With the "heroes of faith" like a cloud of witness cheering us on, we are to run the race of faith, looking to Jesus’ example for endurance and to God’s loving discipline lest we fall short of His grace (1-17). Coming not to Mt. Sinai but to glorious Mt. Zion (18-24), we are given the sixth warning: not to refuse or defy Him who speaks from heaven (25-29).
POINTS TO PONDER
* How Jesus was able to endure the cross
* The role of discipline in the life of the Christian
* The danger of defying Him who speaks from heaven
1) What are the main points of this chapter?
- The need for endurance and discipline - He 12:1-17
- Contrast between Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion - He 12:18-24
- A warning against defying - He 12:25-29
2) How are we to run the race of faith? (1-3)
- Lay aside every weight (esp. the sin of unbelief), look to Jesus for inspiration
3) If we experience hostility striving against sin, how should we view it? (4-9)
- As chastening from a loving Father who knows it is for our good
4) What can chastening from God accomplish? (10-11)
- Partaking of His holiness, and the peaceable fruit of righteousness
5) As we run the race of faith, what should we pursue and how? (12-17)
- Peace and holiness, careful not to fall short of God’s grace (like Esau did)
6) How did Mt. Sinai appear to Moses and the Israelites? (18-21)
- A terrifying sight, and a terrifying voice
7) To what have we come? (22-24)
- Mt. Zion and the heavenly Jerusalem
- An innumerable company of angels
- General assembly, church of the firstborn
- God the Judge of All
- Spirits of just men made perfect
- Jesus, Mediator of the New Covenant
- The blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than Abel
8) List four reasons we should not refuse Him who speaks from heaven? (25-29)
- He will one day "shake" and "remove" earth and heaven
- We are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken
- We can have grace by which to serve God with reverence and godly fear
- God is a consuming fire
The race of faith
[Heb 12:1-29 NKJV] 1 Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares [us], and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 2 looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of [our] faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The discipline of God
3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him; 6 For whom the LORD loves He chastens, And scourges every son whom He receives." 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected [us], and we paid [them] respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened [us] as seemed [best] to them, but He for [our] profit, that [we] may be partakers of His holiness. 11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
Renew your spiritual vitality
12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed. 14 Pursue peace with all [people], and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there [be] any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
The glorious company
18 For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest, 19 and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, so that those who heard [it] begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore. 20 (For they could not endure what was commanded: "And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow." 21 And so terrifying was the sight [that] Moses said, "I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.") 22 But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, 23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn [who are] registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, 24 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than [that of] Abel.
Hear the heavenly voice
25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more [shall we not escape] if we turn away from Him who [speaks] from heaven, 26 whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, "Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven." 27 Now this, "Yet once more," indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God [is] a consuming fire.