Steering a Straight Path
Today’s reading: Hebrews 10:19-12:29
My selection: Hebrews 12:14
Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
My reflections: In the Christian life, there are two important dangers to avoid. One leads to unwarranted confidence and pride, the other to unremitting guilt and despair. The first danger is to think ourselves acceptable to God by means of our good works and religious observances. The second danger is to downplay our responsibility to seek peace and holiness and to presume on the grace of God. The writer of the Hebrews calls his readers to seek peace in their relationships with all others and to pursue holiness in their daily lives.
How do we avoid these two dangers and maintain a safe course down the middle of the road?
On one hand, I cannot be proud of my spiritual and moral standing. If I am saved, it is not by my works, but by the work of Jesus Christ, my High Priest. Yet if I am saved, I am saved to do good works, to live at peace with others, to grow in holiness. I cannot have Christ and be unchanged in my life, unperturbed by my persistent sin. If I have Christ, there must be evidence, there must be a hunger and thirst for righteousness.
My challenge: Are you not somewhat haunted by the words, “holiness without which no one will see the Lord”? Beware of presuming on the grace of God. Assurance of salvation is based on God’s promises but also evidenced by a changed and changing life. Repentance will be a regular part of the life of one who knows that his or her holiness falls far short of God’s glory and that there will never be enough holiness in us to merit God’s favor. Ultimately we are saved by faith in the One who offered the perfect sacrifice for sin and whose righteousness is credited to us, but, meanwhile seek the holiness without which no one will see God. Be pursuing holiness while trusting in Christ’s holiness.
Tomorrow’s reading: Hebrews 13:1-James 3:12