Daily Readings and Thought for December 5th. “ … WITHOUT WHICH NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD”
“Holiness” is the quality without which no one will see the Lord, as we read Chapter 12 of Hebrews today! This can be worrying, for surely no one can really achieve holiness, is that not a quality parallel to perfection? We must think about this carefully.
The opening verse tells us of the need to discipline ourselves and aim to “lay aside every weight and the sin which clings so closely”. But then the point is made that Jesus, who is the “perfecter of our faith” [v.2]; that he shows us the way to do and by “looking” to him we can do the same. The word translated looking means keeping our eyes fixed on as the GNB translates it. So it is far far more than a casual glance, or a quick thought as we probably do as we offer thanks for our food. Our Saviour Jesus expects us to have a living relationship with him and with God – go back and read Ch. 10 v.19-23.
God is treating us as sons and daughters [v.7] – all those who take on the name of His Son in baptism. We read, “ … we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?” [v.9]
Our heavenly Father’s discipline “yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.” This is of even greater need as the world grows more chaotic and distractions and uncertainties increase. All around us people are living for the pleasures of the moment; tragically they have no long term vision at all.
It is hard to really relate to an increasing number of our fellows because their aims in life are so different to ours – but we must keep trying. Our influence today can be more because of what we do than what we say. We read on and see the advice, “strive for peace with everyone one and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord” [v.14]
This shows that one aspect of achieving and maintaining “holiness” is achieving “peace.” There was an interesting illustration of this in Ch. 11. We read of the faith of “Rahab the prostitute” [v.31] and that “she did not perish … because she had given a friendly welcome to the spies.” The phrase “friendly welcome” could be translated as “in peace” for the Greek word is exactly the same. This illustrates the attitude that is a factor in maintaining “holiness” in a world given over almost entirely to unholiness.