The Lord Jesus led me to read Hebrews 12 (Select vv. NASB).
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
In our pursuit of peace with all people, we must remember that peace with all people is not to exclude peace with God. In other words, we do not pursue peace with all human beings at the cost of compromise of our faith in Jesus Christ and the forfeiture of his gospel of our salvation.
The pursuit of peace with all people, thus, must also include the pursuit of sanctification (purification), “without which no one will see the Lord.” So, if our quest for peace with all humans in any way contradicts our peace with God, and our pursuit of his sanctification, then we should not go after that kind of peace.
For, there are many political and religious leaders today who are pushing for world peace, but at the sacrifice of our faith in Jesus Christ, though they don’t exactly word it that way, and so it is deceptive in the way in which they present it. They are busily making a case for unity of all people of all walks of life and of all religions. And, they are doing this by trying to prove that humanity, as a whole, is broken and is need of repair, which certainly has an element of truth to it. But, their solution is man-made, not of God.
For, they want us to rid our lives of everything which divides us as the people of this world, and the gospel of Jesus Christ divides. Remember Jesus’ words when he said that he did not come to bring peace but a sword; to turn even family members, one against another. He said this because, when we turn our hearts to Jesus Christ, to follow him in his ways, and we stand on the truth of the gospel of our salvation, it will turn people against us, even from within our own families. So, we must resist the urge to compromise with the world in order to be accepted by other humans.
See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
Inside the walls of institutional Christianity many are being invited to forsake the “whole counsel of God” for a watered-down, diluted, half-truth gospel message intended to tickle itching ears and to appease human flesh. This, in essence, would be the selling of our birthright in order to satisfy our flesh.
It is the giving up of what is eternal for what is temporal. It is the sacrifice of holiness, purity and righteousness for what is entertaining and pleasing to the flesh. And, if we go this direction, it will mean our fall, our decline spiritually, and will result in hearts resistant to sanctification, rather than resulting in hearts willingly and joyously pursuing purity and righteousness.
When we, the church, gather together, it should be for the communion (spiritual fellowship) of the saints, the teaching/preaching of the Word (the whole counsel of God), the remembrance of Jesus’ death and resurrection, and of what that means for our walks of faith and our salvation, and it should be for prayer, one for another, and for the people of this world, too.
But, the church at large has turned this “house of prayer” into a marketplace (a business of men), and is busily marketing it to the world just like any other business. The “customer base” that much of the church is trying to please is the world, and so they have patterned their gatherings after the ways of the world in order that the world will like “going to church.”
But, this is all backwards. We should gather as the body of Christ in order to be strengthened in our walks of faith, and to be encouraged in our Lord, so that we can go out to the world with the full gospel message of salvation.
But, for those who have bought into this diluted gospel, and have sold their birthrights in order to satisfy the cravings of their flesh, and are entertaining the world instead of telling them the truth about their sins, you will not inherit the blessing of eternal life with God, no matter how much you desire it, because you did not repent of your sins nor turn to your Lord in obedience, but you took the easy way out, the broad road which many are traveling, but which leads to destruction, not to eternal life with God.
See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.
Thus, there is a warning here and a strong urging that we not follow in the way of the ungodly and in the way of so many who have abandoned the tenets of the Christian faith in order to market the church to the world. But, instead, we should clothe ourselves with Jesus Christ and with his righteousness, and we ought to put on the armor of God daily, with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes, tricks and deceptions aimed at destroying our faith and our witness for Jesus Christ and for his gospel. We must resist the devil, flee sinful practices, and draw near to God in full assurance of faith.
We must remember that God has called us to holiness and purity. In him, we are created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness, not just so we can escape hell and have the promise of heaven when we die. His grace to us is not a free license to continue in sin without guilt and without remorse. His grace, which brings salvation, teaches us to say “NO!” to ungodliness and worldly passions (lusts) and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await Christ’s return.
The warning here is that, if we continue in sin, i.e. if we make sin our practice and we walk in it, pursuing it, and are addicted to it, that it will result in death, not in life. It will result in the judgment of hell, not the promise of the blessing of eternal life with God. So, we need to pursue sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord. And, this will mean going against the flow, even the flow of thought, belief and practice within much of today’s Christian world, which has become so worldly.
So, this will also mean taking a stand for Christ Jesus and for his Word, being willing to be hated, rejected, mistreated and misunderstood, even by people within the church, and even by those in positions of spiritual leadership, and by members of our own families and communities, too. So, we need the strength of the Lord and courage and determination to stand tall when so many are following the downward path toward destruction.
Oceans / Hillsong United
Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior
Sunday, November 26, 2017, 5:44 a.m. – Thank you Jesus for these reminders. Thank you, too, for your love and grace to us, your people.