In this passage we are given several commands, authoritative instructions, based on the warning that we should not despise the Lord’s discipline. Being reproved & disciplined by God is actually kind of like painful coaching from a good coach that is like your Father. As if you’re on the team you’re Father coaches and you can’t win the championship without Him as the Coach, to get you fully fit to play your absolute best in the final game of the season. It hurts, but you know it’s worth it. Here are His powerful demands in the training:
- Strengthen your tired arms & legs, v12
- Make straight paths for your feet to run in, so they persevere, v13
- Pursue peace with everyone & pursue holiness with God, v14
- See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God, v15
- Avoid sexual immorality & don’t be unholy, v16
It is important to remember the goal in this race we run, v1. To not only stay in Christ, but to help as many people as possible to get to the eternal unshakeable Kingdom of Christ with us in all His glory. The Hebrew writer now points us to how superior a goal this truly is: Back when the Hebrews were being brought into existence as a Nation, the Kingdom of Israel. They were given a law, with that law, even Moses said, “I am exceedingly afraid and trembling”, Deuteronomy 9:19., All this fear did not succeed in promoting holiness among the people of Israel. It did not succeed in changing the heart of Israel. 40 days later, they worshipped a gold calf and said it was the gods that brought them out of Egypt. So now we have the Kingdom of Christ giving his holiness, and his law of faith that will stand even when Jesus arrives a second time, shaking not only the earth but also the heavens. Then we will see God as the consuming fire that he truly is. In Hebrews 12:24, we are taught that in this Kingdom of Christ where our citizenship is, we have Jesus as the ONLY mediator between each Christian and our Creator/Father God. Read 1st Timothy 2:5. Our citizenship in His Kingdom is reliant on the Covenant which Christ guarantees, (Heb. 7:22) with his priceless, sacrificial blood! What are the details of this Superior Covenant? An entire New Testament that describes all the promises of a perfect covenant, which will gain us entry into all the glory & power of His eternal Kingdom. For now, he has made us the assembly of the firstborn, enrolled in Heaven, where every righteous person is made PERFECT (Gk = Teleioo) “complete consummated maturity”. That is total holiness! Because He is our righteousness, Jesus, 2nd Peter 1:1, Php. 3:9, 2nd Cor. 5:21. We are in The best Kingdom, because He has made us to be His best work.
In my collection of 36 English translations of the N.T., all of them read, “God IS a consuming”, None of them read, “God is AS a consuming”. His eternal flame is purifying & holy. Because of this unique and powerful virtue of God, the Apostle Peter reminds us that we should be holy because He is holy, 1st Peter 1:15-16. The purifying fire in God is not here to punish us, but to separate and destroy sin from our nature, which is made by Him in such a way that desires it. Without God’s purifying flame, we are in trouble. If we don’t want Him, we will live in trouble and die in trouble to be sent to hell, wasted by the trouble we desired more than God Himself. Don’t get wasted, get saved!