Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.
Hebrews 12:14-29 from the daily reading in the One Year Bible
Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness 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 become defiled; 16 that there be no sexually immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. 17 For you know that even afterward, when he wanted 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 cope with the command, “If even an animal touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21 And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, “I am terrified 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 us 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’s 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 people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. Many people today take the first phrase, pursue peace with all people, out of the context of the scripture. They believe and say that to pursue peace with people means to accept, tolerate or embrace all that they choose to do. We are also though to pursue holiness. It says that without holiness, no one will see the Lord. 1 John 1:5-6 says: God is Light, and in Him there is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him and yet walk in the darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. We cannot walk with God and embrace darkness, neither our own darkness or the darkness of others. Instead, in Matthew 5:14-16 Jesus says: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. Your light must shine before people in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.” We pursue peace with people by revealing the light of the Prince of Peace to them.
The text says: 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 become defiled; that there be no sexually immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. John 3:16 says: “God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.” Redemption and forgiveness from sin is the birthright of everyone who believes in Jesus, the Son of God. Many though will sell their birthright for self-gratification, immorality and godlessness. Ephesians 2:8-10 says: By grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them. We are saved by grace through faith in Christ, not to continue as we were, but rather to do the good works God prepared for us and prepared us for. In John 3:3 Jesus says: “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless someone is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Our birthright in Christ is that we are reborn into the family of God. We are His children. Romans 8:16-17 says: The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ. Our birthright in Christ is that we are heirs of the kingdom of God.
The text says: 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 us from heaven. 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.” 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. Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let’s show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire. There surely is a shaking going on in and around the world. In Matthew 24:4-14 Jesus says: “See to it that no one misleads you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will mislead many people. And you will be hearing of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not alarmed, for those things must take place, but that is not yet the end. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom, and there will be famines and earthquakes in various places. But all these things are merely the beginning of birth pains. Then they will hand you over to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations because of My name. And at that time many will fall away, and they will betray one another and hate one another. And many false prophets will rise up and mislead many people. And because lawlessness is increased, most people’s love will become cold. But the one who endures to the end is the one who will be saved. This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” The end that will come is described in Revelation 21:1-8: Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among the people, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them, and He will wipe away every tear from their eyes; and there will no longer be any death; there will no longer be any mourning, or crying, or pain; the first things have passed away.” And He who sits on the throne said, “Behold, I am making all things new.” And He said, “Write, for these words are faithful and true.” Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. I will give water to the one who thirsts from the spring of the water of life, without cost. The one who overcomes will inherit these things, and I will be his God and he will be My son. But for the cowardly, and unbelieving, and abominable, and murderers, and sexually immoral persons, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, their part will be in the lake that burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
The Spirit and the bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires, take the water of life without cost… He who testifies to these things says, “Yes, I am coming quickly.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus. The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.