Hebrews 12:14-17 NIV
Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many. See that no one is sexually immoral, or is godless like Esau, who for a single meal sold his inheritance rights as the oldest son. Afterward, as you know, when he wanted to inherit this blessing, he was rejected. Even though he sought the blessing with tears, he could not change what he had done.
If we are to live at peace with everyone and to be holy, too, then living at peace with everyone will never involve compromise with the world. And, this is because to be holy means to be separate from (unlike) the world of sin because we are being conformed to the likeness of Christ. So, living at peace with everyone will never mean that we are to live our lives to please people, so that they will not be upset with us, or so that we do not offend them.
We still must stand on the Word of Truth, and share the gospel of our salvation, and confront sin in sinful humans, and call for repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, and not be conformed to the ways of this sinful world. And, we must still live godly lives, pleasing to God, free from slavery to sin, even if this means we can’t live at peace with everyone, because people will hate, reject, mistreat and/or persecute us for our faith in Jesus Christ.
Without holiness, no one will see the Lord. We need to take this seriously. Our salvation is not just deliverance from the punishment of sin, but it is freedom from slavery to sin and freedom to live in Christ’s righteousness. We may be at peace with the world but never be at peace with God because we did not die with him to sin, and thus we were not resurrected with him to newness of life, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.
If we walk in sin, the Bible teaches, we will die in our sins, not live with Christ for eternity. What we profess with our mouths means nothing if it is not backed up with our actions. If we love God, we will do what he says. If we know God, we will no longer live our lives for sinful pleasures, but we will now walk according to the Spirit of God in holiness and in purity. If we make a practice of such sins as sexual immorality, we have no eternal inheritance with God. It is those who are led by the Spirit who are the children of God.
So, we must repent of our sins in sincerity. Godly sorrow leads to repentance, but worldly sorrow does not. It is just shallow tears.
Don’t Refuse Him
Hebrews 12:25-27 NIV
See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” The words “once more” indicate the removing of what can be shaken—that is, created things—so that what cannot be shaken may remain.
So many people today take God and his grace for granted, or else they misconstrue his grace to mean something other than what it is. So many people today think that God’s grace to us is merely forgiveness of sins and a promise of heaven when we leave this earth. And, so they have the impression that they can “believe” in Jesus with some kind of intellectual assent to who he is and to what he did for us on that cross, but without having to change their lifestyles.
But, what they fail to realize is that God’s grace to us sets us free from slavery (addiction) to sin, and it frees us to now come under the control of Christ’s righteousness. God’s grace puts sin to death in our lives, and it resurrects us to newness of life in Christ Jesus, so that we can now live in his holiness and do what pleases him. His grace is never freedom to continue in willful sin against God. If we walk in sin, we will die in our sin, no matter what we profess with our mouths.
The Jewish people of old are given to us as an example. They, as a nation, rejected Jesus Christ as their Lord and Messiah. They rejected God’s commands, too, and they decided to do what they wanted, instead. They were rejected by God, thus, due to their unbelief and their disobedience.
And, their example is given to us as a warning in scripture so that we don’t set our hearts on evil as they did, and fall away from the living God. Those who did not truly believe, which was evident by their disobedience, did not receive an eternal inheritance with God. The same goes for those who refused to believe in Jesus Christ. And, this is not just about refusing to accept that Jesus is the Christ, but we refuse Christ when we refuse to submit to his Lordship, his holiness and his righteousness.
One day God is going to come in judgment. Well, he has been judging the people of this earth forever, but there will be a judgment at the end of time where it will be settled once and for all who will spend eternity in heaven with God and who won’t. So, don’t be left out due to disobedience and unbelief because you failed to conform to his holiness, and you decided you could continue in your sinful practices, and thus you refused God.
Reverence and Awe
Hebrews 12:28-29 NIV
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”
Belief in Jesus Christ and our eternal salvation are not to be taken lightly. We are not saved from our sins so that life can be just one big party. If we continue in the practice of sinning against God, with no true repentance, heaven is not guaranteed us. Hell is!
God is not a doting grandfather in the sky there to grant our every request. We should never have an entitlement mindset in relation to God. We need to take God seriously! We need to honor him as the holy God that he is rather than living however we want, thinking that God’s grace will cover all our sins and that God is not concerned if we continue in sin. I guarantee you he is!
Acceptable worship of God is to give our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him, no longer conformed to the ways of this sinful world, but transformed of the Spirit of God in heart and mind. It is also to worship God with reverence and awe. In other words, we are to treat God with respect, honor, dignity, devotion, and obedience, surrendering our lives to him, submitting to his will for our lives, and yielding to the Lordship of Christ.
If we do this, we won’t be consistently giving in to the same sinful patterns of behavior, but we will be growing in our walks of faith and in purity. We will be living for our Lord, not working against him. We will resist Satan, and flee temptation, and throw off everything that hinders and the sin which so easily entangles so we can run the race God has set before us to run with perseverance. And, this will be because we love and revere God, and our heart’s desire is for him, and because he is living within us empowering and strengthening us to walk in obedience to him.
We just need to keep remembering that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. And, his grace, which brings salvation, instructs us to say “No!” to ungodliness and worldly passions and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives while we await his return.
An Original Work / September 8, 2011
Jesus paid the ransom,
so we’d be forgiven;
Purified from our sin,
so we’d be set free.
Crucified on a tree;
took on him our sin.
Buried our sin with Him;
rose in victory.
Jesus calls us to Him;
asks that we flee from sin;
Obey His commandments;
God our Father loves us,
which is why He gave us
His Son to die for us
on a cruel tree.
God created us to
walk in fellowship with Him,
daily trusting in His righteousness.
He has a plan for us
to abide in His grace;
Be transformed in our hearts;
live for him always.
Won’t you trust in Jesus?
Be your Lord and Master?
He wants to forgive you,
give you victory.
Over sin and yourself,
Jesus set you free.
Daily walking with Him,
Invite Him in your heart.
He’ll give you a new start.
Your old life behind you,
a new creature be.
Tuesday, April 3, 2018, 4:36 p.m. – Thank you, Jesus, for this teaching from Your Word today. Bring it home to our hearts, I pray in Jesus’ name. Amen!