Hebrews 12 (cont)
Thus we see that the trouble was not outward but inward and because they wouldn’t entertain any suggestion other than how lovely they were the root of bitterness took over and damaged them and all those connected with them. To reject chastening and the commitment to self-examination above all else is to sell your birthright as a son of God for the morsel of pampered flesh that was what in truth brought on the difficulty blamed on others. It was God withdrawing your sense of His presence to get your attention to draw you back closer to Him in character and in spirit. These are circumstances that once they lay hold on our lives, we cannot withdraw at our will as Esau (v. 17) understood the consequences of his actions yet never found a place of altered trajectory because he waited too late.
[Heb 12:18–29 KJV] 18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, 19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which [voice] they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: 20 (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: 21 And so terrible was the sight, [that] Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) 22 But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels,
23 To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than [that of] Abel. 25 See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more [shall not] we [escape], if we turn away from him that [speaketh] from heaven: 26 Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. 27 And this [word], Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear: 29 For our God [is] a consuming fire.
All of these descriptors of the Lord’s chastening we are reminded of by the writer are in the context of the larger realities of God’s purposes connected with our lives. We do not come to some physical location of God’s residence on earth (as Moses on the mountain that burned with fire…). That was the similitude. We have come to the substance cast by that shadow of the true Mount Zion, the city of the Living God and not the testimony of a departed Moses. We are being dealt with not as inheritors of a narrative passed into the annals of history but we are being dealt with as members of the church of the firstborn, and to God the judge of all and to the spirits of just men made perfect. You might contend that we are not perfect but be assured that God will bring you into proximity in this life to men and women walking out perfection in a level to that which you have not attained. This is what apostolic accountability is all about.
We are come to Jesus – on a daily, moment by moment basis who continually mediates the reality of the New Covenant as our apostle and High Priest after the order of Melchizedek. The blood that Jesus sprinkled from his own body on the altar in the heavens never dried up or evaporated. It cries out still which we why we are not consumed. It cries out a better thing than that of Abel’s blood slain by his brother Cain. Abel’s blood cried out for vengeance. Jesus’ blood cries out “Father forgive…” and we are spared along will all of creation that God otherwise would be justified in dissolving in a moment of time but He does not – for Jesus sake acting as our mediator and high priest.
In light of the enormity of the ongoing work of redemption wrapping around us in cosmic dimensions of glory that it would be impossible to exaggerate we are to see that we refuse not (v. 25) Him that is speaking for if we refuse the verse tells us we shall not escape. What shall we not escape? The chastening hand of God according to the context of the passage. The voice of God that once shook the earth in Moses day speaks still shaking the heavens. For what purpose is the shaking? To remove from us those things that can be shaken (those things not of eternal value) that those things that cannot be shaken (originating in the cross) that they might remain.
These declarations thus far in our chapter are an intimate declaration of the immensities of the kingdom that works within us. Seeing we have received this kingdom (v. 28) that cannot be moved let us have grace, cooperate with grace and receive grace that we might serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear for our God is a consuming fire. Thus we see it is possible to serve God unacceptedly without divine approval or approbation. How? On our own terms and not by the Spirit’s leading and wooing us to the place of yielded lives led as drink offerings poured out on the altar in the heavens where our salvation was bought for us with so great a price.
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