Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification...
Hebrews 12:14-29 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; 16 that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears.
18 For you have not come to a mountain that can be touched and to a blazing fire, and to darkness and gloom and whirlwind, 19 and to the blast of a trumpet and the sound of words which sound was such that those who heard begged that no further word be spoken to them. 20 For they could not bear the command, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it will be stoned.” 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am full of fear and trembling.” 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to myriads of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel.
25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven. 26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.” 27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Today’s text begins saying: Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. There are many who agree that it is the role of believers to seek peace with all men. Many of those same people would leave out the sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord. First we should understand the peace we are to pursue. If as in all things we are to be like Christ, we should acknowledge the peace that Christ gives. In John 14:27 Jesus says: “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearfull.” In John 16:33 He says: “These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.” So we see that first the peace that Jesus gives is not like the peace of the world. Jesus says that we have peace in Him not because He has compromised or agreed with the world, but because He has overcome it. Peace can come either through an agreement with the enemy or it can come by defeating the enemy. Jesus brings peace to the world by conquering the enemy; by overcoming sin and death.
We are encouraged, like Christ, to pursue peace with all men. Romans 6:12-13 says: Our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the full armor of God, so that you will be able to resist in the evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. We do not pursue peace with all men by coming into agreement with darkness and wickedness. Rather, like Jesus, we stand firm and overcome the world forces of darkness. We are to pursue peace with all men, yet in Matthew 10:34-39 Jesus says: “Do not think that I came to bring peace on the earth; I did not come to bring peace, but a sword. For I came to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man’s enemies will be the members of his household. He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; and he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who does not take his cross and follow after Me is not worthy of Me. He who has found his life will lose it, and he who has lost his life for My sake will find it.” Our pursuit of peace with people should never take precedence over, but rather be in accordance with our love for Christ. In John 14:15;23-24 Jesus says: “If you love Me, you will keep My commandments….If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our abode with him. He who does not love Me does not keep My words; and the word which you hear is not Mine, but the Father’s who sent Me.” The pursuit of peace with men should never cause us to compromise the commandments of God and Christ.
The text continues saying: See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled; that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. If we are to see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, we must understand, acknowledge and be those who walk in and guide others toward God’s grace. Romans 2:8-9 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. The reason for God’s grace is salvation from sin, not for satisfaction of sin. If we are to see to it that no one comes short of the grace of God, then we are to see to it that all come to the knowledge of the gift of salvation by that grace. If all are to know of God’s grace, then they must first be aware of their need of salvation and redemption from sin and also that they cannot achieve salvation by their own works. 1 John 1:6-10 says: If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth; but if we walk in the Light as He Himself is in the Light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. To not come short of the grace of God requires that all would acknowledge and confess their sin. It requires that we walk in the light of God and Christ. In Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
Let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe. Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. Amen. Thank You heavenly Father, Lord Jesus Christ and precious Holy Spirit for peace, for sanctification, for grace and light revealed to us and to the world in and through Christ. Amen.