Hebrews 12 (cont)
[Jhn 14:12 KJV] 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
This is the faith of Jesus Himself. Are His prayers to be answered? Then there is a generation of men on the earth who will fulfill this confidence before the consummation of all things. We are to consider such things in times of challenge. We to remember that we are to endure contradiction against our testimony of faith even as Jesus endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself lest we grow weary and faint in our minds. Does that mean we face what Jesus faced? Not quite so, because Jesus was sinless and pure enduring the insults and defamation of sinful, corrupt men against His person. If we so suffer we can only say we do so as Paul suggested as sinners ourselves. Jesus deserved none of the mistreatment he faced. As those born in sin, we cannot lift ourselves up even as believers to the point that we feel we are better than even those our persecutors lest we become high minded and fall away into the deception of pride.
The believer’s striving is against sin, and the contradiction of sin is in ourselves being bought by the blood of Christ but still manifesting the motions of sin in our character and our persons on a much too regular basis. It is a contradiction to be born again and yet continue in sin even as an occasional happenstance. In many things, we offend all, but the outpouring of the Spirit of Grace is not only to forgive our failings but also to empower us consistently to live above them. This is not taught in Christianity today. Christian leadership today holds no consistent standard of holiness before the people for the people tend not to brook any encroachment upon their personal choices and lifestyles even though their peccadillos fly in the face of the demand of heaven that we be Holy even as He is Holy.
Because of the contradiction in our character against the nature of Christ v. 5 reminds us that as children we are subject to chastening. What is the chastening of the Lord? Does the Father who said “by His stripes, ye are healed…” become angry and put sickness upon us? Would an earthly parent do this? If a mother or father injected their children with a deadly pathogen, they would be condemned and sentenced to prison. Why do we accuse God in lofty theological treatises of doing what no earthly parent would do? Let us remember the words of Jesus:
[Luk 11:11-13 KJV] 11 If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? or if [he ask] a fish, will he for a fish give him a serpent? 12 Or if he shall ask an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall [your] heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?
The scorpion reference speaks of the sting of death and all that springs from the consequence of sin. Let us be forever clear – God will never use the consequences of the fall to beat His children into submission. What then is the chastening of the Lord? We know that even in the Judgment Seat of Christ – where the righteous only are found that Jesus said in Luke 12:47 that some will be beaten with many stripes and some with few.
There is chastening in God. We are to endure chastisement as we expect our children to do likewise when they are punished after our own judgment. We don’t justify a disciplined child in running away or divorcing the parent because they despise the restrictions placed upon them. If we are without chastisement (v. 8) we are bastards and not sons. The popular teaching today that we are all suffering from an “orphan spirit” is a sanitized description of a people who embrace not the chastening of the Lord. This is the other side of that issue. A person who sees himself as a victim suffering an orphan spirit very often is the same person who receives no correction or chastisement wrapping themselves in a cloak of victimhood as an excuse for being of an incorrigible character.
We are to lift up the hands that hang down and strengthen our feeble knees. The writer is describing the consequences or aftermath of the Lord’s chastening. We have a definition then of God withdrawing His perceived presence from us in times that He determines to get our attention for correction, and repentance. This is not for the purposes of crippling us in life (v. 13) but instead that we might be healed of our backslidings. Thus when the peace of God lifts – we are being chastised, and our response is to be (v. 14) to follow after peace and holiness that we might see (openly perceive in our daily lives) the manifest presence of God as our strength for our work and walk.
If we despise being anything other than coddled children getting our way it opens the door for a root of bitterness (v. 15) that will trouble us and trouble those around us. Let the word be the discerner. Are you troubled? Verse 15 suggests a troubled spirit may often arise from an undisciplined heart. Are you troubled – examine yourself before you point the finger at others. Many feel troubled and use a false gift of discernment to deduce something is wrong with everyone but them because they do not allow the Spirit of God to expose to them their own corrupt and finite nature. I’ve heard people say “there is something wrong in the church…” because they have lost their peace, and then shortly after they exercise their higher discernment to withdraw they make shipwreck of their lives.
To Be Continued Next Week
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