Hebrews 12:14 says “Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness, no one will see the Lord.” That’s a mighty strong statement – one that should give us pause. I don’t know about you but I want to see the Lord. That doesn’t just mean I want to lay eyes on Him. The word the writer used there means “to be admitted into intimate and blessed fellowship with God in his future kingdom,” (blueletterbible.org/lexicon). That’s what I want.
If holiness is the condition for seeing God, how do I get holy? I don’t. I have to be made holy. The writer of Hebrews said that Jesus came to do the will of God (Heb 10:9). But what is the will of God? To make us holy (v. 10), that is, to make us into the very likeness of His Son (Rom 8:29). Paul said that God’s purpose is that we might “be holy and blameless in His sight” (Eph 1:4). That is what the cross is all about. Jesus nailed our sins to His cross (Col 2:13-14) and shed His blood to give us His holiness.
Surely, though, God has some expectations of me. Indeed, He does. He expects me to carry myself according to who I am in Christ. He expects me to choose holiness. Paul (again) said, “God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life (1 Thes 4:7). This agrees perfectly with Jesus’ teaching in the Beatitudes: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God” (Mat 5:8). It’s the exact same “see” as we find in the Hebrews passage. Purity of heart brings holiness.
What does that look like in real life? “The grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, while we wait . . . for Jesus” (Titus 2:11-12). Saying “No” when the world and our flesh says “I want,” Looking for the way out of temptation (1 Cor 10:13). Submitting to the Holy Spirit (Rom 8:5-17). Turning away from every evil desire and pursuing “righteousness, faith, love, and peace along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” (2 Tim 2:22).
God has a highway, “called the Way of Holiness [and] it will only be for those who walk in that Way” (Is 35:8). No wonder Jesus said, “I am the Way . . .” (Jn 14:6). Beloved are you riding on the “Highway to Heaven?”