Pastor’s Corner

Pastor Jim Mann

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

The Bible tells us we are to pursue (sometimes translated as hunt for) holiness and peace. That verb is instructive, I believe, because neither holiness nor peace is our natural bent as humans. Cain discovered that when he murdered his brother, and God reminded him, “If you do right, won’t you be accepted? But if you do not do right, sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it (Genesis 4:7 (HCSB).”

In other words, it is possible to live in peace with others and avoid sin—but it isn’t easy. Thank God for the Holy Spirit, because without his help it would be impossible. The Bible has always tied the Spirit of God to holiness (hence his name). In the Hebrew and Greek the word holy carries the idea of being set apart.

But let’s be honest. The idea of “pursuing holiness” usually conjures images of angry preachers, joyless parishioners and the like. Maybe, like me, you’ve known “holy,” set apart folks that you didn’t find that attractive. In my case it might be my own lack of holiness or that these folks were a bit sanctimonious for my tastes. Holy or not, I didn’t want to be around them.

But I’ve also known folks that were truly holy. When you’re around them you’re not impressed by their goodness or their saintliness. When you’re around them you’re impressed by their authentic, even imperfect, walk with God. They are moving forward and enjoying it. And in the process they encourage you.

Jesus had that attractive kind of holiness. That’s why Matthew and Peter and even Judas followed him. John Sherrill, of Guideposts fame, describes it as a holiness that builds up and heals others. In fact the words whole, holy and health all come from the same old English word hael, which means “complete.” Holiness is simply becoming healed and completed as God wants us to be. Sometimes in the church we call that sanctification.

Pursuing holiness, then, isn’t trying to be better. It isn’t a list of do’s and don’ts, can’ts and shouldn’ts. Rather it is cooperating with the Holy Spirit and letting him complete his work in us. When we allow him to heal what needs healing and complete what needs completing we are pursuing holiness. It is a guaranteed way to see the Lord.

See you in church!

Jim Mann, Ph.D. pastors New Life Church at Robson Ranch. This interdenominational church meets at the Robson clubhouse on Sunday mornings at 8:30 a.m. Visit New Life’s website: www. for more information.