Putting God's Word into Practice…

Hebrews 12:14-17 Guidelines for Living

on August 8, 2013

Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.

We are in this race together!  We are accountable for how we handle and help one another!

  • Strive for peace with EVERYONE!  Peace among people does not come naturally–especially with everyone!  It requires work.  Peace with others means that we have to lay down our rights, our grudges and our preferences for the sake of others.
  • Strive for holiness.  There is a constant battle between the Spirit that lives inside  us and the spirit of flesh and rebellion against God that we are born with.  Never give up striving for holiness!
  • Our job is to offer God’s grace to others.  It should be our driving purpose in the race of life.
  • We need to protect others from being defiled by our bitterness.  We can cause people to fall into sin by our bitterness.  Bitterness is born and grows under the surface, but when it springs up it causes trouble and defiles many.  This past week my son and I visited Myakka State Park outside of Sarasota.  There is a beautiful flower that grows in the lake called a Water Hyacinth.  Unfortunately it is a weed that overtakes all the surrounding healthy growing water lillies as it multiplies and causes the death of many creatures in their habitat.  That is what bitterness is like!
  • Protect each other from falling into sexual immorality. How can we protect others? a) modesty; b) entertainment choices; c) sex outside of marriage and “teasing” men; d) developing relationship with someone other than spouse (emotionally, electronically, physically)
  • Help each other grow in wisdom and holiness.

The example of Esau is given.  He made choices without thinking ahead, but only gratified his instant desire, forfeiting his future blessing.  He was the opposite of Moses–the man of faith–who forfeited the pleasures of the world because He was looking ahead to His eternal blessing (Hebrews 11:24-26).

There were two phrases in this text that gave me trouble, but thanks to the whole counsel of God’s Word and His Spirit’s guidance, the trouble was resolved!

Esau “found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”  2 Corinthians 7:10 says that godly sorrow leads to repentance and to salvation.  Worldly sorrow leads to regret and death.   We can be sorry we did something–made a foolish choice–but it is the consequences that make us sad, not the sin.  That is not true repentance!

Strive “for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”  We can only be made holy through the blood of Jesus Christ covering and washing away our sins.  But that must change our lives.  We must no longer strive to sin, but strive to be godly like Him.  It says in Ephesians 4:2 that we are to walk in a manner worthy of our calling, and in 1 Peter 1:15-16, we are called to be holy like God is holy.  Our desire to be holy and work to add godliness to our lives is proof that we have been changed by the grace of Jesus Christ.


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