Hebrews 12 is a nice accompanimentto 11. After establishing the historical
background of the struggle of the
patriarchs, Prophets and Martyrs,
the fledgling Church in Jerusalem
is exhorted to recognize the enormity
of this NEW covenant of grace.
In some ways, it was harder for the
Jewish disciples to stay on course
because their predilection was the
tendency to slip backwards into the
habits and rituals familiar to them.
The defining difference in theology
was that before the Messiah, they
were told to study the Torah, or
the LAW of YHWH. Christ did not
nullify the Torah, but, he fulfilled
As the author of Hebrews states,
with transgression,, as sons of God,
there is chastening. No longer would
the ritual sin offering be dispensed to
the High Priest, as in the past.
They would bring the sacrifice to the
Priest, who intermediated for them, and
in ritual cleansing, they would be forgiven.
This didn't require the same accountablity
as the New Way.
Christ Himself was the sacrifice, and HIS
blood the mediation. HE was the High
Priest. We must now go to HIM directly,
with a heart full of contrition, and confess
to what we did.
The old way was a primer to get men to
recognize the concept of sin. First, sins
were described, and their remedy was
indicated. Only the High Priest was
sanctified to enter the Holy of Holies,
the innermost sanctuary of the Temple,
where the Mercy Seat was shadowed
by symbolic Cherubim, with their
wings covering the seat.
Through generations of rote obedience,
there was also a failure of responsibility.
If you sinned, you were fined, in the
amount of sacrifices, and in the symbolic
gestures it took to become clean again.
Now, it was harder to grasp the missing
steps, and feel true remorse and understand
the process of being punished for sin.
We are told that when we are chastised,
we should feel encouraged that God
takes the time to discipline us. This
means we are sons, not, strangers. You
don't punish other people's children, only
This is a key to one of the great
conundrums of faith, since Job's
Why do the wicked prosper, and why
do evil men succeed? They are often
ostensibly blessed with lives of
comfort, luxury, respect and have
more pleasure than believers.
When you see a vicious murderer like
OJ Simpson set free from a double
homicide, only to read about him
flaunting the law, living a comfortable
life, enjoying himself, it makes you
wonder if anyone is paying attention.
While he ultimately was sent to prison,
he got off practically scott free from
his original offences. But, in the end,
unless he repents, he will stand before
the throne of God and He will judge
How about pornographers, drug dealers,
and the worst kind of people who seem
to have all the trappings of success?
Why are they rewarded? Why aren't
they punished? Hugh Hefner flaunts
the demon, yet, he's lasted until a
ripe old age, with an arrogant smirk.
He has lived like an Emperor for 50
years, but, that's a small drop in the
ocean of eternity. What awaits him
in the future?
Jesus told the disciples about the
leper Lazarus, who, depended
on scraps from the rich man's table,
departed and went to Paradise, to dwell
as a king, while the rich man was sent
to a place where the thirst was so
intense that he begged for Lazarus to
provide him with a drop of water off
Then he wanted to warn his rich family,
but, the Lord told him that they wouldn't
believe him, since, they didn't believe in
Moses, in the first place.
He, who is a child of God, is chastened.
That doesn't mean we don't feel sorry for
ourselves, sometimes, but, when you see
the greater picture, it seems ridiculous.
Even here on Earth, in the most dire
circumstances, the reward of having
faith is immeasurable, and has it's own
rewards, greater than rubies and pearls.
I know many wealthy people, and only
few seem truly happy or content. In fact,
many seem worse off, emotionally, than
The prescriptions for antidepressants,
antianxieletics and tranquilizers, mood
elevators, stabilizers and attention
deficit disorder are a trillion dollar
a year industry in the West. So many
people have nice homes, good cars,
luxuries, vacations, nice clothing,
children, and yet, feel empty,
unsatisfied, even tormented and
filled with constant fear.
When you consider how 2//3rds
of the world live from hand to mouth,
you'd think that having enough, and more,
would create contentment, but, it
Women and men finance expensive
plastic surgery, changing their faces and
bodies, to feel better about themselves.
When that doesn't lift them out of the
duldrums, they use legal pharmaceuticals
or illegal drugs to blur the mind, or to
distract themselves from the emptiness
of their lives.
I believe that without God, we can't really
maintain a peaceful life, no matter who we
are. You hear of famous wealthy people
who kill themselves, when they have
everything going for them, or even when
they don't, they have so much more than
most of the people who are alive.
They fill that void with things, diversions,
pornography and sex, narcissistic obsessive
maintenance on their image, and drugs.
Happiness is fleeting, anyway. You can
find moments of it, but, otherwise, it's
a visitor, not a friend. Our lives on Earth
are hard, no matter who you are. Being
a Christian doesn't erase that fact, either.
However, the one thing that understanding
God's way, and having a relationship with
Him through prayer and supplication is
that it definitely brings peacefulness to
your insides, and hope.
Even if you're rich and successful, the
gnawing fears of growing old cannot be
erased, no matter what the diversion is.
Old men find young girls to buy them
some osmosis of youthfulness. Young
women marry old men for their wallets,
without regard for what they may have
in common with them. They lead enviable
but, superficial lives, and in the end,
the old man dies, and the rich middle-aged
woman ends up repeating the cycle with
a young man, who only seeks her out for
In the end, they are lonely, alone, and face
their last days in dread of what is beyond
that great divide.
At least we are rewarded with the comfort
of that promise of an eternal life, where we
will know joy, beauty, and love. Long before
we die, we don't worry about it. In fact,
sometimes, I long for death because I believe
that "to live is Christ, and to die is gain,."
So, there are sacrifices that we make, but,
what are they? If we have shelter, enough
to eat, clothing on our bodies, and hope in
the future, even growing happier as we grow
older, since, we approach IMMORTALITY
then, how superior the life of a believer is,
than anyone with just wealth and pleasure.
There are temptations, but, once you're
immersed in the holy way, you don't
crave the same things as before. You
desire only to become more Christ-like,
not to look like a movie star, or centerfold,
and not to drive a Ferrari.
Face it, we are blessed. No one can
separate us from the love of Christ.
Even through real trials of faith, our
assurances are even more surety of
We pass through the fire, like silver is
tried. We are subjected to this to burn
away impurities. In the end, we are
perfected, and how can we despise the
chastening of a Father, who is transforming
us into the image of Christ, himself?
|Hbr 12:29||For our God [is] a |
|Wherefore seeing we also are |
compassed about with so great
a cloud of witnesses, let us lay
aside every weight, and the sin
which doth so easily beset [us],
and let us run with patience the
race that is set before us,
|Looking unto Jesus the author|
and finisher of [our] faith; who
for the joy that was set before
him endured the cross, despising
the shame, and is set down at
the right hand of the throne of
|For consider him that endured |
such contradiction of sinners
against himself, lest ye be
wearied and faint in your minds.
|Ye have not yet resisted unto |
blood, striving against sin.
|And ye have forgotten the |
exhortation which speaketh
unto you as unto children,
My son, despise not thou
the chastening of the Lord,
nor faint when thou art
rebuked of him:
|For whom the Lord loveth he|
chasteneth, and scourgeth
every son whom he receiveth.
|If ye endure chastening, God |
dealeth with you as with sons;
for what son is he whom the
father chasteneth not?
|But if ye be without chastisement, |
whereof all are partakers, then
are ye bastards, and not sons.
|Furthermore we have had fathers|
of our flesh which corrected [us],
and we gave [them] reverence:
shall we not much rather be in
subjection unto the Father of
spirits, and live?
|For they verily for a few days |
chastened [us] after their own
pleasure; but he for [our] profit,
that [we] might be partakers of
|Now no chastening for the present |
seemeth to be joyous, but grievous:
nevertheless afterward it yieldeth
the peaceable fruit of righteousness
unto them which are exercised
|Wherefore lift up the hands |
which hang down, and the
|And make straight paths for your|
feet, lest that which is lame be
turned out of the way; but let it
rather be healed.
|Follow peace with all [men], |
and holiness, without which
no man shall see the Lord:
|Looking diligently lest any man|
fail of the grace of God; lest any
root of bitterness springing up
trouble [you], and thereby
many be defiled;
|Lest there [be] any fornicator, |
or profane person, as Esau, who
for one morsel of meat sold
|For ye know how that afterward, |
when he would have inherited the
blessing, he was rejected: for he
found no place of repentance,
though he sought it carefully
|For ye are not come unto the|
mount that might be touched,
and that burned with fire, nor
unto blackness, and darkness,
|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:
|(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:
|And so terrible was the sight, [that] |
Moses said, I exceedingly fear and
|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,
|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
|And to Jesus the mediator of the |
new covenant, and to the blood
of sprinkling, that speaketh better
things than [that of] Abel.
|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:
|Whose voice then shook the earth: |
but now he hath promised, saying,
Yet once more I shake not the earth
only, but also heaven.
|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.
|Wherefore we receiving a kingdom |
which cannot be moved, let us have
grace, whereby we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and
|For our God [is] a consuming fire.|