“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
Peace and Holiness Are Inseparable
Different translations render a variation in the first part of this verse.
“Follow peace with all… (King James Bible)
“Make every effort to live in peace… ” (New International Version)
“Pursue peace with all …” (New American Standard Bible, New King James, Berean)
In the King James, a clear meaning is “follow after peace.”
Regardless, the message here is that peace and holiness go together. We cannot achieve holiness unless we achieve peaceful coexistence with peoples of all types, sects, parties, religions, and nations.
Many Christians Are Failing the Tolerance Test
“To speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.”
It’s a sad comment to make, but it’s true: One of the biggest enemies, those making some of the harshest judgments of the Christian religion today is other Christians.
Many Christians today are not practicing tolerance, and thus failing at making peace with their fellow human beings.
Republican slam Democrats as godless, non-Christians. One Christian denomination condemns another over its beliefs.
But it’s more than a simple war of words between these factions – if you read the words, they are words of hate. Even Christians cannot get along – how are we going to tolerate anyone that isn’t Christian?
Jesus: “Judge not”
The biggest reason Christians are failing and not practicing tolerance and peace, is too many Christians fall into the trap of judging others. They forget that the only judge of mankind before God is Jesus Christ.
“Judge not, that you be not judged.”
Christians need to do more than quote this passage of Scripture – they need to live it daily as Jesus instructed.