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Six Principles for Pursuing Holiness from Hebrews 12

The holiness we must pursue is perfectly seen in Jesus, who was separated from all sin, blameless, pure, and righteous (Heb. 1:9; 4:15; 7:26). Hebrews 12:1–13 outlines at least six means by which we are to pursue holiness.
First, we pursue holiness by laying aside every weight (Heb. 12:1). Marathon runners shed every ounce that slows them down. If there is anything that is hindering your pursuit of holiness, you must lay it aside! Media, money, music, pride, relationships—it doesn’t matter what it is. If it’s impeding your progress in holiness, it’s past time to get rid of it. Have you laid aside every weight in your pursuit of holiness?
Second, we pursue holiness by laying aside the easily ensnaring sin (Heb. 12:1). Weights aren’t the only things to be laid aside. The easily ensnaring sin must go, too. What is this sin? It’s the one to which you most easily fall prey. All believers easily fall prey to self-centeredness, the primary manifestation of our corrupted nature. We lay aside…

How to Pursue Peace and Holiness (Heb. 12:14)

Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” To know how to follow peace and holiness, we need to understand several things about this verse: (1) what it means to “follow,” (2) what peace is, (3) what holiness means in this context, and (4) how Hebrews 12:14 ties into the previous thirteen verses of chapter 12.

Although the verb “follow” sounds passive and lackadaisical, that is the opposite of its actual meaning. The Greek word translated “follow” means “to seek or pursue aggressively.” In other words, this verse teaches us that we must be passionate and fervent in our pursuit of both peace and holiness.

The word “peace” refers to a state of harmony and tranquility in one’s relationships. Negatively, peace is a relational state in which there is no unresolved conflict or trouble. Notice that the writer of Hebrews said to pursue peace “with all men.” It might sound odd, but God wants us to be aggressive pursuers of peace in al…

When the KJV and Modern Translations Disagree: What to do

What to do when the KJV and modern translations disagree (notes from my Greek Ib class today)

1.Check to see if the KJV has a marginal note that agrees with the modern translation or vice versa. If so, it means the original text is subject to more than one interpretation. The KJV translators chose one option whereas modern translations have chosen another. For example, John 14:18 has ‘comfortless’ in the text and ‘orphans’ in the margin of the KJV, whereas modern translations have ‘orphans’ in the text.

2.Check to see if the English words used by the KJV have changed their meanings. Use the Oxford English Dictionary online to do this. It may be that the KJV means the same thing, but our use of English has changed enough that we wouldn’t realize it. A great example is the word ‘conversation’ in Phil. 3:20. In 1611 it could mean ‘the action of living or having one's being in a place or among persons,’ which is much closer to the meaning of the Greek word politeuma = “citizenship, co…

Baptismal Regeneration vs Sola Fide

I was asked the question, "How can I help someone who believes in baptismal regeneration to see that salvation is by faith alone, while at the same time acknowledging the importance of baptism?"

I believe Scripture teaches the importance of baptism. Jesus’ commission in Matthew 28:19–20 identifies its importance. Jesus commanded His disciples (and us by implication) to make disciples of all nations by teaching them and by baptizing them in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. From his command, we can infer that baptism is a required step of obedience for a disciple, that is, a person who is already saved.

Baptism is not, however, a required step to receive salvation. To help people see this, you have to show them that the Bible teaches that faith alone is necessary for salvation. Once you demonstrate that faith alone is necessary for salvation, then it logically follows that baptism is not necessary for salvation.

Romans 3:21–5:11 and Galatians 2–5 are the two place…

Hebrews 12:14 - Holiness or Hell?

Hebrews 12:14 says, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.” Some have concluded that this verse teaches one must be entirely sanctified to make it to heaven (e.g., Creffield, Godbey).

There are several things to consider in determinin what this passage is teaching: (1) the relationship between the word “holiness” in Hebrews 12:14 and NT Greek; (2) what the words “holiness” and “sanctification” mean in the NT; and (3) the relationship between regeneration and sanctification.

The Greek word translated “holiness” in Hebrew 12:14 is hagiasmos (ha-gee-oz-móss). This word occurs ten times in the NT (Rom. 6:19, 22; 1 Cor. 1:30; 1 Thess. 4:3, 4, 7; 2 Thess. 2:13; 1 Tim. 2:15; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 1:2). Hagiasmos normally means “the condition of moral purity that results from being or living separated unto God from all that is sinful.” In 2 Thessalonians 2:13 and 1 Peter 1:2 it means “the act of separating someone unto God from all that is sinful wit…