|Greek: Eirenen diokete (2PPAM) meta panton, kai ton agiasmon, ou choris oudeis opsetai (3SFMI) ton kurion,
Amplified: Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Try to live in peace with everyone, and seek to live a clean and holy life, for those who are not holy will not see the Lord. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Weymouth: Persistently strive for peace with all men, and for that growth in holiness apart from which no one will see the Lord.
Wuest: Be eagerly seeking after peace with all, and holiness, without which no one shall see the Lord,
Young's Literal: peace pursue with all, and the separation, apart from which no one shall see the Lord,
PURSUE PEACE WITH ALL MEN AND THE SANCTIFICATION: Eirenen diokete (2PPAM) meta panton kai ton hagiasmon: (Genesis 13:7, 8, 9; Psalms 34:14; 38:20; 120:6; 133:1; Proverbs 15:1; 16:7; 17:14; Isaiah 11:6, 7, 8, 9; Matthew 5:9; Mark 9:50; Romans 12:18; 14:19; 1Corinthians 1:10; Galatians 5:22,23; Ephesians 4:1-8; 1Thessalonians 5:15; 1Timothy 6:11; 2Timothy 2:22; James 3:17,18; 1Peter 3:11) (Sanctification - He 12:10; Psalms 94:15; Isaiah 51:1; Luke 1:75; Romans 6:22; 2Corinthians 6:17; 7:1; Philippians 3:12; 1Thessalonians 3:13; 4:7; 1Peter 1:15,16; 3:13; 2Peter 3:11,18; 3Jn 1:11 ) (Ps 34:14, Mt 5:8-note Pr 15:1, 16:7, 17:14, Ep 4:3, Ro 14:19, Ro 12:18 Mt 5:9)
Pursuing Holiness elsewhere in the New Testament (among many references)...
Pursue (1377) (dioko from dio = pursue, prosecute, persecute, also pursue in good sense) means to follow or press hard after, pursue with earnestness and diligence in order to obtain, go after with the desire of obtaining.
The present imperative is a command to continually press hard after, moving energetically toward the goals of something, in this case toward the goal of peace with all men. Continually pursue this goal, like the hounds chasing in pursuit of the fox. This is not a passive role that one just lets happen; it is an active concept that one must strive for. Our responsibility to work out (pursue) (Php 2:12-note doing so in dependence on God's provision of what He has worked in [God's Spirit indwelling and energizing both the desire and the power] Php 2:13-note).
This command to pursue peace and holiness suggests several thoughts: (1) This not an optional "activity" but a necessity (before I was saved I chased after sin, now sin continually "chases" after me, thus the command); (2) To pursue demands diligence and directed effort (cp 1Ti 4:7, 8, 9-note) (3) This pursuit is not to be a spasmodic endeavor but is to be our lifelong task (present tense). Clearly the pursuit of holiness requires enablement and provision from the One Who is Himself holy. At the same time holiness is a process, something we as believers will never completely attain in this life. In fact as most of us of some age in Christ have experienced, as we begin to conform to the will of God in one area of our life, He reveals to us our need in another area. And thus we come to understand that we will always be pursuing holiness in this life, the attainment of the goal of holiness reserved for the next life in glory! Hallelujah.
Dioko - 45 times in the NT - Matt. 5:10, 11, 12, 44; 10:23; 23:34; Lk. 11:49; 17:23; 21:12; Jn. 5:16; 15:20; Acts 7:52; 9:4f; 22:4, 7f; 26:11, 14f; Rom. 9:30f; 12:13f; 14:19; 1 Co. 4:12; 14:1; 15:9; 2 Co. 4:9; Gal. 1:13, 23; 4:29; 5:11; 6:12; Phil. 3:6, 12, 14; 1Th 5:15; 1 Tim. 6:11; 2 Tim. 2:22; 3:12; Heb. 12:14; 1 Pet. 3:11; Rev. 12:13
Those who are at peace with God are responsible to pursue peace in their relationships with others as an important aspect of growth in sanctification (cp Col. 3:15-note; 1Pe 3:11-note). The presence of the indwelling Holy Spirit makes this possible (Ro 8:6-note; Ro 15:13-note), for "the fruit of the Spirit is ... peace" (Gal 5:22-note).
Spurgeon - Peace is to be studied, but not such a peace as would lead us to violate holiness by conforming to the ways of unregenerate and impure men. We are only so far to yield for peace’s sake as never to yield a principle. We are to be peaceful so far as never to be at peace with sin: peaceful with men, but contending earnestly against evil principles. Often the Alpine hunter, when pursuing the antelope, will leap from crag to crag, will wear out the live-long day, will spend the night upon the mountain’s cold brow. He then descends to the valleys and up again to the hills as though he could never tire, and could never rest until he has found his prey. So perseveringly, with strong resolve to imitate your Lord and Master, follow peace with all.
Peace (1515) (eirene [word study] from verb eiro = to join or bind together that which has been separated) literally pictures the binding or joining together again of that which had been separated or divided and thus setting at one again, a meaning convey by the common expression of one “having it all together”. It follows that peace is the opposite of division or dissension. Peace as a state of concord and harmony is the opposite of war. Peace was used as a greeting or farewell corresponding to the Hebrew word shalom - "peace to you". Eirene can convey the sense of an inner rest, well being and harmony. The ultimate peace is the state of reconciliation with God, effected by placing one's faith in the gospel. In eschatology, peace is prophesied to be an essential characteristic of the Messianic kingdom (Acts 10:36).
Related Resource: See study of Hebrew word Shalom
Eirene - 92 times in the NT - Matt. 10:13, 34; Mk. 5:34; Lk. 1:79; 2:14, 29; 7:50; 8:48; 10:5f; 11:21; 12:51; 14:32; 19:38, 42; 24:36; Jn. 14:27; 16:33; 20:19, 21, 26; Acts 7:26; 9:31; 10:36; 12:20; 15:33; 16:36; 24:2; Rom. 1:7; 2:10; 3:17; 5:1; 8:6; 10:15; 14:17, 19; 15:13, 33; 16:20; 1 Co. 1:3; 7:15; 14:33; 16:11; 2 Co. 1:2; 13:11; Gal. 1:3; 5:22; 6:16; Eph. 1:2; 2:14f, 17; 4:3; 6:15, 23; Phil. 1:2; 4:7, 9; Col. 1:2; 3:15; 1Th 1:1; 5:3, 23; 2Th. 1:2; 3:16; 1 Tim. 1:2; 2 Tim. 1:2; 2:22; Titus 1:4; Philemon 1:3; Heb. 7:2; 11:31; 12:14; 13:20; Jas. 2:16; 3:18; 1 Pet. 1:2; 3:11; 5:14; 2 Pet. 1:2; 3:14; 2 Jn. 1:3; 3 Jn. 1:14; Jude 1:2; Rev. 1:4; 6:4
Peace is a condition of freedom from disturbance, whether outwardly, as of a nation from war or enemies or inwardly, as in the current context, within the soul. Peace implies health, well-being, and prosperity.
Make it the habit of your life to seek hard after peace with men and holiness before God, the holiness He desires and which He alone can work in us as we work out our salvation in fear and trembling.
Those who pursue peace seek to forgive and to forget and to be kind and to be thoughtful and be able to help others and be able to pray for their enemies!
The exhortation is most likely address the attitude those Jews who had come into the New Covenant were to manifest toward the unsaved Jews who were in danger of renouncing their professed faith in Messiah and of returning to the temple sacrifices.
Marcus Dods - The circumstances of the Hebrews were fitted to excite a quarrelsome spirit, and a feeling of alienation towards those weak members who left the straight path. They must not suffer them to be alienated but must restore them to the unity of the faith, and in endeavoring to reclaim them must use the methods of peace, not of anger or disputation. (Hebrews 12 Commentary - Expositor's Greek Testament)
Without sanctification - Or without holiness. Spurgeon writes that...
Andrew Murray - Follow after sanctification, lit. "holy-making." We know this word. Holiness is the highest glory of God, and so holy-making is the being taken up into His fellowship, and being made partakers of His holiness. It is receiving into our nature and character the spirit of that heavenliness and holiness in which He dwells. Follow holy-making, without which no man shall see the Lord. Holy-making is the spiritual preparation, the inner capacity for meeting the Lord, and being at home with Him. The passages in the Epistle, in which we have already had the word, will be our best instruction as to the way in which we are to follow after holiness. (Andrew Murray. The Holiest of All - see page 497)
R A Torrey - Here we are taught that we have our own part in sanctification, and that if we are to be sanctified in the fullest sense, sanctification is something that we must pursue, or seek earnestly, if we are to obtain it. While sanctification is God’s work, we have our part in it, viz., to make it the object of our earnest desire and eager pursuit. (Torrey, R. A. 1918. The Fundamental Doctrines of the Christian Faith. New York George H.: Doran company)
Pursue...sanctification - pursue...holiness. It seems that peace and holiness go together. In Heb 12:11 he mentions "the peaceful fruit of righteousness (right living before God and man - which is certainly related to holiness)." This truth is important to know and to believe, so our belief might translate into appropriate behavior. In other words to quote Jerry Bridges (in The Pursuit of Holiness)...
Spurgeon - The holiness meant is evidently one that can be followed like peace; and it must be transparent to any ingenuous man that it is something that is the act and duty of the person who follows it. We are to follow peace; this is practical peace, not the peace made for us, but “the fruit of righteousness … sown in peace among those who make peace” (Jas 3:18). We are to follow holiness—this must be practical holiness, the opposite of impurity, as it is written, “God did not call us to impurity, but in holiness” (1Th 4:7-note). The holiness of Christ is not a thing to follow—I mean, if we look at it imputatively. We have it at once. It is given to us the moment we believe. The righteousness of Christ is not to be followed; it is bestowed on the soul in the instant it lays hold of Christ Jesus. This is another kind of holiness. It is, in fact, as everyone can see who chooses to read the connection, practical, vital holiness that is the purport of this admonition. It is conformity to the will of God and obedience to the Lord’s command.
Some who have aimed at holiness have made the great mistake of supposing it needful to be morose, contentious, faultfinding, and censorious with everybody else. Their holiness has consisted of negatives, protests, and oppositions for opposition’s sake. Their religion mainly lies in contrarieties and singularities; to them the text offers this wise counsel: follow holiness, but also follow peace. Courtesy is not inconsistent with faithfulness. It is not needful to be savage in order to be sanctified. A bitter spirit is a poor companion for a renewed heart. Let your determination for principle be sweetened by tenderness toward your fellow men.
Now, if our text said that, without perfection of holiness, no man could have any communion with Christ, it would shut every one of us out. No one who knows His own heart ever pretends to be perfectly conformed to God’s will. It does not say, “perfection of holiness,” but “holiness.” This holiness is a thing of growth. It may be in the soul as the grain of mustard seed, and yet not developed. It may be in the heart as a wish and a desire, rather than anything that has been fully realized—a groaning, a panting, a longing, a striving. As the Spirit of God waters it, it will grow until the mustard seed shall become a tree.
Sanctification (1377) (hagiasmos [word study] from hagiazo = sanctify from hagios = holy, set apart, consecrated) literally means sanctification and includes the ideas of consecration, purification, dedication and holiness. The dominant idea of sanctification is separation from the secular and sinful and setting apart for a sacred purpose. Holiness is the state of being set apart from sin and the world to deity (God) or the process of becoming more dedicated to God. Sanctification is "the process by which believers are set apart by God as a special people to grow spiritually in personal holiness and to develop Christ-like character."
See offsite resource - Puritan writer Thomas Watson on "Sanctification"
Wuest puts it this way "The word “sanctify” in the Greek means “to set apart,” and the word “sanctification” refers to the setting apart process."
Hagiasmos is used twice in the Septuagint (LXX) (Ezekiel 45:4, Amos 2:11) and 10 times in the NT (these are discussed below)...
Hagiasmos was used in the Greek pagan religions to describe buildings, altars or offerings set apart for religious purposes. The object set apart was thus declared sacred, holy, devoted to religious purposes. It applied also to the worshippers. They were set apart persons, thus religious devotees of the temple.
As explained below, hagiasmos can refer either to a state of being set apart from sin and the world unto God (equating with our initial salvation) or secondly can refer to the process by which a saint becomes progressively more set apart to God. Thus sanctification in one use takes place at a moment in time (salvation) but in the other use sanctification is a continuous process until we are glorified. Peter uses hagiasmos primarily with the former meaning. The Holy Spirit is crucial both aspects of sanctification.
Wuest adds that "This pre-salvation work of the Spirit is spoken of in Scripture as the sanctification of the Spirit. It is the setting-apart work of the Spirit in that He sets the unsaved person apart from his unbelief to the act of faith, from his standing in the first Adam which brought him sin and death, to a new standing in the Last Adam which brings him righteousness and life. This we call positional sanctification."
The Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology has a note that helps illustrate the meaning of hagiasmos writing that "The generic meaning of sanctification is the state of proper functioning.” To sanctify someone or something is to set that person or thing apart for the use intended by its designer. A pen is “sanctified” when used to write. Eyeglasses are “sanctified” when used to improve sight. In the theological sense, things are sanctified when they are used for the purpose God intends. A human being is sanctified, therefore, when he or she lives according to God’s design and purpose." (Elwell, W. A., & Elwell, W. A. The Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology . Baker Book House)
The College Press NIV Commentary states that "The concept of sanctification can be understood by comparing the sanctification of people to the sanctification of the temple or its utensils. A sanctified building, lampstand, or pot is designated to be used only in service to God. A sanctified person has also been set apart for service. The Holy Spirit both marks us for God’s service and empowers us to render that service. (1 & 2 Peter : The College Press NIV Commentary. Joplin, MO: College Press Publishing).
Writing to the Thessalonian believers (whose faith had been shaken by false teachers cf 2Th 2:1, 2, 3, 4, 5) Paul reminds them of the source and security of their salvation, explaining that they are "brethren beloved (perfect tense = their permanent state) by the Lord, because God has chosen you (election -- middle voice = for Himself) from the beginning for salvation through sanctification (hagiasmos) by the Spirit (God's part) and faith (man's part, realizing that even faith is a gift) in the truth" (2Th 2:13).
The Spirit uses the Word of Truth (the Gospel - 2Co 6:7, Col 1:5-note, 2Ti 2:15-note, Jas 1:18-note) to convict men of sin, righteousness and the judgment to come (Jn 16:8), to point them to safety in the "Ark" of Christ and to set them apart from the world.
Using the verbal root of hagiasmos (hagiazo), Paul declared to the Ephesian elders "And now I commend (paratithemi = para - beside + tithemi - place = a banking term = to deposit as a trust and/or for protection, commit for safe keeping, cp use in 2Ti 2:2 -note entrusting gospel to faithful stewards) you to God and to the word of His grace, which is able to build you up and to give you the inheritance ("imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away reserved in heaven" - 1Pe 1:4-note) among all those who are sanctified (hagiazo [word study] - perfect tense pictures their having been set apart occurring at a definite point of time in the past -- the moment they were born again by faith -- with the present result that they are still set apart, that blessed condition continuing throughout this life and the one to come!)." (Acts 20:32)
What is "the" holiness which the writer refers to?
Kenneth Wuest feels that "The exhortation is thus addressed to the saved among the recipients of this letter, and in relation to their attitude towards the unsaved Jews who were in danger of renouncing their professed faith in Messiah and of returning to the temple sacrifices. The holiness spoken of here is defined in the context and by the historical background of the letter. (Hebrews - Wuest's word studies from the Greek New Testament)
Expositor’s Greek Testament (Marcus Dods) - The holiness which this epistle has explained is a drawing near to God with a cleansed conscience (He 10:14-note, He 10:22-note), a true acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice as bring the worshipper into fellowship with God. (Hebrews 12 Commentary - Expositor's Greek Testament)
Henry Morris offers this explanation stating that "Holiness is the same as sanctification. As far as our position and standing before God are concerned, we, as believers, have peace with God and are sanctified in Christ Jesus (Ro 5:1-note; 1Co 1:2). Without these (which means without salvation), we could never hope to see the Lord. We still need to follow diligently after peace and holiness in a practical sense, by His enabling grace, if we would see Him in faith. (Hebrews 12 Notes from Defender's Study Bible - links on right)
Ryrie feels that the writer means that "Without sanctification in life we cannot see the Lord; i.e., worship Him acceptably. (The Ryrie Study Bible: New American Standard Translation: 1995. Moody Publishers)
Stedman explains it this way...
John MacArthur observes that "This verse is not easy to interpret, and has been a problem for many sincere Christians. At first glance, it seems to be teaching salvation by works—if we successfully pursue peace and sanctification, we will be saved and will see the Lord. The truth is, however, that a person who is not saved cannot pursue either peace or sanctification, at least not successfully. Only the Christian has the ability, through the Holy Spirit, to live in peace and in holiness. “‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked’” (Isa 57:21) and any righteousness men try to produce apart from God is as “a filthy garment” (Isa 64:6). I believe the writer is speaking of practical peace and righteousness. Positionally, in Christ, Christians already are at peace (Ro 5:1-note) and already are righteous (2Cor 5:21), but practically we have a great deal to do (Php 2:12-note). Because we are at peace with God, we should be peacemakers. Because we are counted righteous, we should live righteously. Our practice should match our position. Otherwise the unbeliever will stand back and ask, “Why don’t you practice what you preach? If you don’t live like Christ says to live, why should I accept Him as my Lord and Savior?” (cf. 1John 2:6). Pursuing peace primarily relates to loving men, and pursuing righteousness primarily to loving God. If we love men, we will be at peace with them, and if we love God we will live righteously. (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press) (Bolding added)
J I Packer adds that...
Jerry Bridges writes that "the writer of Hebrews is telling us to take seriously the necessity of personal, practical holiness. When the Holy Spirit comes into our lives at our salvation, He comes to make us holy in practice. If there is not, then, at least a yearning in our hearts to live a holy life pleasing to God, we need to seriously question whether our faith in Christ is genuine (cp 2Cor 13:5). It is true that this desire for holiness may be only a spark at the beginning. But that spark should grow till it becomes a flame—a desire to live a life wholly pleasing to God. True salvation brings with it a desire to be made holy. When God saves us through Christ, He not only saves us from the penalty of sin, but also from its dominion. Bishop Ryle said, “I doubt, indeed, whether we have any warrant for saying that a man can possibly be converted without being consecrated to God. More consecrated he doubtless can be, and will be as his grace increases; but if he was not consecrated to God in the very day that he was converted and born again, I do not know what conversion means.” (See Bishop Ryle's classic treatise on Holiness - This volume is considered the best book on the Christian life that has EVER been written) (Bridges, J.. The Pursuit of Holiness. Colorado Springs: Navpress)
Holiness is that which only comes from God as a free gift of His matchless grace. In this epistle it is pragmatically explained as a drawing near to God with a cleansed conscience (Heb 10:14, 22), a true acceptance of Christ's sacrifice as bringing the worshiper into fellowship with God. Holiness in Hebrews means not throwing away your confidence, not shrinking back to destruction, not falling away, not drifting, not hardening your heart, not living in continual disobedience. On the positive side, holiness in Hebrews is being holy as He is holy by holding fast, by enduring, by pressing on to maturity, by diligently seeking Him, by believing that He is, by believing that He is a Rewarder of those who seek Him.
J C Philpot - To possess this holiness is a necessary and indispensible meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light; but this meetness must be wrought in us by the power of God’s grace, for I am sure that in ourselves of it we have none. But see its necessity. What happiness could there be in the courts of bliss unless we had a nature to enjoy it? Unless we were made capable of seeing Christ as He is, and enjoying His presence for evermore, heaven would be no heaven to us. Nothing unclean or unholy can enter there. Sanctification therefore must be wrought in us by the power of God, to make us meet for the heavenly inheritance, and He therefore communicates of His Spirit and grace to give us heavenly affections, holy desires, gracious thoughts, tender feelings; and above all that love whereby He is loved as the altogether lovely. By the sanctifying operations of His Spirit, He separates us from everything evil, plants His fear deep in the heart, that it may be a fountain of life to depart from the snares of death; and works in us a conformity to His suffering image here that we may be conformed to His glorified image hereafter. Thus there is a perfect and an imperfect sanctification—perfect by imputation, imperfect in its present operations. But the one is the pledge of the other; so that as surely as Christ now represents His people in heaven as their holy Head, so will He eventually bring them to be for ever with Him in those abodes of perfect holiness and perfect happiness which are prepared for them as mansions of eternal light and love.
Resources Related to
WITHOUT WHICH NO ONE WILL SEE THE LORD: choris oudeis opsetai (3SFMI) ton kurion: (Ge 32:30; Job 19:26; 33:26; Mt 5:8; 1Co 13:12; 2Cor 7:1; Ep 5:5; Gal 3:21; 1Jn 3:2,3; Re 21:24, 25, 26, 27; 22:3,4,11, 12, 13, 14, 15)
Without (5565) (choris from chora = land from choros = field or place usually where cattle range or chasma = thru idea of empty expanse) as a preposition it means apart from, separate from (at a space, separately) and thus is a marker of dissociation, indicating a distinct separation from something.
No one (3762) (oudeis from ou = not + dé = but + heis = one) means literally "but absolutely not one" and thus no one, nothing, none at all. It emphasizes not even one!
Spurgeon - In the Greek there are no less than three negatives in this passage, as though it said, “No never, no man shall see the Lord.” Surely He who would not spare Satan, the bright archangel, will not admit polluted man to heaven. He who put His Son to death to bring His own elect to heaven by purifying them from sin, will not bring any of us there if we remain unholy and do not submit ourselves to the gospel of Jesus Christ. This is the object of election: “God chose us before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy” (Eph 1:4-note) This is the very end of our calling.
See (3708) (horao) means to discern clearly (physical or mental). it is not merely act of seeing, but also actual perception of object.
How do we see Him today? By faith (Heb 11:1-note, Heb 11:27-note) As far as our position and standing before God are concerned, we, as believers, have peace with God and are "sanctified in Christ Jesus" (Ro 5:1-note; 1Co 1:2). Without these (which means without salvation), we could never hope to see the Lord. We still need to follow diligently after peace and holiness in a practical sense, by His enabling grace, if we would see Him in faith.
Compare Jesus' own words in Mt 5:8 (note) Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
There is another way some interpret this verse. Practical holiness is a proof of new life within and thus if a person is not growing more holy, it raises the possibility that he may never have been made positionally holy by grace through faith. When the Spirit of Holiness invades and indwells a person, He imparts a new desire to be pleasing to God (Ezekiel 36:27, Php 2:13-note) and this new heart is manifest by that person living more and more a life separated unto God His Father. It is a matter of cause and effect. If Christ has been received, the rivers of living water will flow.
How do we apply the truth in this exhortation? The way to finish well in life’s marathon is to pursue peace and holiness making every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy. We must learn the runner’s lean, continually stretching ourselves forward to peace and extending our entire beings toward holiness! (Php 3:12-note, Php 3:13-note, Php 3:14-note, Heb 12:1-note, Heb 12:2-note)
J C Ryle from his article on Holiness...
“Without holiness no one will see the Lord.”--Hebrews 12:14
Our text for today opens up a subject of deep importance. That subject is practical holiness. It suggests a question that demands the attention of all professing Christians-Are we holy? Will we see the Lord?
That question can never be out of season. The wise man tells us, there is “a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to be silent and a time to speak,” (Eccl 3:4, 7) but there is no time, no, not a day, in which a man ought not to be holy. Are we?
That question concerns all ranks and situations of men and women. Some are rich and some are poor-some educated and some uneducated-some masters, and some servants; but there is no rank or state in life in which a man or woman ought not to be holy. Are we?
I ask to be heard today about this question. How does our account stand between our souls and God? In this hurrying, bustling world, let us stand still for a few minutes and consider the matter of holiness. I know I could have chosen a subject more popular and pleasant. I am sure I could have found one easier to handle. But I feel deeply I could not have chosen one more seasonable and more profitable to our souls. It is a solemn thing to hear the Word of God saying, “Without holiness no one will see the Lord.”
I will endeavor, by God’s help, to examine what true holiness is, and the reason why it is so needful. In conclusion, I will try to point out the only way in which holiness can be attained in a plain and practical manner.
I. First, then, let me try to show what true practical holiness is-what sort of persons are those whom God calls holy.
A man may go to great lengths, and yet never reach true holiness. It is not knowledge-Balaam had that: nor great profession-Judas Iscariot had that: nor doing lots of things-Herod did that: nor zeal for certain matters in religion-Jehu had that: nor morality and outward respectability of conduct-the rich young ruler had that: nor taking pleasure in hearing preachers-the Jews in Ezekiel’s time had that: nor keeping company with godly people-Joab and Gehazi and Demas had that. Yet none of these was holy! These things alone are not holiness. A man or woman may have any one of them, and yet never see the Lord.
What then is true practical holiness?
It is a hard question to answer. I don’t mean that there is any lack of Scripture on the subject. But I fear lest I should give a defective view of holiness, and not say all that ought to be said; or lest I should say things about it that ought not to be said, and therefore cause harm. Let me, however, try to draw a picture of holiness, that we may see it clearly before the eyes of our minds. Only let it never be forgotten, when I have said everything, that my explanation will be nothing but a poor imperfect outline at the best.
a) Holiness is the habit of agreeing with the mind with God, in accordance as we find His mind described in Scripture.
It is the habit of agreeing with God’s judgment-hating what He hates-loving what He loves-and measuring everything in this world by the standard of His Word. The person who most completely agrees with God is the one who is the most holy person.
b) A holy person will endeavor to turn away from every known sin, and to keep every known commandment.
They will have a decided bent of mind toward God, a hearty desire to do His will-a greater fear of displeasing Him than of displeasing the world, and a love for all His ways. They will feel what Paul felt when he said, “In my inner being I delight in God’s law” (Ro 7:22-note), and what David felt when he said, “I consider all your precepts right, I hate every wrong path” (Psalm 119:128-note).
c) A holy person will strive to be like our Lord Jesus Christ.
They will not only live the life of faith in Him, and draw from Him all their daily peace and strength, but they will also strive to have the mind that was in Him, and to be “conformed to His likeness” (Ro 8:29-note). It will be their aim to bear with and forgive others, just as Christ forgave us-to be unselfish, just as Christ did not please Himself-to walk in love, just as Christ loved us-to be meek and humble, even as Christ made Himself nothing and humbled Himself. They will remember that Christ was a faithful witness for the truth-that He did not come to do His own will-that it was His food and drink to do His Father’s will-that He would continually deny Himself in order to minister to others-that He was meek and patient in spite of undeserved insults-that He thought more of godly poor men than of kings-that He was full of love and compassion to sinners-that He was bold and uncompromising in denouncing sin-that He did not seek the praise of men, when He might have had it-that He went about doing good-that He was separate from worldly people-that He prayed continually-that He would not even let His nearest relatives stand in His way when God’s work was to be done. These things a holy person will try to remember. By them they will endeavor to shape their course in life. They will lay to heart the saying of John, “Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did” (1Jn 2:6); and the saying of Peter, that “Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps” (1Peter 2:21-note). Happy is the person who has learned to make Christ his “everything,” both for salvation and example! A great deal of time would be saved, and a great deal of sin prevented, if men and women would often ask themselves the question, “What would Christ have said and done, if He were in my place?”
d) A holy person will pursue meekness, endurance, gentleness, patience, kindness, and control of their tongue.
They will put up with a lot, tolerate a great deal, overlook a lot, and be slow to talk of demanding their rights. We see a clear example of this in the behavior of David when Shimei cursed him-and of Moses when Aaron and Miriam spoke against him (2Sa 16:10; Nu 12:3).
e) A holy person will pursue self-control and self-denial.
They will labor to subdue the desires of their body-to crucify their flesh with all of its affections and lusts-to curb their passions-to restrain their worldly inclinations, lest at any time they break loose. Oh, what a word of warning is that of the Lord Jesus to the Apostles, “Be careful, or your hearts will be weighed down with dissipation, drunkenness and the anxieties of life” (Luke 21:34); and that of the Apostle Paul, “I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize” (1Corinthians 9:27).
f) A holy person will pursue love and brotherly kindness.
They will endeavor to observe the golden rule of doing to others as they would have others do to them, and speaking as they would want others to speak to them. They will be full of affection towards their brothers and sisters in Christ-towards their bodies, their property, their characters, their feelings, and their souls. “He who loves his fellowman,” says Paul, “has fulfilled the law” (Ro 13:8-note). They will detest all lying, slandering, backbiting, cheating, dishonesty, and unfairness, even in the smallest things. They will strive to adorn their religion in all of their outward demeanor, and to make it lovely and beautiful in the eyes of everyone around them. Sadly, what condemning words are found in the 13th chapter of 1 Corinthians, and the Sermon on the Mount, when laid alongside the conduct of many professing Christians!
g) A holy person will pursue a spirit of mercy and benevolence towards others.
They will not stand idle all day long. They will not be content with simply not harming others-they will try to do good to others. They will strive to be useful in their day and generation, and to lessen the spiritual needs and misery of those around them, as far as they can. Dorcas was such a person “always doing good and helping the poor,” which she did,”-not merely planning to do it or just talking about it, but she actually did it. Paul was another such person, stating: “I will very gladly spend for you everything I have and expend myself as well,” he says, “If I love you more, will you love me less” (Acts 9:36; 2Corinthians 12:15).
h) A holy person will pursue purity of heart.
They will dread all filthiness and uncleanness of spirit, and seek to avoid everything that might draw them into it. They know their own heart is like tinder, and will diligently keep clear of the sparks of temptation. Who will dare to talk of strength when David can fall? There are many hints to be gleaned from the ceremonial law. Under it the man who only touched a bone, or a dead body, or a grave, or a diseased person, at once became unclean in the sight of God. And these things were pictures and figures. Few Christians are ever too watchful and too particular about this point.
i) A holy person will pursue the fear of God.
I do not mean the fear of a slave, who only works because they are afraid of punishment, and would be idle if they did not dread discovery. Rather, I mean the fear of a child, who wishes to live and move, as if they were always in their father’s sight, because he loves them. What a noble example Nehemiah gives us of this! When he became Governor at Jerusalem he might have invoke taxation on the Jews, requiring money from them for his support. The former Governors had done so. There was no one to blame him if he did. But he says, “But out of reverence for God I did not act like that” (Nehemiah 5:15).
j) A holy man will pursue humility.
They will desire, in humility, to consider others better than themselves. They will see more evil in their own heart than in any other in the world. They will understand something of Abraham’s feeling, when he says, “I am nothing but dust and ashes;”-and Jacob’s, when he says, “I am unworthy of all the kindness and faithfulness you have shown your servant;”-and Job’s, when he says, “I am unworthy;”-and Paul’s, when he says, “I am the worst of sinners.” Bradford, that holy and faithful martyr of Christ, would sometimes sign his letters with these words, “A most miserable sinner, John Bradford.” Good old Mr. Grimshaw’s last words, when he lay on his deathbed, were these, “Here goes an unprofitable servant.”
k) A holy man will pursue faithfulness in all the duties and relationships in life.
They will try, not merely to fulfill their duties and responsibilities, as well as others who have no care or concern for their souls, but even better, because they have higher motives, they will try to be of more help than the others. Those words of Paul should never be forgotten, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord,”-“Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord” (Colossians 3:23-note; Romans 12:11-note). Holy persons should aim at doing everything well, and should be ashamed of allowing themselves to do anything poorly if they can help it. Like Daniel, they should seek to give no “basis for charges against themselves, “unless it has something to do with the law of their God” (Daniel 6:5). They should strive to be good husbands and good wives, good neighbors, good friends, good citizens, good in private and good in public, good in the place of business and good in their homes. Indeed, holiness is worth little, if it does not bear this kind of fruit. The Lord Jesus puts a searching question to His people, when He says, “What are you doing more than others?” Mt 5:47-note).
l) Last, but not least, a holy person will pursue spiritual mindedness.
They will endeavor to set their affections entirely on things above, and to hold very loosely the things of earth. They will not neglect the daily business of their life; but the first place in their mind and thoughts will be given to the life to come. They will aim to live like those whose treasure is in heaven, and to pass through this world like a stranger and pilgrim traveling to their home. To commune with God in prayer, in the Bible, and in the assembly of His people-these things will be the holy person’s principal enjoyments. They will value every thing and place and company, in the same proportion as it draws them nearer to God. They will enter into something of David’s feeling, when he says, “My soul clings to you.” “You are my portion, O LORD” (Psalm 63:8-note; Ps 119:57-note).
Such is the outline of holiness. Such is the character that is pursued by those who are called “holy.” Such are the main features of a holy man and a holy woman. (Read the complete article on Hebrews 12:14: Holiness)
Steven Cole writes that...
Amplified: Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God’s grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it— (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Look after each other so that none of you will miss out on the special favor of God. Watch out that no bitter root of unbelief rises up among you, for whenever it springs up, many are corrupted by its poison. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: looking diligently over lest any one be failing of the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up may give trouble, and through this many may be defiled;
SEE TO IT THAT NO ONE COMES SHORT OF THE GRACE OF GOD: episkopountes (PAPMPN) me tis husteron (PAPMPN) apo tes charitos tou theou: (He 2:1,2; 3:12; 4:1,11; 6:11; 10:23-35; Deuteronomy 4:9; Proverbs 4:23; 1Corinthians 9:24, 25, 26, 27; 1Corinthians 10:12; 2Corinthians 6:1; 13:5; 2Peter 1:10; 3:11,14; 2Jn 1:8; Jude 1:20,21) (Luke 22:32; 1Corinthians 13:8; Galatians 5:4)
See to it (1983) (episkopeo [word study] from epí = upon or intensifying the already existing idea in verb + skopeo = regard, give attention to, look at, contemplate) means literally to look upon, and thus to observe, to examine the state of affairs of something, to look after or to oversee. In the NT, episkopeo is used only in Hebrews 12:15 and 1 Peter 5:2-note, the latter used to describe the work of shepherding the flock. It expresses careful regard of those in position of responsibility.
Vincent writes that "Looking diligently (episkopountes) gives diligently as the force of epi, but epi signifies direction rather than intensity. The idea is exercising oversight.
Wuest paraphrases this verse better conveying the meaning of episkopeo = "exercising oversight (episkopeo) [over yourselves] lest anyone be falling away from the grace of God, lest any root of bitterness springing up be troubling you, and through this the many be defiled (Hebrews 12:15)
Episkopeo describes one who is literally a "watchman" "upon" (prefix "epi-" = upon) the sheep. This verb is in the present tense which pictures these men as constantly, diligently, actively and responsibly overseeing the care of the sheep in their flock, something that is only possible as we learn to give up "trying so hard to live the Christian life" and learn to trust the enabling power of the Spirit (see Php 2:12-note and Php 2:13-note). They are constantly examining them for "spiritual parasites" and are ever on the lookout for the ravenous wolves in sheep's clothing (Mt 7:15-note). Oversight is not the only duty of shepherding, but it is the one Peter mentions here in the situation of suffering.
Episkopeo is made up of two words in Greek just like it is in English - "over" and "sight". Elder-shepherds exercise oversight. They are "overseers". They look out over the flock. God holds them accountable for seeing the big picture and acting for the good of the whole flock.
Spurgeon - The word is “episkopountes,” a word that signifies overseeing, being true bishops, looking diligently as a man on the watchtower watches for the coming foe. See the sentry pace the rampart. He looks in one direction and he sees the brushwood stirred; he half thinks it is the foe, and suspects an ambush there. He looks to the front, across the sea—does he not discern a sail in the distance? The attack may be from the seaboard. He looks to the right, across the plain, and if even a little dust should move he watches lest the foe should be on foot. So in the church of God each one should be on his watchtower for himself and for others, watching diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God.
ESV Study Bible - See to it that. As they pursue peace and holiness (v. 14), Christians should watch out for each other (cf. 3:13; 10:24-25) in order that no one falls short of the gift of eternal salvation
McGee - Looking diligently (He 12:15KJV) has in it the thought of direction. And what is that direction? "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith . . ." (Heb. 12:2).
Vine writes that “exercising” is the right rendering; the word does not imply the entrance upon such responsibility, but the fulfilment of it. It is not a matter of assuming a position, but of the discharge of the duties.
Matthew Poole says episkopeo "notes a very strict and severe inspecting themselves; its primitive, skopein, signifieth such a looking to a thing, as those who, in shooting, aim at the mark; and the preposition adds intention to the action, signifying a most earnest care in Christians over themselves, in them over others, and in ministers over them all.
See to it is in the plural, making it everyone’s responsibility to make sure no one misses the grace of God. Continually considering, taking heed of the critical importance of the grace of God, remembering that God is opposed to the proud but gives grace to the humble. The word expresses the careful regard of those who occupy a position of responsibility (as a physician, or a superintendent) The same word is used in 1Pe 5:2 (see note) where the elders are exhorted to take the oversight of the local church. The noun is used in [Acts 20:28] where Paul calls the elders, overseers. The idea here is that these Jews should exercise oversight over their lives to the end that they do not fail of the grace of God.
Hebrews addressed an audience wanting to face two directions ("Mr. Facing-Both-Ways") at once--the security of what they could see which was the Ritual and Legalism of Judaism (exemplified by Mt. Sinai He 12:18-note) versus what they could not see yet already possessed by faith (Mt Zion - He 12:22-note) which equates with the freedom as a slave of Christ. The inspired writer urged them to face full forward toward Christ and forget legalism. The gravest sin they could commit would be to try to earn salvation through the law and miss the way of grace.
The idea of episkopeo in this verse is
In other words the writer is urging what you might call some sanctified “meddling” in each other’s lives. We must consciously involve ourselves in the Body of Christ, assuming responsibility for seeing others go on in grace, and also humbly receiving their loving care for us. We all need grace to finish the race!
The next two verses (He 12:16, 17-notes) seem to present four distinct sins to avoid. But there is a strong suggestion in the context that this is another warning against the single sin of apostasy and that these four sins are all related to it.
First of all, apostasy is a failure to obtain the grace of God. Note that the verb comes short is present tense suggesting that this is this person's lifestyle. In other words such a person continually comes short of or lacks the grace of God. Such a one is continually left behind in the race and so fails to reach the goal. He is continually falling short of the end, that is of becoming a full partaker of the grace of God. And no one can continually, habitually come short of God's amazing grace and pretend to say they are a true believer. The person looks like a Christian, talks like a Christian, professes to be a Christian, but he has never been born again. He has come so near the Savior but has never received Him and thus is so near and yet so far.
Thomas Manton - There must be a constant watch kept not only over our own hearts but also over the congregations to which we belong. Members must take care of one another; this is the communion between saints. (An Exposition on the Epistle of James)
Baker NT Commentary - the writer reasserts the corporate responsibility of the believers. "See to it that no one misses the grace of God" (compare He 3:12; 4:1, 11). As members of the body of Christ we are responsible for each other. We have the task of overseeing one another in spiritual matters, so that we may grow and flourish in the grace of God and not come short of it. That is, no one should be allowed to straggle, for if this happens he becomes Satan's prey and will miss God's grace (2Co 6:1; Gal. 5:4). Mutual supervision within the entire body stimulates the spiritual health of the individual members. Avoid, therefore, the indifference to one another manifested by Cain, who asked, "Am I my brother's keeper?" (Gen. 4:9). Instead we should ask each other about our spiritual well-being, although perhaps not in the quaint wording of the Methodist preacher who inquired, "How is it with thy soul, brother?" But certainly as members of Christ's body we must put similar questions to our brothers and sisters in the Lord.
Comes short of (5302) (hustereo from hústeros = last, latter, terminal, hindmost) has the basic meaning of come to late (in time) or to come after (in terms of space) and thus it means to fail in something, come short of, miss, not to reach. Hustereo has the basic meaning of being last or inferior. It means to be left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal, to fall short of the end, to lack. It means to come late or too tardily.
Vincent writes that the idea is “fall back from,” implying a previous attainment. The present participle marks something in progress: “lest any one be falling back.”
Note the word "of" is the preposition apo (575) which is a marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association, separation, departure, cessation, completion, reversal. It pictures any separation of one thing from another by which the union or fellowship of the two is destroyed.
The early Greek commentator Theophylact interprets hustereo in terms of a journey of a band of travelers who every now and again check up, "Has anyone fallen out? Has anyone been left behind while the others have pressed on?" We too are on a "journey", the final destination being the City of the Living God, the Heavenly, New Jerusalem, Mt Zion. Don't fall behind & be left behind or you'll miss the grace of God & be left at the fearful Mt. Sinai where the Law has condemned you because of your sin.
In several of the NT passages hustereo means to be in short supply, to fail, to give out or to lack. Hustereo can mean to experience deficiency in something advantageous or desirable and thus to be lacking, go without or come short of (as in Mt 19:20).
Wiersbe - What sins will rob us of the enabling of God's grace? These verses tell us: lack of spiritual diligence, bitterness against others (see Deut. 29:18), sexual immorality, and living for the world and the flesh. (Commenting on He 13:24) Of course, the writer of the Hebrew epistle was sending his personal greetings to the leaders of the church; but this is a good example for all of us to follow. Every Christian should be on speaking terms with his pastor. Never allow any "root of bitterness" to grow up in your heart (Heb. 12:15) because it will only poison you and hurt the whole church.
Richards sees the falling short in the context of the divine discipline just discussed in Heb 12:5-11 - If we fail to sense the love and the purposefulness that underlie God's discipline we are likely to become bitter and so "miss the grace of God." If we see our trials and difficulties in the perspective provided by God's grace we will accept discipline. (Bible Reader's Companion)
Hustereo is used 14 times in the Lxx (Num. 9:7, 13; Neh. 9:21; Job 36:17; Ps. 23:1; 39:4; Eccl. 6:2; 9:8; 10:3; Cant. 7:2; Dan. 4:33; 5:27; Hab. 2:3)
Hustereo - 16x in 16v - Matt. 19:20; Mk. 10:21; Lk. 15:14; 22:35; Jn. 2:3; Rom. 3:23; 1Co. 1:7; 8:8; 12:24; 2 Co. 11:5, 9; 12:11; Phil. 4:12; Heb. 4:1; 11:37; 12:15
Hustereo is used in the famous "Hall of Faith" chapter, Hebrews 11 - They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute (hustereo), afflicted, ill-treated (Heb 11:37-note)
The meaning of hustereo is further illustrated in the following verses...
If our perseverance should “fall short” like the wine at the wedding feast in Cana, the party could be ruined (John 2:3). If our faith runs out like the prodigal son’s money, we may find ourselves very impoverished (Lu 15:14). It is easy for this deficiency to come on us unnoticed, like the rich young ruler’s lack of freedom from his wealth (Mt 19:20).
With reverential fear all are to examine their own spiritual condition (cf. 1Cor 10:12; 2Cor 13:5) and to actively press for commitment on the part of others (cf. Jude 1:23).
Hustereo means to essentially to be found to come short as in Romans 3 where Paul writes that ...
When you come short of something, you can miss it an inch or a mile, but you still miss it! So those in Romans 3:23 have missed it a "mile". There are others who have missed it by only an "inch". For example, take the man that Mark wrote about...
In this declaration by Jesus the verb lack is the same word hustereo (come short) used here in Hebrews 4. Jesus was telling the man (and all who have ears to hear) that "you are coming short in just one thing".
Isn't it amazing how some can come so close! They are in a good Bible believing church, they know stories and verses in the Bible, they know the message of good news, they are "good" people, etc, etc...but they lack one thing…they've never confessed Jesus as Lord and Savior of their life the importance of which Paul explains...
When you come so close yet are still short, you might even presume that you have entered into the rest (like a "vaccination" or being inoculated with the inactive virus to prevent you from getting the real viral disease), and so this is why it is so important to continue to encourage one another daily while there is still time. Coming to Bible study means nothing if Christ is not in your heart. You can know a lot in your head but the real issue is to make certain of your calling and election. Many will say to Jesus in that day "Lord, Lord" but He will say "I never knew you." (Mt 7:21-note; Mt 7:22, 23-note)
Here are all the uses of hustereo (words in bold below represent translation of hustereo) in the NT...
Wuest writes that "The translation is “lest any one be falling back.” This exactly describes the situation of this unsaved Jew who has allowed himself to be led along by the Holy Spirit in His pre-salvation work of convicting the sinner of sin, and of bringing him to the place of repentance (He 6:4, 5, 6-see notes He 6:4; 6:5; 6:6). These Jews were thus the recipients of the grace of God up to this point. The writer is concerned that they might fall back from this grace to the temple sacrifices again, and thus be irrevocably lost (Ch. 6). It should be clear that the writer is not here speaking of the Jew who had already put his faith in Messiah as High Priest. That person could not fall back to the sacrifices (He 6:9-note). He has been the recipient of the work of the Spirit by whom he was regenerated, baptized into Jesus Christ as his Head and into the Body of Christ, and permanently indwelt, and sealed with the Spirit by God the Father until the glorification of his body."
Guzik explains it this way...
Richard Hughes - The readers are admonished, therefore, to see to it, to show practical concern, that no one fail to obtain the grace of God, or, rather, that none of their fellow contestants fall behind in the race and turn away from the prize that is before them. As we have repeatedly seen, the danger by which they are threatened is that of apostasy: in He 3:12 they have been warned to take care lest in any of them an evil, unbelieving heart should cause them to desert the living God; in 4:1 they have been advised to fear lest any of them be judged to have failed to reach God's rest; in He 6:4-6 they have been told of the impossibility of restoration for any who wilfully abandon the blessings of the gospel; and in He 10:26-31 they have been cautioned again regarding the irremissibility of the sin of deliberately profaning the blood of the covenant. Similarly here it is once more the peril of apostasy, of dropping out of the race, of "rejecting him who warns from heaven" (He 12:25-29), against which they are being warned. Our author, then, is not speaking of some relatively serious deficiency in the Christian life, but of the absolutely disastrous eventuality of cutting oneself off from the grace of God. Where there are symptoms that such a situation may be developing, earnest attentiveness and searching self-scrutiny on the part both of the community and of the individuals of which it is composed are an urgent necessity. (A Commentary On The Epistle To The Hebrews)
Spurgeon - Under the means of grace, there are many who do “fall short of the grace of God.” They get something that they think is like grace, but it is not the true grace of God, and they ultimately fall from it, and perish. What we need is to have unfailing grace, and power so to hold on that, at the last, we may inherit the crown of life. But we must look diligently for this, for the best of us has shrewd cause to suspect himself. And in church fellowship we ought to be very watchful lest the church as a whole should fail through lack of the true grace of God, and especially lest any root of bitterness springing up among us should trouble us, and thereby many be defiled. We must remember that though we are saved by grace, yet grace does not stupefy us, but rather quickens us into action. Though salvation depends upon the merits of Christ, yet those who receive those merits receive with them a faith that produces holiness.
New American Commentary - God's grace is always available 'to help us in our time of need' (He 4:16). Those who fail to depend on it and respond to it will not enter his heavenly kingdom (cf. He 3:12, 13, 14).
Poole - Lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any person among them should fail of grace offered in the gospel to it, and never have it, Titus 2:11-12; or apostatize from the profession of it, by seduction or persecution, Heb 4:1; 10:38; 2Co 6:1: compare Ga 1:6; 3:3.
The grace of God is undeserved, unsought, and unbought (except that it is made available by the precious blood of the Lamb of God). The infinitely high price of redemption was paid for by "the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor (His incarnation), that you through His poverty might become rich (spiritual riches that Jesus gives to all who place their trust in Him)." (2Cor 8:9)
Grace is God’s supernatural provision for our every need when we need it. God in His grace gives us what we do not deserve, and in His mercy He does not give us what we do deserve.
So the riches of our salvation (calling, election, justification, sanctification) were all made possible by the "impoverishment" of Christ Who became a man, suffered and died a cruel death on the cross so that grace could be manifested in our life. When we realize what it cost God to express grace, it helps us realize the wickedness of our sin and the undeserving state of mankind. What an amazing divine paradox -- grace was immeasurably costly for God to express and yet is unconditionally free to all men. Grace is God’s favor freely offered but expensively expressed!
Grace is not some static concept but is a dynamic force, which totally transforms the believer's life beginning with salvation (Acts 15:11; 18:27; Ro 3:24-note; Ep 1:7-note; Ep 2:5-note, Ep 2:8-note; 2Ti 1:9-note; Titus 2:11-note; Titus 3:7-note), continuing in our sanctification (2Pe 3:18-note, Titus 2:12-note - where grace "instructs" us in our daily walk of godliness) and then all through eternity in our glorification (1Pe 1:13-note, Ep 2:7-note). Grace enables the believer suffer/endure without grumbling or complaining, and enables our weakness or suffering to be used for God's glory. When a Christian turns away from living by God's grace, he or she must depend on their own power and this invariably leads to failure and disappointment.
Grace is distinct to Christianity for no other world religion has such a supernatural enablement, nor could they because grace is from God and every other world religion is anti-god at its core! The great news of the Gospel is that every believer has “received...grace upon grace” through our Lord Jesus Christ (Jn 1:16), because “grace and truth were realized through” Him (Jn 1:17) and He is “full of grace and truth” (Jn 1:14). And so from the very beginning of the birth of the Church in Acts we see that “abundant grace was upon them all" (the new believers composing the church) (Acts 4:33). In the epistles Paul wrote of the “grace in which we stand” (Ro 5:2-note). James adds that humility gives every believer access to grace that is greater than sin’s power (James 4:6; cp Ro 5:20-note). Peter described the “manifold [multi-colored - like Joseph's multicolored "dream coat"] grace of God” (1Pe 4:10-note) which is sufficient for "multicolored" trials (1Pe 1:6-note). In short, God always provides the sufficient grace for every trial (no exceptions!) Thus it is little wonder that Paul characterized this amazing grace as the “surpassing grace of God in [believers]” (2Co 9:14), and was confident that “God is able (present tense = He continuously has the ability) to make all (pas = all without exception) grace abound to you (referring to believers), that always (pantote from pas = all + tote = then) having all (pas) sufficiency in everything (pas), you may have an abundance for every (pas) good deed” (2Co 9:8 - note the "all" sufficient character of grace all the time to all believers! Praise God.).
The "grace of God" is described as...
THAT NO ROOT OF BITTERNESS SPRINGING UP CAUSES TROUBLE, AND BY IT MANY BE DEFILED: me tis rhiza pikrias ano phuousa (PAPFSN) enochle (3SPAS) kai di autes mianthosin (3PAPS) polloi: (He 3:12; Dt 29:18; 32:32; Is 5:4,7; Je 2:21; Mt 7:16, 17, 18) (Trouble - Josh 6:18; 7:25,26; 22:17-20; Ep 5:3; Col 3:5 ) (Ex 32:21; 1Ki 14:16; Ac 20:30,31; 1Co 5:6; 15:33; Gal 2:13; 2Ti 2:16,17; 2Pe 2:1,2,18)
See related topic - Forgiveness and Unforgiveness
For all you horticulturists out there, does not this passage present a powerful picture of the acrid fruit reaped when we we plant the seeds of bitterness in our heart?!
Hunt (Biblical Counseling Keys) has these insights on bitterness...
R Moffatt Gantry wrote the following that relates to the root of bitterness - Self (flesh) is the tumor of the soul, and it grows by what it feeds on. You cannot cure it by a few good resolutions. It requires the most drastic treatment, and Christ prescribes crucifixion as the only way of destroying this root of every kind of bitterness. (Ed: Note that flesh is still flesh even after we have been crucified with Christ, but now the battle can we waged victoriously as we surrender to the indwelling Spirit of grace).
Spurgeon - Sin is a bitter thing and a defiling thing; and unless we look diligently, it will grow in our hearts like the weeds grow in our gardens after a heavy rain. It will spring up before we are aware of it. The first person who is likely to fail in this church is myself. Each one ought to feel that; the beginning of the watch should therefore be at home. Depend upon it, if there is anyone likely to fall into sin it is you. Though I say “you,” I mean myself as well. Each man is himself most in danger. In the center of my lawn, horseradish will sprout up. After the smallest shower of rain, it rises above the grass and proclaims its vitality. There was a garden there once, and this root maintains its old position. When the gardener cuts it down, it resolves to rise again. Now, if the gardener cannot get it quite out of the ground, it is his business constantly to cut it down. Even when associated in church fellowship, each one brings his own particular poisonous root, and there are sure to be bad roots in the ground. We are to watch diligently lest any of these bitter poisonous roots spring up, for if they do they will trouble us.
Root - 17x in 16v - Mt 3:10; 13:6, 21; Mk 4:6, 17; 11:20; Lk 3:9; 8:13; Ro 11:16, 17, 18; 15:12; 1Ti 6:10; He 12:15; Re 5:5; 22:16.
We need to be very careful to not nurse a grudge for it can grow into a root of bitterness (listen to Steve Cantrell discuss the relation between ungratefulness, unforgiveness and bitterness - Mp3 Download)
See the OT example of a root of bitterness (Ge 37:8, 11) which led to the fruit of bitterness, attempted murder! (Ge 37:18)
Jamieson - root of bitterness -- not merely a "bitter root," which might possibly bring forth sweet fruits; this, a root whose essence is "bitterness," never could...The only safety is in rooting out such a root of bitterness... So long as it is hidden under the earth it cannot be remedied, but when it "springs up," it must be dealt with boldly. Still remember the caution (Mt 13:26, 27, 28, 29, 30) as to rooting out persons.
Baker NT Commentary - The roots of many weed plants spread rapidly and produce plants in all the places where the roots grow. These roots develop undetected; the resultant rapid multiplication of plants is quite unsettling. Roots and plants spell trouble for crop-producing plants that are then deprived of necessary nutrients and as a result yield a reduced harvest. With this picture borrowed from the world of agriculture, the author of Hebrews looks at the church and compares a person who has missed the grace of God (and has fallen away) with a bitter root. Such a person causes trouble among God's people by disturbing the peace. With his bitter words, he deprives the believers of holiness.
Adam Clarke - A root of bitterness signifies a poisonous plant. The Hebrews call every species of poison a bitter, and with considerable propriety, as most plants are poisonous in proportion to the quantum of the bitter principle they possess. The root of bitterness is here used metaphorically for a bad man, or a man holding unsound doctrines, and endeavoring to spread them in the Church.
John MacArthur - The root of bitterness refers to a person who is superficially identified with God's people, and who falls back into paganism. But he is no ordinary apostate. He is arrogant and defiant concerning the things of God. He thumbs his nose at the Lord. God's response to such boastful unbelief is harsh and final.
Bitterness (4088)(pikría from pikrós from pik- = to cut, prick) originally meant pointed or sharp, e.g., of arrows then more generally of what is “sharp” or “penetrating” to the senses, a bitter, pungent taste or smell and then what is “painful” to the feelings.
Pikria - 4x in 4v - Acts 8:23; Ro 3:14; Ep 4:31; He 12:15. All uses translated as bitterness.
Pikria - 19x in the Lxx - Ex 15:23; Deut 29:17; 32:32; Ps 9:28; 13:3; Job 3:20; 7:11; 9:18; 10:1; 21:25; Amos 6:12; Isa 28:21, 28; 37:29; Jer 2:21; 15:17; Lam 3:15, 19; Ezek 28:24
Pikria was used literally to describe plants that produced inedible or poisonous fruit. Greeks described the figurative use of pikria as long-standing resentment, as the spirit which refuses to be reconciled. So many of us have a way of nursing our wrath to keep it warm, of brooding over the insults and the injuries which we have received.
In the NT pikria is used in a metaphorical sense to describe animosity, resentfulness, harshness or an openly-expressed emotional hostility against an enemy. Pikria defines a settled hostility that poisons the whole inner man. Somebody does something we do not like, so we harbor ill will against him. Bitterness leads to wrath, which is the explosion on the outside of the feelings on the inside.
Bitterness—extreme enmity; sour temper
A. Kinds of:
The heart Pr 14:10
Death 1Sam. 15:32
B. Causes of:
Childlessness 1Sa 1:5, 10
A foolish son Pr 17:25
Sickness Is 38:17
C. Avoidance of:
Toward others Ep 4:31
As a source of defilement He 12:15
ISBE has this note on bitterness...
Vincent says this is "a bad man in the church"!
In the first use of pikria in the OT Moses records...
Bitterness reflects a smoldering resentment, a brooding grudge–filled attitude, an unwillingness to forgive or a harsh feeling. Bitterness is the opposite of sweetness and kindness (cf. husbands toward wives in Col 3:19-note). It harbors resentment and keeps score of wrongs (cf 1Cor 13:5-note)
Pikría or bitterness is the spirit of irritability that keeps a person in perpetual animosity, making him sour and venomous. Bitterness applies to the bitterness of spirit to which men give vent by bitter words.
Barclay adds that "the Greeks defined (pikría) as long-standing resentment, as the spirit which refuses to be reconciled. So many of us have a way of nursing our wrath to keep it warm, of brooding over the insults and the injuries which we have received. Every Christian might well pray that God would teach him how to forget."
Eadie says that pikria is "A figurative term denoting that fretted and irritable state of mind that keeps a man in perpetual animosity, that inclines him to harsh and uncharitable opinions of men and things, that makes him sour, crabby and repulsive in his general demeanor, that brings a scowl over his face & infuses venom into the words of his tongue.
Newell - Bitterness is ever ready! What fearful folly for a race speaking thus to imagine that by "being baptized, " and "joining the church" they are ready to "go to heaven, " and be in the holy company on high, with the meek and lowly Son of God and the holy angels, -and all this without a thought of being forgiven, washed, born again! (Romans 3: Devotional and Expositional)
Wiersbe has this practical comment on bitterness to which even believers can fall prey (although here in Hebrews, the reference appears to refer to an unsaved individual): An unforgiving spirit is the devil’s playground (cp Ep 4:29, 2Cor 2:11) and before long it becomes the Christian’s battleground. If somebody hurts us, either deliberately or unintentionally, and we do not forgive him, then we begin to develop bitterness within, which hardens the heart. We should be tenderhearted and kind, but instead we are hardhearted and bitter. Actually, we are not hurting the person who hurt us; we are only hurting ourselves. Bitterness in the heart makes us treat others the way Satan treats them, when we should treat others the way God has treated us. In His gracious kindness, God has forgiven us, and we should forgive others. We do not forgive for our sake (though we do get a blessing from it) or even for their sake, but for Jesus’ sake. Learning how to forgive and forget is one of the secrets of a happy Christian life. (Wiersbe, W: Bible Exposition Commentary. 1989. Victor)
Springing up (5453) (phuo) literally means to spring up in regard to a seed germinating and breaking through the surface of the ground. The use is figurative of course in this verse.
Phuo - 3x in 3v - Luke 8:6, 8; Heb 12:15. NAS = grew(2), springing(1).
Springing up is in the present tense which pictures the springing up in progress. The root is gradually revealing its pernicious character.
There are none so bitter against the truth as those who have departed from it. - James Philip
Causes trouble (1776) (enochleo from en = in + ochléo = disturb) means to excite disturbance, to trouble, annoy. The idea is to interfere or bother to the point of causing discomfort.
The only other NT use is by Luke who describes an episode from the life of Jesus "And He descended with them, and stood on a level place; and there was a great multitude of His disciples, and a great throng of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the coastal region of Tyre and Sidon, 18 who had come to hear Him, and to be healed of their diseases; and those who were troubled with unclean spirits were being cured. (Luke 6:17, 18) (Interesting use!)
Vincent has an interesting note on enochleo writing that it is "From ochlos, a crowd or mob (Ed note: Thayer has a similar note), with the idea of want of arrangement and discipline, and therefore of confusion and tumult. Hence it is applied to the noise and tumult of a crowd, and so passes into the sense of the trouble and annoyance caused by these, and of trouble generally, like the Latin turbae. Thus Herodotus says of Croesus, when on the funeral-pile he uttered the name of Solon, and the interpreters begged him to explain what he meant, “and as they pressed for an answer and grew troublesome” — I., 86. Frequent in medical language. Thus Hippocrates, “troubled with a spasm or tetanus.”
J Vernon McGee - Bitterness today is like quinine in a barrel of water. It doesn't take much to make the water bitter. I remember when I was a boy my mother would always tell me when I cut up a chicken, "Be careful and don't break the gall bladder. You'll ruin the whole chicken if you do." She was right. You could spoil the entire fowl if you broke the gall bladder. God wants to get rid of that gall bladder of bitterness in His church. For instance, Hebrews 12:15 says, "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." Just a few complainers and critics in the church can absolutely stifle any spiritual movement. Oh, how many lives have been wrecked by bitterness!
Ray Stedman summarizes missing the grace of God noting that "The writer has already warned of this in He 3:12 (note): “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.” Such unbelief is a bitter root which will create strife and defile many. The root is unbelief which refuses to reckon on God’s provision of righteousness because it feels confident it can produce an acceptable righteousness on its own. Strife and defilement are the bitter fruit which this root inevitably produces. It will reveal itself in two forms: sexual immorality or godlessness, like that of Esau. The first is defilement of the body; the second is defilement of the soul. Our author only touches on the first at this point but will bring it up again at He 13:4 (note). Yet this brief reference must not be missed for it equates sexual immorality in its effects with a godless spirit. (Hebrews 12:14-17 Dangers to Watch For)
Be defiled (3392) (miaino [word study]) means to contaminate, corrupt, taint, defile, tinge, pollute, make "dirty", make "unclean". Originally the verb miaino meant to stain, as with color, and then came to mean defile as by staining (with color). The verb defile actually conveys the idea of giving something color by painting or staining it. Homer for example has this phrase "Tinges the white ivory with purple." In classical Greek, miaino is the standing word for profaning something. Thus Plato wrote "And if a homicide... without purification pollutes the agora, or the games, or the temples,” etc. Figuratively in the NT miaino means to defile and stain and speaks especially of cultic and ceremonial impurity which causes something to be unacceptable.
Miaino - 5x in 4v - Jn 18:28; Titus 1:15; Heb 12:15; Jude 1:8. NAS = defile(1), defiled(4).
Miaino - 113x in the Lxx - Ge 34:5, 13, 27; 49:4; Ex 20:25; Lev 5:3; 11:24, 43f; 13:3, 8, 11, 14f, 20, 22, 25, 27, 30, 44, 59; 15:31f; 18:24f, 27f, 30; 20:3; 21:1, 3f, 11; 22:5, 8; Nu 5:3, 13f, 19f, 27ff; 6:7, 9, 12; 19:13, 20; 35:34; Deut 21:23; 24:4; 2 Kgs 23:8, 10, 13, 16; 2Chr 29:19; 36:14; Ps 78:1; 105:39; Job 31:11; Hos 5:3; 6:10; 9:4; Hag 2:13f; Is 43:28; 47:6; Jer 2:7, 23, 33; 3:1f; 7:30; Ezek 4:14; 5:11; 7:22, 24; 9:7; 14:11; 18:6, 11, 15; 20:7, 18, 26, 30f, 43; 22:3f, 11; 23:7, 13, 17, 30, 38; 24:13; 36:17; 37:23; 44:25; Da 7:26; 11:31f
As an aside this verb miaino is used some 30 times in the Septuagint (LXX) (which had about 104 uses!) and thus would likely have been a very familiar term to the Jewish readers (many of whom used the Septuagint as their primary OT Scripture).
The writer is quoting from Moses who referred to a root of bitterness in Deuteronomy...
We must be alert. Every fellowship of any size has a few “bitter roots” who follow false gods and subtly poison those around them. If we are to run well, the price is vigilance—especially in the good times.
Matthew Poole - And thereby many be defiled; lest by but one such poisonous root, a whole church of Christians may be infected and poisoned, their sin being as apt to spread and diffuse itself, as leaven, 1Co 5:6, to taint the whole lump, Ga 5:9: and how early, even in the apostles' time, for want of obeying this caution, were the primitive churches corrupted, both in doctrine and morals, by loose, filthy heretics among them!
Apostasy is a root of bitterness. The person turns sour against the Lord and repudiates the Christian faith. His defection is contagious. Others are defiled by his complaints, doubts, and denials.
In sum, this root of bitterness refers to the first century Jew who is considering leaving the teaching of grace and return to the Law and ritual of Judaism and thus induce others to commit the same offense.
Helen Grace Lesheid writing on on bitterness - It grows. It distorts reality. It keeps us chained to the past. Like bad air, it pollutes not just the bitter person, but those who come in contact with the person (He 12:15). (Breaking Free from Bitterness - Discipleship Journal, Vol 14, No. 6, Nov/Dec 1994)
Self-pity weeps on the devil’s shoulder, turning to Satan for comfort. His invitation is: “Come unto me all you that are grieved, peeved, misused, and disgruntled, and I will spread on the sympathy. You will find me a never-failing source of the meanest attitudes and the most selfish sort of misery. At my altar you may feel free to fail and fall, and there to sigh and fret. There I will feed your soul on fears, and indulge your ego with envy and jealousy, bitterness and spite. There I will excuse you from every cross, duty, and hardship, and permit you to yield unto temptation.” (From Green, M. P. Illustrations for Biblical Preaching)
The Cure for Bitterness is a Heavenly Vision (Pun intended) - The story of the blind songwriter Fanny Crosby (Click for additional bio and links to many of her hymns) who wrote more that 8,000 songs is a powerful example of a heart that refused to let the seeds of bitterness and unforgiveness germinate. When Fanny was only 6 weeks old a minor eye inflammation developed and as some tell the story, the doctor who treated her was a quack and the potion he prescribed resulted in her becoming totally and permanently blind! Talk about having a reason to be bitter! And yet this Spirit filled woman harbored no bitterness against the physician and was quoted as having said of him
Indeed Fanny Crosby considered her blindness to be a gift from God to help her write the 8000 hymns that flowed so freely from her pen. Warren Wiersbe in commenting on Fanny's life wrote that...
And so when God allowed life to give Fanny Crosby "lemons", instead of choosing bitterness, she turned the lemons into some of the sweetest hymns ever penned! In short, Fanny filled with the Spirit and the grace of God, turned tragedy into triumph, becoming better instead of bitter! May her tribe increase!
English essayist and critic Charles Lamb (1775–1834) once commented about a person he did not want to meet:
“Don’t introduce me to that man. I want to go on hating him, and I can’t hate someone I know.” Our Daily Bread
Myth: "You must forget in order to forgive." Truth: Forgiving is not forgetting. The key is how it is remembered.... Forgiving is remembering without bitterness, hatred or resentment (June Hunt - Biblical Counseling Keys - Biblical Counseling Keys)
Bitterness always inflicts a deeper wound on the person who harbors it than the person against whom it is directed. A man who had car trouble on a lonely road asked a farmer to tow him to the nearest garage. On the way his wife was protesting to her husband the fee the farmer charged. “It is scandalous,” she said, “to charge us ten dollars for towing this car only three miles.” To which her husband replied, “Never mind, dear. I’m having my revenge—I’ve got my brakes on.” Many a person has thought himself to be getting revenge, but all the time the major damage was being done to him. (Speaker's Quote Book)
Robert Louis Stevenson, in his Picturesque Notes of Edinburgh, tells the story of two unmarried sisters who shared a single room. As people are apt to do who live in close quarters, the sisters had a falling out, which Stevenson says was “on some point of controversial divinity.” In other words, they disagreed over some aspect of theology. The controversy was so bitter that they never spoke again (ever!). There were no words, either kind or spiteful — just silence. Nevertheless, possibly because of a lack of means, or because of the innate Scottish fear of scandal, they continued to keep house together in the single room. A chalk-line was drawn across the floor to separate their two domains. For years they coexisted in hateful silence. Each woman’s meals, baths, and family visitors were exposed to the other’s unfriendly silence. At night each went to bed listening to the heavy breathing of her enemy. Thus, the two sisters (ostensibly daughters of the Church!) continued the rest of their miserable lives. They probably were not true Christians, because Christians are not to resist reconciliation and forgiveness. (Hughes, R. K.: Ephesians: The Mystery of the Body of Christ. Crossway Books or Logos)
The Burden of Bitterness - Luis Palau writes...
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Purge Out The Poison - My friend and I were standing in the parking lot of a restaurant where we had just finished lunch. While we were discussing the damage a bitter spirit can cause, he took out his New Testament and solemnly read Hebrews 12:15 to me: "Looking carefully . . . lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled."
In the six long decades since our conversation, the sad truth of that warning has been repeatedly verified by my experiences in pastoral ministry. Bitterness is a poison, and if not purged out by prayer, confession, and forgiveness, it does great emotional damage and destroys relationships. A little grudge that festers can become a devastating malignancy of soul. That's why the advice in Hebrews must be diligently heeded.
Have you been holding fast to the memory of some insult, some event, some criticism? As Paul put it in Ephesians 4:26-note, "Do not let the sun go down on your wrath." Take the proper steps to resolve the problem right away.
Holding a grudge poisons our spiritual lives. With the Holy Spirit's help, let's uproot any bitterness right now. It's amazing how joyful our lives will be when we allow God to purge out the poison of bitterness. --V C Grounds (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
Thinking It Through
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Sunk by Own Attack (USS Tang in Wikipedia) - During World War II the U.S. submarine Tang surfaced under the cover of darkness to fire upon a large Japanese convoy off the coast of China. Since previous raids had left the American vessel with only eight torpedoes, the accuracy of every shot was absolutely essential. The first seven missiles were right on target; but when the eighth was launched, it suddenly deviated and headed right back at their own ship. The emergency alarm to submerge rang out, but it was too late. Within a matter of seconds the U.S. sub received a direct hit and sank almost instantly. Instead of doing battle with the enemy, Christians often use God's Word like a torpedo to attack one another. With precisely aimed missiles of criticism, contempt, or callousness, we can cripple the body of Christ, of which we are all members. You cannot sink someone else's end of the boat and still keep your own afloat. (Ed: "Amen" or "Oh my"!)
In much the same way we can destroy ourselves by our enmity and hostility directed toward others. The effects of holding a grudge are very serious. In fact, modern medicine has shown that emotions such as bitterness and anger can cause problems such as headaches, backaches, ulcers, high blood pressure, even contributing to the increased incidence of heart attacks, etc. When we do not love our enemies (Mt 5:44-note where "love" = present imperative - keep on loving them in effect "70 x 7"!) but strike back at them, we are usurping God's prerogative to mete out justice (Ro 12:17-note, Ro 12:18, 19, 20, 21-note). When we seek to take our own revenge, beloved, we in effect are aiming the torpedo at our own heart and are sure to incur severe damage ourselves. For the sake of God's Holy Name and the forgiveness wrought in our behalf by the Cross of Christ, may the Spirit give each of us the necessary desire and power in the "knick of time" so that we think before we act in haste and hatred. Amen (Quoted in part by Lenya Heitzig and Penny Rose - Pathway to Living Faith James)
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His father and I were good friends. The man whom I shall call John died suddenly, leaving a devastating shock. Years later, John, Jr., moved to the city where we were located. Hearing I was serving a church in the community, he looked us up, and eventually affiliated with our congregation. I was delighted to think he wanted to be part of our fellowship. Like his father, I assumed he, too, was a commendable churchman. I soon learned, however, that he was bitter over his father's death, was blaming God, and trying to punish Him for taking his father in the prime of life. When Victory Sunday arrived—the day we underwrite the program needs of the church—young John wrote a big "0" on his pledge card. This bright, attractive, articulate man with a splendid business connection had permitted bitterness to consume his potential, distort his personality, and sour his soul. The antidote to bitterness is acceptance and forgiveness. What if God had retaliated for the crucifixion of His son? The cross would be just another death marker; there would be no church, no salvation! (1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching)
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Vindictiveness - It is said that when Otto Von Bismarck surrendered to resentment, he ate too much, drank too much, talked too much, and spent his nights rehearsing conflicts real and imaginary. He carried the bile of bitterness and the inner seethings of resentment. When he had no immediate cause for hate, he would dredge up a skeleton from the past and chew on it for awhile. One morning Bismarck proudly announced, "I have spent the whole night hating." So, the weight of resentment eventually broke his health. He grew a beard to hide the twitching muscles of his face. Jaundice, gastric ulcers, gallstones, and shingles wracked his body. After ascending to enviable prominence and power, he spent his sullen retirement in shameful vindictiveness. When a publisher offered him a large sum of money for his life's story, he began to write with a reckless disregard for truth, heaping hate on men and women long dead. Hatred was Bismarck's passion. He died at the age of eighty-three, an embittered, cynical, desperately lonely old man, miserable and self-consumed. (1000 Illustrations for Preaching and Teaching)
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Good Dads - Columnist Leonard Pitts Jr. grew up with a father he describes as physically present but emotionally absent. In his first book on parenting, Pitts openly chronicles his struggle to come to terms with his alcoholic father and the climate of fear he had created in their home. Pitts challenges all men to resolve the resentment toward their absent or abusive fathers instead of passing it on to the next generation.
There's a passage in Hebrews 12 that applies to all Christians, but it has special relevance to dads. It reads:
Think of what could happen in our families if we emptied our hearts of bitterness and made peaceful relationships our goal! If we have been blessed with a wise and loving father, we should be grateful and follow his example. But if our father has failed us, we must rely on God's grace, resolve our anger toward him, and strive to be the kind of dad we never had. It won't be easy, but with our heavenly Father as a perfect example, we can learn to be good dads. —David C. McCasland (Ibid)
A faithful father leads by love
William Cowper, the great hymn writer, after his attempt at suicide had been frustrated, returned home and wrote:
Amplified: That no one may become guilty of sexual vice, or become a profane (godless and sacrilegious) person as Esau did, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau. He traded his birthright as the oldest son for a single meal. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: lest any one be a fornicator, or a profane person, as Esau, who in exchange for one morsel of food did sell his birthright,
THAT [THERE BE] NO IMMORAL OR GODLESS PERSON LIKE ESAU WHO SOLD HIS OWN BIRTHRIGHT FOR A SINGLE MEAL: me tis pornos e bebelos os Esau os anti (Idea of exchange) broseos mias apedeto (3SAMI) ta prototokia heautou: (He 13:4; Mark 7:21; Acts 15:20,29; 1Corinthians 5:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6,9, 10, 11; 6:15, 16, 17, 18, 19 20; 10:8; 2Co 12:21; Gal 5:19, 20, 21; Ep 5:3,5; Col 3:5; 1Th 4:1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7; Re 2:20, 21, 22, 23; 21:8; 22:15 )
Spurgeon - Does it not seem strange that after speaking to us about being God’s sons and favored with His love, yet even then, in that clear blaze of light, there comes in this caution against fornication and profanity. How near a foul spot may be to lily-like whiteness! How Judas may sit side by side with favored and true-hearted apostles, and may be near the Master, too. “The one who thinks that he stands must watch out lest he fall” (1 Cor 10:12). And if at any time the pottage should seem very sweet and we should be very hungry, if the world’s gain should be almost necessary to our livelihood, and we are tempted to do an unrighteous thing to get it, let us take care. Esau could not undo the terrible act of selling his birthright; neither could we if we were permitted to do so. God grant we may be spared from such a dreadful crime!
Immoral (4205) (pornos [word study] from pernáo = sell <> peráo = pass thru, carry over particularly as merchants do and thence to sell) is a fornicator or sexually immoral person. It is one who commits sexual immorality.
Pornos - 10x in 10v - 1Co 5:9, 10, 11; 6:9; Ep 5:5-note; 1Ti 1:10; Heb. 12:16; He 13:4-note; Rev. 21:8-note; Re 22:15-note NAS = fornicators(2), immoral(2), immoral men(1), immoral people(2), immoral person(1), immoral persons(2).
Here the writer asserts in clearest terms that Esau was sexually immoral, calling him a pornos, from which we get the word pornography. Interestingly, the Old Testament does not say he was a fornicator unless it is implied in his marrying the two Canaanite daughters of Heth, who subsequently made life miserable for his parents (cf. Ge 26:34, 35). Rabbinical tradition, however, both Palestinian and Hellenistic, paints Esau as a man completely subject to his libido.
Godless (952) (bebelos [word study] from baíno = to go + belos = threshold, particularly of a temple) refers properly to one who either was or ought to have been debarred from going over the threshold or entrance of the temple. The picture is that which is trodden under foot and which thus describes that which is the antithesis of that which is holy or set apart. Bebelos thus describes that which is accessible to everyone and therefore devoid of real significance. Bebelos can thus describe that which is worldly as opposed to having an interest in transcendent (existing apart from and not subject to the limitations of the material universe) matters.
Bebelos - 5 times in the NT - 1Ti 1:9; 4:7; 6:20; 2Ti 2:16; Heb. 12:16. NAS = godless person(1), profane(1), worldly(3).
The meaning of this adjective is nicely conveyed by our English word profane which describes that which disregards what is to be kept sacred or holy. The English word "profane" is derived from the Latin profanus which means "outside the temple, not sacred" and in turn is derived from pro- ‘before’ + fanum = ‘temple’.
Profane describes a mindset which takes little notice of anything beyond the material.
Bebelos suggests that which is void of all connection with, or relation to, God. There is nothing sacred about these fables. By using bebelos Paul is not saying that the fables were blasphemous per se but that they did not possess the character of truth and sound doctrine.
Vincent - The verb bebeloo means "to profane, pollute", (Matt. 12:5; Acts 24:6, and often in LXX). Derived from belos = threshold (compare to baino = to go). Hence the primary sense is that which may be trodden. Compare to Latin profanus meaning before the temple or on the ground outside. What is permitted to be trodden by people at large is unhallowed, profane. Esau is called bebelos in Heb. 12:16, as one who did not regard his birthright as sacred, but as something to be sold in order to supply a common need. (Vincent's Word Studies)
A godless person is one who has no regard for God, whose focus is only on physical pleasures. Like Esau such a one would not consider the birthright in the Abrahamic Covenant of any value and thus he despise it
Calvin says of such that the godless are "those in whom the love of the world so holds sway and prevails, that they forget heaven as men who are carried away by ambition, addicted to money and riches, given over to gluttony, and entangled with other kinds of pleasures, and give the spiritual kingdom of Christ either no place or the last place in their concerns.
Westcott sums up this word by saying that it describes the man whose mind recognizes nothing higher than earth, for whom there is nothing sacred, who has no reverence for the unseen. An unhallowed life is a life without any awareness of or interest in God. In its thoughts, aims, pleasures, it is completely earthbound. We have to have a care lest we drift into a frame of mind and heart which has no horizon beyond this world, for that way inevitably lie the failure of chastity and the loss of honour.
Birthright (4415l) (prototokia from prototokos; corresponding Hebrew word = bekowrah see 01062) is the rights of the firstborn (the prototokos). The birthright among the ancient patriarchal Hebrews conferred upon the eldest son the right of religious leadership (acting as the so–called priest of the family) and promised a double portion of the father’s estate (Dt 21:17) which indicated his authority over the his younger siblings. Thus the firstborn was not only a type of Christ as the Firstborn and High Priest of God, but also a type of Christians as the firstborn who are written in heaven and are partakers of the eternal inheritance (cf. He 12:23-note). Slighting the birthright was both slighting the high honor of officiating in God’s name, and despising that eternal inheritance which was typified by the double portion.
Esau sold his birthright to Jacob as indicated in this narrative by Moses...
Spurgeon - He was thus guilty of spiritual fornication, preferring his meat to his Maker, thinking more of one morsel of meat than of his birthright. Those who seek the pleasures of the flesh rather than the pleasures of a higher world are here put side by side with Esau. Now Esau sold the right to his future heritage for a present mess of pottage. Many there are who do something very like that: sell their souls for a little Sunday trading, or for a little carnal company, a little of that fool’s mirth which is like the crackling of thorns under a pot. They are willing to damn themselves to all eternity because they cannot bear the jeers and sneers of a ribald world. Let us not be like them or like Esau!
Stedman sums up Esau (and those who would emulate his behavior) concluding that "He thought so little of the promises of God to Abraham and Isaac, to which he was the primary heir as the firstborn, that he sold those rights to his brother Jacob for a bowl of stew! So unimportant was this transaction in his eyes that later he assumed he could still receive the blessing which accompanied the right of firstborn. Though his brother Jacob had tricked their blind father into conferring the blessing upon himself, Esau still tried to change his father’s words and gain the blessing he had sold. His father could not and would not change his mind, so Esau lost both the birth right and the blessing. That is the secular mentality. It has little time for worship or service, but it is intent upon material gain and earthly advantage. Professing Christians who claim to be born again but who live no differently than non-Christians are repeating the godlessness of Esau. Like him they too will find a surprising rejection in the last day. Jesus has them in mind when he says, “Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’” (Mt 7:23-note). (Hebrews 12:14-17 Dangers to Watch For)
Apostasy is illustrated by Esau. He had no real appreciation and no desire for the birthright and therefore he willingly bartered it for the momentary gratification of his appetite. As recorded earlier we saw that "Esau despised his birthright." He was the prototype of an ungodly man who had no affinity for the things of God (in essence trodding the Holy things of God under foot). He illustrates the one who has had the light of the truth but who falls away (He 6:6-note) , who sins willfully (He 10:26-note) and there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.
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Our Daily Bread - What's Worth Keeping? - A story is told of a man who loved old books. He met an acquaintance who had just thrown away a Bible that had been stored in the attic of his ancestral home for generations. "I couldn't read it," the friend explained. "Somebody named Guten-something had printed it." "Not Gutenberg!" the book lover exclaimed in horror. "That Bible was one of the first books ever printed. A copy just sold for over two million dollars!"
His friend was unimpressed. "Mine wouldn't have brought a dollar. Some fellow named Martin Luther had scribbled all over it in German."
This fictitious story shows how a person can treat as worthless that which is valuable. That's what Esau did. Although he was a nice enough fellow, Esau was a "profane" man because he sold his spiritual birthright "for one morsel of food" (Hebrews 12:16). Only when it was too late to undo his wretched bargain did he realize that he had sacrificed the permanent on the altar of the immediate.
We had better be careful of the "bargains" we make in life. Our culture places a high price on what is worthless and throws away as worthless what is of eternal value.
Ask the Lord to help you discern what's worth keeping and what is best discarded.—Haddon W. Robinson (Our Daily Bread, Copyright RBC Ministries, Grand Rapids, MI. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved)
The little choices we must make
Amplified: For you understand that later on, when he wanted [to regain title to] his inheritance of the blessing, he was rejected (disqualified and set aside), for he could find no opportunity to repair by repentance [what he had done, no chance to recall the choice he had made], although he sought for it carefully with [bitter] tears. (Amplified Bible - Lockman)
NLT: And afterward, when he wanted his father's blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he wept bitter tears. (NLT - Tyndale House)
Young's Literal: for ye know that also afterwards, wishing to inherit the blessing, he was disapproved of, for a place of reformation he found not, though with tears having sought it.
FOR YOU KNOW THAT EVEN AFTERWARDS WHEN HE DESIRED TO INHERIT THE BLESSING: iste (2PRAI) gar hoti kai metepeita thelon (PAPMSN) kleronomesai (AAN) ten eulogian:
For (gar) - Here is another use of this helpful term of explanation which we do well to learn to pause and ponder.
Even afterwards - This refers to Moses record in Genesis 27...
Inherit (2816)(kleronomeo from kleros = First a pebble, piece of wood used in casting lots as in Acts 1:26 then the allotted portion or inheritance, and so a lot, heritage, inheritance + nemomai = to possess; see Kleronomos) means to receive a lot or share of an inheritance, inherit a portion of property or receive a possession as gift from someone who has died.
Esau was remorseful at the loss of the older son’s double portion, but it was too late. His father could not reverse the blessing.
Esau had no regard for spiritual values, no need for God in his life. As noted earlier Esau typifies that man the writer of Hebrews describes as willingly renounces the truth about Christ in order to escape reproach, suffering, or martyrdom. The writer has just told them that there is a great hall of faithful saints who have finished the race and so can they. The conflict of sufferings they were experiencing was a manifestation of God's loving discipline (Hebrews 12:5-11) so that they should not lose heart but run with endurance, strengthening the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble. And then the writer presents for their consideration a stark contrast with those in Hebrews 11 -- the immoral and godless Esau who had light but he fell away (He 6:4-6 -see notes He 6:4; 6:5; 6:6), sinning willfully (He 10:26-note). Such a man cannot be renewed to repentance and there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins. Such a man may exhibit great emotion with loud weeping but it is only worldly sorrow and it only leads to remorse and ultimately to death in contrast to genuine godly sorrow which leads to repentance and ultimately to true life.
Esau may have desired the blessing but the writer has clearly taught that without faith it is impossible to please God (He 11:6-note) and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him, not those who diligently seek the blessing!
Blessing (2129)(eulogia from eú = good, well + lógos = word; English = eulogy = a commendatory formal statement) is literally a good word, good speaking, fine speech or praise. Eulogia is the act of speaking favorably (cp Rev 5:12, 13, 7:12).
Eulogia - 16 times in the NT - Ro. 15:29; 16:18; 1 Co. 10:16; 2 Co. 9:5f; Gal. 3:14; Eph. 1:3; Heb. 6:7; 12:17; Jas. 3:10; 1 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 5:12f; 7:12
Spurgeon - He could not get his father to change his mind concerning Jacob; on the contrary, he said, “I blessed him. Moreover, and he will be blessed” (Gen 27:33). His many tears did not avail; they were not repenting tears, but only selfish ones. He did not repent that he had bartered his birthright for a mess of pottage; he regretted that he had lost the blessing, and that was all.
HE WAS REJECTED FOR HE FOUND NO PLACE FOR REPENTANCE THOUGH HE SOUGHT FOR IT WITH TEARS: apedokimasthe (3SAPI) metanoias gar topon ouch heuren (3SAAI) kaiper meta dakruon ekzetesas (AAPMSN) auten: (He 6:8; Proverbs 1:24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31; Jer 6:30; Matthew 7:23; 25:11,12; Luke 13:24, 25, 26, 27 ) (He 6:4,5, 6; 10:26, 27, 28, 29 )
Was rejected (593)(apodokimazo [word study] from apó =off, away from, a marker of dissociation, implying a rupture from a former association + dokimazo = approve after examination - proving a thing worthy or genuine. Put to the test for the purpose of approving - Ro 1:28-note) means to judge someone or something as not being worthy or genuine and thus someone or something to be rejected. In classic Greek there is a secular use describing coins rejected as counterfeit or after scrutiny or trial to reject a candidate because of lack of qualification. Reject after testing or scrutinizing. Declare useless. Throw out as the result of a test! (think of the tragic absurdity this meaning conveys in light of the NT uses that speak of rejection of the Precious Messiah!). The word means to be rejected completely!
Apodokimazo in context speaks of a deliberate choice and one which is final and thus it speaks of no second chance for Esau (aorist tense = past completed action) .
NIDNTT has this note on the root and the related words (especially in classic Greek) - The root dek-, dechomai, accept, gives two verbal derivatives dokeo and dokao. The former means (intrans.) to appear, have the appearance, (trans.) to think, believe, consider right; the latter means expect. Derivatives of the former are: (a) dokimos, trustworthy, reliable, tested, recognized, used as a technical term for genuine, current coinage, but also applied to persons enjoying general esteem; (b) adokimos, untested, not respected; (c) indirectly also dokimion, test, probation; (d) from dokimos are also derived dokimazo, test, pronounce good, establish by trial, recognize, and apodokimazo, disapprove of, reject, blame; dokimasis and dokimasia, investigation, testing (preparatory to installing in an office); dokime, approved character, trial. (Brown, Colin, Editor. New International Dictionary of NT Theology. 1986. Zondervan)
Most of the NT uses (see below) reflect reflection of the Messiah by His own people, the Jews (cp Jn 1:11, 12, 13)
In fact Larry Richards writes that "Apodokimazo indicates putting something or someone to the test and rejecting that object or person as unfit or not genuine. This word is used in nearly every instance of the Jewish people's examination of Jesus and their rejection of him as the Messiah, the Son of God.
Apodokimazo - 9 times in the NT - Matt. 21:42; Mk. 8:31; 12:10; Lk. 9:22; 17:25; 20:17; Heb. 12:17; 1Pet. 2:4, 7
Matthew 21:42 Jesus said to them, "Did you never read in the Scriptures, 'The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone; This came about from the Lord, And it is marvelous in our eyes '? (Quoting Ps 118:22, 23-note, Isa 28:16 - When Christ, the Stone, presented Himself to the builders—the leaders of Israel, they had no place for Him in their building plans. They declared Him as useless and threw Him aside!) (Related Resource: Christ, the Rock, the Stone - Click here for Scripture chain & chart - this would make a great Sunday School series)
Mark 8:31 And He began to teach them that the Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes, and be killed, and after three days rise again.
Comment: Wuest writes that "The religious leaders of Israel put Jesus to the test for the purpose of approving Him as Messiah, for they were looking for their Messiah. But He did not meet their specifications. He was not the kind of a Messiah the Jews wanted. They wanted a military leader who would liberate them from the yoke of Rome, not a Saviour who would free them from their bondage to sin. The article ("the") appears (in the original Greek) before each word, elders, chief priests, and scribes, saddling each, Expositors says, with his separate responsibility. (Wuest, K. S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament: Eerdmans or Logos)
Mark 12:10 "Have you not even read this Scripture: 'The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone;
Comment: Wuest writes that "The leaders of Israel investigated His claims, found them to be true, substantiated by the miracles He performed (John 3:2), yet with all this evidence, rejected Him as Messiah because He did not meet their specifications. They were looking for a Messiah who would deliver Israel from the despotism of Rome, not from the dominion of sin. But this Messiah will some day become the King of kings and Lord of lords over the earth as the Head of the Millennial empire, the Headstone of the Corner.
Luke 9:22 saying, "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised up on the third day."
Luke 17:25 "But first He must suffer many things and be rejected by this generation.
Luke 20:17 But He looked at them and said, "What then is this that is written, 'The stone which the builders rejected, This became the chief corner stone'?
Hebrews 12:17 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.
1 Peter 2:4-note And coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected by men, but choice and precious in the sight of God,
1 Peter 2:7-note This precious value, then, is for you who believe. But for those who disbelieve, "The stone which the builders rejected, This became the very corner stone,"
Apodokimazo is used 6 times in the Septuagint (LXX)...
Psalm 118:22-note The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief corner stone.
Jeremiah 6:30 They call them rejected silver, Because the LORD has rejected them.
Jeremiah 7:29 'Cut off your hair and cast it away, And take up a lamentation on the bare heights; For the LORD has rejected and forsaken The generation of His wrath.'
Jeremiah 8:9 "The wise men are put to shame, They are dismayed and caught; Behold, they have rejected the word of the LORD, And what kind of wisdom do they have? (What an oxymoron - "wise men" rejecting the only source of true wisdom! Deception is an amazing thing!)
Jeremiah 14:19 Hast Thou completely rejected Judah? Or hast Thou loathed Zion? Why hast Thou stricken us so that we are beyond healing? We waited for peace, but nothing good came; And for a time of healing, but behold, terror!
Jeremiah 31:37 Thus says the LORD, "If the heavens above can be measured, And the foundations of the earth searched out below, Then I will also cast off all the offspring of Israel For all that they have done," declares the LORD.
Spurgeon - Esau never repented of his sin, but only of the consequences of it. He never sought pardon of God, but only sought to inherit the blessing. And there will be many who have lived for this world, and loved it, who, when they wake up in another world, will begin to seek the blessing, but they will be rejected. This may happen even in this world. If they only seek to die the death of the righteous, and do not seek the pardon of their sin, they shall hear the Lord say to them, “Because I called out, and you refused me, I stretched out my hand, yet there is none who heeds. You have ignored all my counsel, and my reproof you are not willing to accept. I will also laugh at your calamity; I will mock when panic comes upon you” (Pr 1:24–27). Esau wanted to have this world, and the next too. He wanted to have the pottage and the birthright; he wanted to be a fine gentleman among the Hittites and yet have the blessing. He wanted to have his wife of a fine noble Philistine family, and be thought a famous fellow among them, and yet at the same time have the blessing that belonged to the separate people of God. With tears he sought to get that blessing, but he could not have it. (Ed: This reminds us of Jesus' words in Mt 6:24-note and of Joshua's words - Joshua 24:15. See also Ru 1:15,16-note 1Ki 18:21 Ezek 20:39 John 6:67 ) Spurgeon adds that the situation with Esau was "like John Bunyan’s parable of Passion and Patience in Pilgrim’s Progress. Passion would have his best things first; Patience would have his best things last. Passion had all his best things, and laughed at Patience as Patience sat there. But after a while, Passion had used up all his best things and then he had nothing left. But Patience had his best things last, and, as Bunyan says, “There is nothing after the last, so the good things of Patience lasted forever and ever.” So it is with the good things of Jacob, when he chose the good part and sought after it. Even with all his sin, it lasted, and his name is in the covenant, and he rejoices at this day before the throne of God.
Sought (1567) (ekzeteo from ek = out or to intensify the meaning + zeteo = to seek) means to seek out, to look for, to search diligently for anything lost. This verb implies that the seeker exerts considerable effort and care in learning something.
Ekzeteo - 7 times in the NT - Lk. 11:50, 51; Acts 15:17; Rom. 3:11; Heb. 11:6; 12:17; 1 Pet. 1:10
The "Linguistic Key to the Greek New Testament" (Rienecker) notes that the preposition "ek" in this compound "always seems to denote that the seeker finds, or at least exhausts his powers of seeking."
The point is that Esau showed a worldly sorrow (for getting caught, for not being able to enjoy the benefit of the blessing, but he totally lacked any desire for the "Blesser", for God Himself). There was no "godly sorrow" such as Paul writes about explaining that it is...
There was no "repentance without regret" and thus the result for Esau was death. What an irony. He so despised his birthright that he sold it for a cup of soup claiming that if he didn't get it he would die (Ge 25:32). He was prophetic! He did die but not like he thought.
God’s message to all who are in the race is clear: To give free rein to our sexual ("immoral and godless") and physical appetites will ruin our race and if that is the habitual practice of one's life, it indicates that person was never truly regenerate and did not possess the indwelling Holy Spirit Who directs one's heart toward Holy desires and away from godlessness. As Paul warned the saints in Ephesus "For this you know with certainty, that no immoral or impure person or covetous man, who is an idolater, has an inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God. 6 Let no one deceive you with empty words, for because of these things the wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience. (See notes Ephesians 5:5; 5:6)
So beloved, stop being deceived. Those who run the race like Esau will receive Esau's just recompense. As the writer warned in Hebrews 2 - For if the word spoken through angels proved unalterable, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompense, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation? After it was at the first spoken through the Lord, it was confirmed to us by those who heard, (see notes Hebrews 2:2; 2:3).
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F B Meyer - Our Daily Walk - LOST OPPORTUNITIES-
"O Jerusalem .... how often would I have gathered thy children together .... and ye would not!"-- Mat 23:37.
THE GREEKS represented Opportunity as bald, with no lock of hair by which she could be laid hold of as she turned away and fled. Every one has opportunity, but there is often no symptom of its approach, no sign of its departure; when once it is missed, it rarely comes again! It is said that Queen Victoria once gave a comparatively unknown painter the opportunity of a private sitting. She came at the exact time that was arranged, but he was five minutes late, and he lost his opportunity!
Esau bartered his birthright! What cared he for the spiritual prerogative of the first-born to act as the priest of the clan, and to stand in the possible lineal descent of the Messiah. He craved what would satisfy and please his senses. But when he had sold his birthright, he was held to the transaction. "He found no place of repentance" does not mean that he wished to and could not, but that the die was cast, the decision was deemed final. It is within the range of every one to do an act, to make a choice, to barter away the spiritual for the material so absolutely, that the decision is held irrevocable. Let us take care lest we be betrayed by passion into an act which may affect our entire destiny.
The outstretched wing of God's love would have sheltered Jerusalem from its impending fate, but she refused Him in His servants and His Son, and her day of opportunity passed!
Even so, salvation waits for us all, and there is hope and opportunity for us to repent as long as the day of grace is not closed, but let us not forget, as McCheyne said, that Christ gives last knocks. The present is your time of hope, of a fresh beginning, of a new opportunity. Open the door of your life to Christ and make Him King. He offers you your chance, rise to it; do your very best, find your niche of service in His Kingdom, and set yourself to follow Him with all your heart, and mind, and strength.
PRAYER- O Lord, let us not serve Thee with the spirit of bondage as slaves, but with the cheerfulness and gladness of children, delighting ourselves in Thee and rejoicing in Thy work. AMEN.