Hebrews 12: 14 (KJV)
14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.
It is said, “We are to follow peace and holiness; the two are consistent with each other and may be followed together. Peace is to be studied, but not such a peace as would lead us to violate holiness by conforming to the ways of unregenerate and impure men. We are only so far to yield for peace sake as never to yield a principle; we are to be so far peaceful as never to be at peace with sin: peaceful with men, but contending earnestly against evil principles.”
The word “follow” is full of meaning. It implies strong desire, and vigorous endeavor; both the inward and outward man are to be engaged in this necessary and delightful service. It is also implied that we shall meet with many obstacles and difficulties in the way, both from the corruptions of our own hearts, and the perverse disposition of others: so that we shall need invincible perseverance. They were to pursue peace with the same care, attention, and diligence, as beasts do their game; follow it through all places; trace it through all winding circumstances; and have it with all men, if you can with a safe conscience.
‘And holiness’--That state of continual sanctification, that life of purity and detachment from the world and all its lusts, without which detachment and sanctity no man shall see the Lord – shall never enjoy his presence in the world of blessedness. To see God, in the Hebrew phrase, is to enjoy him; and without holiness of heart and life this is impossible. No soul can be fit for heaven that has not suitable dispositions for the place.
As however peace cannot be maintained with the ungodly except on the condition of approving of their vices and wickedness, the Apostle immediately adds, that holiness is to be followed together with peace; as though he commended peace to us with this exception, that the friendship of the wicked is not to be allowed to defile or pollute us; for holiness has an especial regard to God. Though then the whole world were roused to a blazing war, yet holiness is not to be forsaken, for it is the bond of our union with God. In short, let us quietly cherish concord with men, but only, according to the proverb, as far as conscience allows. He declares, that without holiness no man shall see the Lord; for with no other eyes shall we see God than those which have been renewed after his image.
Do not give indulgence to those passions which lead to litigations, strife, wars; The connection here requires us to understand this mainly of persecutors. The apostle is referring to the trials which those whom he addressed were experiencing. Those trials seem to have arisen mainly from persecution, and he exhorts them to manifest a spirit of kindness toward all – even though they were engaged in persecuting them.
We are to follow peace and holiness; the two are consistent with each other and may be followed together. Peace is to be studied, but not such a peace as would lead us to violate holiness by conforming to the ways of unregenerate and impure men. We are only so far to yield for peace sake as never to yield a principle; we are to be so far peaceful as never to be at peace with sin: peaceful with men, but contending earnestly against evil principles. Courtesy is not inconsistent with faithfulness. It is not needful to be savage in order to be sanctified. Follow holiness, but do not needlessly endanger peace. Having thus hinted at the connection between the two, and how the two together make up a complete character, let us now take them one by one.
Have a Great and God filled Day