A Letter To My Congregation
January 19, 2020
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.” Hebrews 12:14 ESV
It is safe to say that striving for peace and holiness is hardly encouraged in our culture today, either inside or outside the church. One need only read the headlines or listen to the news to find that our world is filled with fighting, arguing, and contempt. We not only fight one another, but we also fight against God and his Word. Whatever commands of God seem to us unloving are shelved, while the commands we like are loudly presented as the most ‘relevant’ and ‘winsome’ aspects of our faith if we are willing to acknowledge that God has issued commands at all! But God’s love does not leave us undisciplined, he commands us to pursue peace and holiness.
Someone will argue that the very teaching of Hebrews 12:14 is too conditional for a God of love and mercy, that these words are legalistic. All conditions to grace are considered by some to e unwanted strings which invalidate the love of God for us. But God’s promises are almost always conditional, despite being gracious. Abraham would be blessed if he would leave his homeland for a better country. Moses would see the salvation of the Lord if he would obey the Lord, confront Pharaoh, and lead God’s people out of Egypt. And we will see the Lord if we who have been saved strive for peace and holiness. If we abandon these and rely upon God’s infinite mercies apart from a life of repentance, we will find ourselves at the judgment facing a Christ we do not know.
How do we pursue peace and holiness? Certainly not in our own strength! We must ground ourselves in the Word of God and in continual prayer, relying upon the Holy Spirit to guide us and give us the heart of Christ. And all who belong to Christ, all who have been born again, live lives of repentance and dependence upon the Holy Spirit. For there is no other way to obtain the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. May God grant all of us the grace to strive for peace and holiness in the certain hope of seeing Christ our Savior when he returns! Amen.
Pastor Joshua Hall