NT Fire Starters – Day 318: Hebrews 12:14-29
READ: Hebrews 12:14-29
THINK: Many Christians have a mistaken notion of what it means to live a “holy” life. Certainly, by definition, holiness implies the highest standard of moral purity, spiritual wholeness, separation from evil, and complete devotion to God and His purposes. But holiness is not simply a matter of negative restrictions and things we avoid. It’s more a matter of positive actions and things we pursue. By focusing on all of the positive things God gives us the opportunity to do, we will have little time or desire to get caught up and distracted with the negative behaviors He wants us to avoid.
RESPOND: What do you think it means to “make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy” (v. 14)? What does it mean to be “holy”? (See 12:14 note.) Why is holiness vital for God’s people? Though we cannot attain holiness by our own initiative, what “effort” (v. 14) must we make to develop and preserve holiness in our lives? How can it happen that a person “misses the grace of God” (v. 15)? What does it mean for a “bitter root” to grow up, and what kind of trouble can that cause for individuals and churches? (See 12:15 note.) In what way must you refuse to be “godless like Esau”? (See 12:16 note.) What “mountain” scene is described in verses 18-21, and what is so imposing and “terrifying” about it? (See 12:18-25 note.) In what ways does receiving the good new of Jesus stand in contrast to the receiving of God’s Old Testament law? Though the message of Christ brings a complete joy and freedom that the law could not, in what way are the consequences of rejecting Christ even more severe than the consequences of rejecting the law (v. 25)? (See 12:18-25 note.) What does it mean that God “will shake not only the earth but also the heavens” (v. 26), and why will He do this? (See 12:26-29 note.) In light of this, how should we worship God (v. 28)?
PRAY: Pray for a greater pursuit of holiness in your life. Pray that you will never become bitter or defiant toward God’s discipline. Ask God to help you never compromise His long range plans for short-term satisfaction.
ACT: If to any degree you’ve become bitter, resentful or resistant toward God or someone else because of the Lord’s work in your life or theirs, let God help you change your attitude, settle the issue and take appropriate positive action.