Hebrews 12:13-19

Sunday, July 9th, 2017

KEEP GOING WHILE PURSUING

PEACE AND HOLINESS

INTRODUCTION:

 

In Hebrews 12:1-17 believers are commanded that they should follow the example of these Old Testament saints and run with patience the race that is set before them; whereas, in 12:18-24 it is seen that God can be approached through Jesus.

 

In chapter 12 we have already seen –

      1.   That you should keep your eyes fixed on Jesus – 12:1-4

 

      2.   That believers should expect chastisement – 12:5

 

      3.   That God’s chastening shows that God loves you – 12:6a

 

      4.   That God’s chastening shows that you are God’s child – 12:6b-7

 

      5.   That a lack of chastisement in someone’s life shows that he is not a legitimate child of God – 12:8

 

      6.   That God’s chastisement is intended to result in your submission to Him – 12:9

 

      8.   That God’s chastisement is for your benefit – 12:10a

 

      9.   That God’s chastisement is intended to produce holiness in your life – 12:10b

 

      10. That chastisement is not pleasant – 12:11a

 

      11. That chastisement produces righteousness in the lives of those who learn from it – 12:11b

 

      12. That believers should stop being discouraged by God’s chastisement – 12:12

As we move on, we see that believers should –

    I.     KEEP GOING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION – 12:13

 

Hebrews 12:13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

 

Verse 13 continues the inference being drawn which was begun in verse 12.

 

Make straight paths for your feet is the next admonition.

 

Paths are wheeltracks, courses, or ways.

 

Straight is used in the sense of in a straight line, and the implication is that believers are to make straight paths upon which they might advance quickly and in the right direction in their Christian lives.

 

They should go straight ahead for God instead of retreating or turning off to one side or the other.

 

Lest that which is lame be turned out of the way means in order that, for the purpose that, or so that what is lame not turn away or veer off.

 

That which is lame is what is crippled.

 

Be turned out of the way is turn away or veer off.

 

The word translated be turned out of the way is sometimes used as a medical technical term meaning be dislocated or put out of joint and seems best understood in this verse in the sense of be dislocated.

 

But let it rather be healed indicates a positive purpose.

 

But introduces a mild contrast.

 

Rather suggests instead.

 

Let it . . . be healed means in order that (or so that) it may be healed (or cured).

 

In other words, believers are to make straight paths for their feet in order that or so that they may be delivered from whatever problems they face.

 

Believers need to realize that their lives contain things that do not belong there; and rather than their turning away and being no longer usable or useful in God’s service, they should endure the chastisement or correction that their heavenly Father sends their way for the purpose of removing these things or straightening them out.

 

This will enable them to be healed or delivered from these things which have no part in their Christian lives and to be useful in His service rather than crippled and, therefore, ineffective and possibly hindrances to others.

We also see that believers should –

  II.     FOLLOW PEACE AND HOLINESS WITH ALL PEOPLE – 12:14

 

Hebrews 12:14 Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord.

 

Follow means run after or pursue. When used figuratively as in this verse, it means strive for, seek after, aspire to, or pursue.

 

Its tense indicates that it is to be an ongoing and normal activity. Thus, believers are to be continuously pursuing peace.

 

The believers should do their best to have a peaceful relationship with all persons. They should do nothing that would in any way bring persecution or affliction into their lives unnecessarily.

 

Although standing for what is right may bring persecution, believers should not bring persecution upon themselves by doing right in a wrong manner.

 

This, of course, would interfere with their living for the Lord.

 

With all men is literally with all and implies with all persons.

 

As indicated by the italics, men has been supplied by the translators in order to aid the understanding of the English reader and is to be understood in the sense of people rather than in the sense of adult males.

 

Believers are not only to be pursuing peace with all people; but they are also to be pursuing holiness, i.e. consecration or sanctification.

 

Holiness is the word which has set apart as its base meaning. Thus, they should be setting themselves apart for the Lord’s service from all things which would be contrary to the Lord and which would compromise their individual testimonies and/or hinder their Christian service.

 

They should be striving after this complete or perfect sanctification.

 

Of course, they have already been saved; and they have already been set apart for the Lord and His use.

 

However, in this life they are to be working at removing sin and living faithfully for the Lord.

 

Without which no man shall see the Lord indicates that apart from holiness, no one is going to see Christ.

 

Christ has sanctified the believer at the time of the believer’s salvation.

 

Hebrews 10:10 says, By the which will we are sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

 

Hebrews 10:14 says, For by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified.

 

All believers are set apart from sin and its consequences at the time of their salvation, and they need to be bringing their practice into conformity with their position in Christ.

 

Those who are truly saved will seek to bring their lives into conformity to their position in Christ by seeking to live holy lives for Him.

 

Practical holiness in their lives is the evidence of their salvation. Those who are not truly saved will not demonstrate this practical holiness in their lives, and they will not see the Lord.

 

The lack of practical holiness in their lives could well be an evidence of their lost condition.

 

Shall see the Lord is predictive of a future event which is definitely going to happen. Saved people will someday see the Lord.

Next, we should –

 III.     TAKE CARE THAT NO ONE MISS THE GRACE OF GOD – 12:15A

 

Hebrews 12:15 a – Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God. . . .

 

Looking diligently means taking care or seeing to it and suggests while looking diligently (i.e. while seeing to it or taking care), look diligently (i.e. see to it or take care), or be (or continue) looking diligently (i.e. seeing to it or taking care).

 

Lest any man fail of the grace of God provides the reason people should look diligently.

 

It means in order that no one come too late for the grace of God, in order that no one miss the grace of God, in order that no one fail to reach the grace of God, or in order that no one be excluded from the grace of God.

 

Of the grace of God implies from the grace of God or away from the grace of God.

 

It does not indicate that they once attained the grace of God and then lost it. These people were never saved. They came up to it and then went away from it. They did not first enter into it and then go out of it. They never entered the realm of the grace of God by being saved.

 

A second negative purpose clause follows.

We should also –

 IV.     TAKE CARE THAT NO ONE ARISE LIKE A ROOT OF BITTERNESS AND CAUSE TROUBLE AND DEFILE MANY – 12:15B

 

Hebrews 12:15 b – . . . Lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled.

 

Lest any root of bitterness . . . trouble you is in order that no root of bitterness trouble you or for the purpose that no root of bitterness trouble you.

 

Any root of bitterness refers to someone who has professed to be saved but fails to reach the grace of God, someone who has never been genuinely born again and still has an evil heart of unbelief. Eventually, if he does not trust Christ as his Savior, he can be expected to blossom or develop into someone characterized by bitterness, animosity, harshness, or anger.

 

Springing up is growing up or coming up.

 

Trouble you is used in the sense of annoy (you) or cause (you) trouble.

 

And thereby is literally and through this or and through it and refers to the root of bitterness springing up and troubling you.

 

Many speaks of a large, but indefinite number. It suggests a good number of people.

 

Be defiled literally means be stained; but when used figuratively as it is in this verse, it is used of moral defilement by sins or vices. Thus, it means be stained or be defiled.

 

This unsaved person’s bitterness, animosity, harshness, or anger is contagious and may result in the moral defilement of many others. Others who have likewise not yet been genuinely saved can be expected to be adversely affected against Christ and Christianity by him. One is reminded of the old adage, Birds of a feather flock together. Somehow these people find each other and form a group of their own among the believers and privately seek to influence others to join them. Even believers may be led into sin and fail to be pursuing after the Lord with all their hearts.

In addition, we should –

   V.     TAKE CARE THAT NO ONE BE SEXUALLY IMMORAL – 12:16A

 

Hebrews 12:16 a – Lest there be any fornicator. . . .

 

Verse 16 continues with another negative purpose clause.

 

Fornicator is one who practices sexual immorality or a sexually immoral person, and it may even be used in the sense of a male prostitute.

 

People who fail to get saved often get involved in immorality.

We should furthermore –

 VI.     TAKE CARE THAT NO ONE BE GODLESS LIKE ESAU – 12:16B-17

 

Hebrews 12:16 b – Lest there be any . . . profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright.

 

A profane person is one who is accessible to everyone, one who is godless, or one who is irreligious.

 

People who fail to get saved may become godless and irreligious like Esau.

 

As Esau indicates that Esau is being cited as an example of a profane person. Esau was a profane or irreligious person throughout his life.

 

Who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright indicates what Esau did as a profane person.

 

One is hereby reminded of the story of Jacob and Esau in the Old Testament.

 

Esau came from the field one day and was very hungry.

 

Jacob had prepared pottage, and Esau asked for some.

 

Jacob told him, Sell me this day thy birthright (Genesis 25:31 ); and Esau sold it to him in exchange for the pottage.

 

For one morsel of meat is used emphatically implying in exchange for a single meal.

 

Meat means food and in this context is used in the sense of a meal.

 

One morsel of meat is only one meal or a single meal.

 

Sold is gave up.

 

Thus, Esau gave up his claim as firstborn in exchange for only one meal.

 

By doing so, he treated his birthright very lightly and is thereby said to have despised it.

 

His birthright implies his birthright as the firstborn son or his right of primogeniture.

 

It is this that enabled the individual who was the oldest son in the family to be the spiritual leader in the family and to be the head of the clan. He would also receive a double portion of whatever his father left when he died.

 

The implication of this passage is that some may treat the things of God so lightly that they will miss the grace of God and never be saved.

 

Hebrews 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

 

For indicates that an explanation is about to be given.

 

It is that Esau was a profane or irreligious person throughout his life.

 

For might instead be understood in an emphatic sense as indeed or in fact.

 

Ye know indicates that the readers understand something and means you see (or perceive).

 

What they know, see, or perceive is how that afterward when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected.

 

This refers to the incident later in the life of Isaac when Isaac was blessing his children and Esau did not receive the blessing that he would like to have received.

 

When he would is simply wishing, and it is the will or wish of desire.

 

When he would is thus used in the sense of when he wished (or desired) or although he was wishing (or desiring).

 

What he was wishing was to have inherited the blessing.

 

It is literally to inherit the blessing.

 

Have inherited is used in this verse in the sense of have acquired, have gained, or have come into possession of.

 

The blessing refers to the blessing which Esau desired to receive from his father.

 

He was rejected means he was rejected after scrutiny or he was declared useless, and it implies that his father saw no reason to change his mind about the blessing even though he was aware that Esau desired it.

 

For indicates that an explanation is being introduced, which indicates why Esau was rejected.

 

Esau found no changing of Isaac’s mind although Esau sought Isaac’s change of mind or although Esau sought Isaac’s blessing with tears.

 

Though he sought it carefully, where he refers to Esau, is emphatic and is understood as although he searched for or although he sought out.

 

It refers either to repentance, which means a change of mind on the part of Isaac, or to the blessing, which would come from Isaac. In the Greek text the closest antecedent is repentance (or change of mind), which suggests that it more likely refers to repentance than to blessing. However, it really makes little difference whether it refers to repentance or to blessing because Esau wanted his father to change his mind and to bless him.

 

With tears is with weeping.

 

It means that Esau cried, but he never received the blessing he might have had. It does not mean that Esau sought his own repentance with tears. He was not interested in repentance; he only wanted the blessing. He was not concerned with being right with God.

Finally, we see that –

VII.     BELIEVERS HAVE NOT COME TO THE LAW – 12:18-19

 

Hebrews 12:18 For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest.

 

In Exodus at the giving of the law, the Israelites were instructed not to touch Mt. Sinai.

 

Verses 18-19 describe the time when the law was given.

 

In verses 18-21 the readers are reminded that they are not coming to the law, and then in verses 22-24 they are reminded that, instead, they are coming to the heavenly Jerusalem and to the general assembly of the firstborn and to Jesus and the blood which has provided for their salvation.

 

The readers of Hebrews are being told that they should not react like the Israelites of old reacted to the events occurring at the giving of the law.

 

For introduces an explanation in the sense of now.

 

Ye is you (plural) and refers to the readers of this letter.

 

Ye are not come is you have not approached or you have not come. Its tense indicates that its action occurred in the past and that its result is continuing on.

 

The same word is used in verse 22 where it is also translated ye are come, and it is understood there in the sense of you (plural) have come, implying that these people have already been saved.

 

In this verse it means that they have not come to the law and the things that are under the law.

 

Unto the mount that might be touched is Mt. Sinai. It was a physical mountain which might actually be touched if one were there.

 

By contrast, at this point in time they are not able to touch the heavenly Jerusalem even though it is real.

 

Touched is felt about for, handled, or groped after.

 

And that burned with fire indicates that Mt. Sinai also has burned with fire.

 

The tense of burned indicates the drama of the situation.

 

Nor unto blackness and darkness and tempest indicates something else unto which they had not come.

 

Blackness and darkness are two terms which mean basically the same thing.

 

Blackness is darkness, and darkness is gloom.

 

Tempest is a storm or a whirlwind.

 

It must have been quite a sight at Mt. Sinai when the law was given.

 

Hebrews 12:19 And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more.

 

And the sound, i.e. the tone or noise, of a trumpet, and the voice of words continues the description of the things which occurred at Mt. Sinai when the law was given.

 

Voice is used in the sense of that which gives expression to, a call, a cry, an outcry, or a loud and solemn declaration.

 

What it gave was an expression of words where words are those things which are said, sayings, or expressions.

 

Which voice refers to the voice of words the people heard from heaven.

 

The ones who were there heard it as is indicated by they that heard.

 

They . . . intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more.

 

They is they that heard.

 

Intreated suggests begged.

 

That the word should not be spoken to them any more is should never be spoken to them.

CONCLUSION:

 

Take the chastisement and other experiences in your life and learn from them and go straight ahead living for the Lord for the rest of your lives. Don’t give up. Keep going. You are going in the right direction.

 

For those Jews contemplating abandoning Christ and Christianity and returning to Judaism, it is saying, Don’t go back to living under the law.