Verse of the Day Devotion: Hebrews 12:14
“Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.” – Hebrews 12:14
God has called us to live at peace with all men. Note that the writer of Hebrews states ‘peace with all men’. He is not in anyway saying that there are some, such as antagonistic unbelievers, who are not included. He is not saying that if we disagree strongly with someone that we do not need to seek to live at peace with them. And those who cheat or hurt us are not to be excluded either. Paul put it this way regarding peace with our brothers and sisters in Christ. “So then we pursue the things which make for peace and the building up of one another.” Romans 14:19. However, God declares ALL men, therefore He is saying with those who are not Christians, including those who are our enemies.
So, how are we to live at peace with our enemies? By loving them, by helping them when needed and praying for them, and not just walking by and ignoring their suffering. “You have heard that it was said, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR and hate your enemy. But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous.” Matthew 5:43-45. We are to love our enemies; we are to seek peace with them. Jesus said here that this is how His Father works. He brings the blessing of sunlight to both the righteous and unrighteous, and He allows the rain that waters the food bearing plants to fall on the land of the righteous and the unrighteous. He calls us to love as He loves and do for them as He does. “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children; and walk in love, just as Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma.” Ephesians 5:1-2.
We are called to go out and to preach the gospel to all men. “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,” Matthew 28:19. We are called to go out to those who do not know Him. Now Jesus said to His disciples that only those called by the Father will come to Him. “No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up on the last day.” John 6:44. So, who is called? There are many who believe that only some of mankind is called. However, this is in contrast to what Jesus said. “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men to Myself.” John 12:32 He calls all men to Himself because He was lifted upon a cross and was crucified. And again, as is said in Matthew 28:19, He has sent us out to reach all in all nations.
Now, looking at this in totality, the only way people will listen to us is if we show them that we love them and desire to live at peace with them. If we constantly cause animosity to arise between us and others, they will stay clear of us, and how can we preach the gospel to them if we do not desire peace between us? Looking back at our focus verse, we must desire peace with all men, even when we must disagree in order to profess the truth of the gospel and showing the holiness of God; but doing it in love, for without that , no man can see God. The idea of seeing God here is not with our eyes from a distance but living with Him, being in His presence in peace. And that is our calling, to lead all men to know and see God, making disciples. And only through desiring at all cost peace with them, can we make this happen.
William Funkhouser MDiv, ThD, Founder and President of True Devotion Ministries.