear in holiness and righteousness before Him all the days of our lives” (Luke 1:74b-75). In Romans 6:20-22, Paul writes, “For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life.” Remember we started with the passage that tells us “without holiness no man will see the Lord.”
In II Corinthians 7:1, Paul tells us how our holiness is made perfect or complete: “Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.” In fact we are even told to be holy as God is holy. “But as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy” (I Pet. 1:15-16). Notice Peter tells us to be holy in all manner of conversation (living). We are to live holy lives; we are to be sanctified. This is because we are prohibited from being “conformed to the world” and we are instructed to be “transformed by the renewing of our minds” (Rom. 1:1-2).
Furthermore, we are to “continue in faith and holiness” (I Tim. 2:15). Even the aged women are admonished to “be in behaviour as becometh holiness” (Titus 2:3). And the Hebrews author tells us that we are chastened for our profit, that we might be partakers of His holiness (Heb. 12:10).
It seems apparent from this brief study that Christians are to live holy lives and we are to live lives of holiness in every thing we do.
As we observe the world we live in and sad to say, even when we observe many within the body of Christ, holiness is often pushed aside in our search to “fit in.” We want to be like the world, just “blend in” and not cause anyone to take notice of us. We do not want to be viewed as “different.” But when we “let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ” (Phil. 2:5), and when we become “partakers of the divine nature” (II Pet. 1:4) then, and only then, are we “perfecting holiness in the fear of the Lord (II Cor. 7:1). Then we will live lives of holiness because we allow Christ to live in us (Gal. 2:20).
How about you? Is your life different from the life you formerly lived before you became a Christian? Are you letting your light shine before men that God might be glorified? (Matt. 5:16). Are you living a life of holiness? According to the writer of Hebrews in the passage we began with in this article, he shows that holiness (along with peace with all men) are things that must be pursued. They do not come naturally. They require a great deal of diligence. But the promise of seeing the Lord ought to make the effort worthwhile. Let each of us strive to perfect holiness in our lives.