Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord (Heb 12:14). Holiness is so important that without it, you will not see the Lord, either here in this life or the life to come. People wonder if they could enter heaven even if they are living a very sinful life. The Bible gives clear warnings about failing to enter heaven because of a life of sin:
(Gal 5:19-21) (1 Cor 6:8-10) read.
This is a warning to believers, for he says, "You yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers." It’s clear that Paul was warning the church.
Any sincere believer can fall and make mistakes. God will not be quick to judge us. He promises to stay married to the backslider. Turn, O backsliding children, saith the LORD; for I am married unto you (Jer 3:14, KJV). God will not divorce His backslidden children; however, His children may divorce Him. True children will repent and follow the way of holiness, and thus be saved. Make no mistake about it, do not be deceived: holiness is essential for salvation.
Holiness is like a Marriage
Holiness is two fold: it is separation from the world in order to be joined to the Lord. The picture is of a marriage. In a marriage, a wife and husband “forsake all others and cleave unto each other.” A couple is not really joined if all they do is abstain from seeing other people, but never intimate with each other.
Some Christians have only half of a relationship with God. Abstinence from sin is meant to open you to God. When you live a sinful life, then the sin takes away your attention and allegiance from God, and so your relationship with Him suffers.
Most sincere believers get entice with sin because their relationship with God has suffered. This is why you must cultivate a relationship with God through reading the Bible, praying, fellowshipping in church and producing good fruit especially winning souls. When you constantly do these things you will not be as susceptible to sin, plus you will draw closer to God.
Holiness enables you to see
The most important thing you need to do to get close to someone is to “see” them. Long distance relationships are difficult to maintain. The same is true of God. You must “see” the Lord if you want to get close to Him.
Holiness will open your eyes to see how great God is and how awful worldliness is. Sin will blind you to several important truths, yet holiness will enable you to see several things.
1. See the precious grace of God. Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God…”
Jude verse 4 warns against this type of thinking. You can use the grace of God to “say no to ungodliness” or make it a license to give you permission to say “yes to immorality”. (see Titus 2:12)
When you have a license for something, you are apt to use it to do what you are licensed to do. Jude warns against certain teachers who are encouraging the saints to sin. They teach in such a manner that believers feel it is alright to sin.
Paul answers this question in Romans: “That if you confess with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’…you will be saved” (10:9). It is not enough to confess that He is your Savior; He must be your Lord in order to be your Savior. Jesus will not be your Savior if He is not your Lord. Jude tells us that people who change the grace of God into a license for sin do not have Jesus as their Lord, and he says their condemnation is long over due.
2. See the defilement of bitterness.
Hebrews 12:15 says, “See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.”
When a person pursues holiness, he sees more clearly his own weakness, therefore is patient when others harm him.
Jesus gave a parable to illustrate this. (see Matt 18:24-35
Jesus concluded the parable by saying, “This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.”
This man did not appreciate the King’s forgiveness and so in self righteousness he began to mistreat a man who had wronged him in the past. Many Christians act the same way. Instead of showing appreciation for God’s mercy on their souls, they react poorly to those who have sinned. When you pursue holiness you are gentle and forgiving toward others.
3. See the high cost of sexual immorality.
Hebrews 12:16 says, “See that no one is sexually immoral…”
There is an absolute epidemic in the body of Christ. It has become a cancer and is spreading quickly throughout the church and even its leadership; it is sexual immorality. If we do not cut it out soon it will destroy the body of Christ. (Heb 13:4). (READ)
Gays may be marching for their rights, but they have the lowest lifespan of any group in our country. No one can mock God when it comes to sexual immorality.
God is forgiving, He will forgive any repentant believer, but, even though God forgives, there is often a high price to pray for indiscretion. Sometimes God may use the Law to bring judgment.. We must take a warning and flee sexual immorality.
4. See the benefit of faith
Hebrews 12:16 says, “See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son.”
To be godless does not mean you are an atheist but it means you live like God does not exist. Hebrews tells us that God rewards those who trust him. Often, Christians get discourage when they don’t see God’s blessings for living for Him. Sometimes they sell their birthright to enjoy the pleasures of sin, but the pleasures last only for a season. Soon they discover how far they have fallen.
Sometimes people have fallen so far that they lose any real desire to change. This is what happened to Esau. He lost his birthright, and so he pleaded with tears to get it back, but he could not bring himself around to truly change. for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears (v. 17, KJV).
Salvation is like a coal. Holiness is like a diamond. You may be saved, but through the Lord’s discipline and godly pressure, the coal can turn into a diamond. Do not be satisfied simply with being saved, desire holiness as well.