“Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord.” (Hebrews 12:14 HCSB)

It is easy to fall off the tracks quickly when thinking about this verse into a legalistic pursuit of holiness—if I just get my life in order, I will be holy.  The problem with this philosophy is that it is God who makes us holy in Christ Jesus.  Simple, right?

Well…not so simple.  I would say that holiness is a gift of God that we cannot attain despite our best efforts, at the same time the writer tells us to pursue holiness because not one of us will see the Lord without it!  Yikes!  This makes it sound like it is up to us.

This is one of those places where the Bible seems happy with the tension between God’s work—his sanctifying us—and our own pursuit of sanctification.  I like to think of it like this:  Holiness is a gift of God…that we must pursue.