“Pursue . . . Holiness, without which no one will see the Lord”
So what exactly is this “holiness” that is so essential that, without it “no one will see the Lord”? At heart, it is a life that is centered on God! A life that is turned toward God. It does not mean that we are sinless (though one day we shall be, when we see Him face to face – 1 John 3:2). Instead, it is a heart and life that seek to know God and walk with God and be satisfied in God daily. It is a mind-set and heart-set that seeks to turn from sin in order to turn to God; to be dissatisfied with sin, because I am seeking to be satisfied in God. It is a refusal to be happy in sin, because I am learning what it means to be happy in God.
So holiness is something that is dynamic and growing in the Christian. It is ultimately less about figuring out how to get rid of this or that particular sin, and more about learning how to have more of God! Because the more I have of God, the less I will want to do with sin! So, yes, holiness hates sin. But it does so because it loves God – and you can’t have God and sin at the same time. It turns from sin because it is turning to God – and you can’t serve two masters who are leading in two different directions. It refuses to be ruled by sin, because it is determined to be ruled by God! Holiness is God-centered.
And it is this God-centered focus of holiness that keeps it from degenerating into legalism! It is it’s grace-orientation that prevents it from being all about keeping rules. Holiness is not about rule keeping! It’s not primarily about the sins I avoid, but about the God I pursue! It’s less about my personal victory over this sin or that, and more about my growing obedience to God and joy in Him. Holiness is a life separated unto God that leads to a joyful pursuit of Him! And is it sweet, not suffocating! It is light and joy, not dreariness and dullness! And that’s what we must pursue with all our hearts!
Seeking a heart that is satisfied in Him,
Soli Deo Glora!