Hebrews 12:25-29 ESV
“See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.’ This phrase, ‘Yet once more,’ indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.”
The context here is that of instructions to the church, to Christians to forsake their sins, to cast them off in order to follow Jesus Christ in his ways, according to his commands, and to live holy and godly lives, pleasing to the Lord. For this is the race that God has set before us to run with endurance. And Jesus, who went before us, is our example to us of the kind of life that we are to live in holiness and righteousness, in obedience to our Lord.
And, if we are living in this way, we will also be hated and persecuted like Jesus was, but we are to not give way to fear, and we are not to retreat back into sin because we are being illtreated for our walks of faith in Jesus Christ. We are to follow Jesus’ example to us in how to endure unjust suffering at the hands of our enemies, and we are to keep on walking in obedience to our Lord despite all opposition against us.
And we are to see this unjust treatment at the hands of our enemies as God’s discipline in our lives for the purpose to train us in righteousness and holiness and to purify us and to mature us in our walks of faith. Yet, this does not mean that if a fellow Christian is doing evil against us that we remain silent. There are steps we are to take in this case, and ultimately, if the person does not repent, we are to tell it to the church, and the church is supposed to correct the person.
Nonetheless, that is not happening much at all in today’s modern market-driven “churches,” which are in the majority. For they are not following that teaching of Scripture or a lot of teachings of Scripture, and so they are coddling people in their sins and they are allowing unrepentant sinners to serve in positions within the church of spiritual influence and leadership and as people who are supposed to be leading others to worship God.
But that isn’t really much different from what Jesus faced, for the Pharisees were hypocrites who paraded themselves as servants of righteousness but who were secretly engaged in all sorts of evil, and who were wronging other people. And Jesus definitely took the right steps in confronting them with their sins, even publicly, because they did wield enormous influence over the people. But in return they just mistreated him and then they plotted and assured that his death was carried out, but God had a purpose for it all.
So, in this passage of Scripture we are encouraged to endure discipline for the sake of righteousness, which is for our good that we may share in God’s holiness and that it might later yield in us the peaceful fruit of righteousness, which is for those who have been trained to live godly lives through their trials and tribulations and persecutions. And we are encouraged to not fear but to walk faithfully in the ways of the Lord in obedience to him.
Don’t Refuse Him
We have two choices in this life. We can either be daily surrendering our lives to God, forsaking our sins, and following Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands, or we cannot be surrendering our lives to Jesus Christ, and not be forsaking our sins, and not be following Jesus Christ in obedience to his commands. The first is what faith is. The second is unbelief. And it is all in what we practice for what we practice is what we truly believe.
And just let me say here that if your lifestyle is that of sin, confess, sin, confess, sin, confess, but nothing ever changes, because your heart has not changed, and so you keep deliberately and habitually repeating the same sins over again with the same lame excuses for why you are not yet free from your addiction to sin, and while still blaming others for your sins, then that is not forsaking your sins, and it is not obeying your Lord.
For, the Scriptures are quite clear on this subject. If sin is what we practice, i.e. if we keep on deliberately and habitually committing acts of sexual immorality, adultery, lying, cheating, stealing, hating, and willfully mistreating and abusing others, etc., heaven is NOT our eternal destiny! Hell is, no matter what people might be telling you otherwise. For, if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction. But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life (Gal 6:7-8).
And we are warned in Hebrews 3-4 and in 1 Corinthians 10 against the same things we are being warned against here, that we not refuse our Lord who is speaking his truth to our hearts, and that we not follow the same course as the children of Israel did, who kept on in their sinful rebellion against the Lord, which was disobedience, and which was unbelief, according to God.
They did not enter into God’s eternal rest. They did not have eternal life with God. They were God’s children in name only, but not in walks of faith and obedience. And the same will happen to us if we follow their example.
So, being grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken is not thanking the Lord that your sins are forgiven so that you can keep on in your deliberate and habitual sins. It is not just admitting sin each time you sin and then thanking the Lord for his forgiveness, as though he forgives unrepentant sin. He does not! If that sin is your habit, and that is what you keep going back to, you are not truly repentant, for nothing has changed.
If we are truly grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, we will offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, which is not some emotional experience we go through by singing “praise and worship songs.” For our acceptable worship of God is to give our lives to God as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to him. And it is for us to no longer be conformed to the ways of this sinful world because our minds and hearts have been transformed by God’s Spirit away from sin to obedience to God.
And why must we offer to God ACCEPTABLE WORSHIP, with reverence and awe? Because our God is a consuming fire. And this was said to those who profess faith in Jesus Christ. For our faith is not some words we say or a one-time experience, but it is our walks of obedience to our Lord and it is us, by the Spirit, putting to death the deeds of the flesh, saying “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly passions, and living self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return.
So, don’t be fooled. God is not mocked. Whatsoever we sow, that shall we also reap. Please take this to heart, and please surrender to Jesus today!
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]
Frances J Crosby, 1873
Phoebe P Knapp, 1873
Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine!
O what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.
Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
Perfect submission, all is at rest
I in my Savior am happy and blest,
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior, all the day long.
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