“Pursue holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”
Last Sunday after the message, a young man approached me and asked, “So, how do I pursue holiness?” It is an excellent question. To answer it, we must first go back and remember what holiness is. Holiness, as I’ve been defining it in the last few sermons, is “a life that is centered on God and shaped by your relationship with God.” The Old Testament word most often used for holiness means “separation,” as in to separate something from common use in order to dedicate it to the use of God. So the Temple was “holy” because it belonged to God in a special way. It was set apart for Him. You couldn’t rent a room to throw a party there, because it was dedicated to God. That’s the holiness of a thing. But what does holiness mean for us? At heart it is a life that is set apart for God, a soul that is turned toward God. It is the life of a person who forsakes sin in order to pursue God. Such a person refuses to be satisfied with sin, because they are determined to be satisfied in God.
And how important is holiness in the life of a believer? It is absolutely essential. Without it, no one will see the Lord. With that in view, here’s a quick Bible study you can do to demonstrate just how important it is that we be holy. Look up each of the following verses and you’ll see why this is so.
– Holiness is God’s command to us. We must “be holy.”. 1 Pet 1:15-16
– Holiness is God’s warning to us, without it, no one will see God! Heb 12:14b
– Holiness is the key to enjoying the presence of God. Lev 20:26
– Holiness is central to the promise of God’s blessing. Eph 1:3-6
– Holiness is essential to our usefulness in the Kingdom. 2 Tim 2:21-22
– Holiness is foundational for joy in God Isa 12:6; Acts 13:52; Rm 14:17
So, with all that in mind, how do we pursue holiness? If holiness is a heart turned toward God, then it must begin with those things that help us see God. That would include, first of all, giving our attention to the Word that reveals God (John 17:17, Eph 5:26). It would also include taking time for regular prayer and communion with God (1 Tim 2:8), as well as the regular practice of worship (Ps 99:5); and daily repentance toward God (Isa 30:15).
These are just some of the “means of grace” God uses to make us holy. Holiness is and always remains a work of His grace. But it is a grace that enables us (indeed enlivens us) to pursue Him with delight, joy and determination.
Seeking a life that is centered on Him!
Soli Deo Gloria!
Pastor Scott Lee