Though He Sought it With Tears

Hebrews 12:14-17 ESV

“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no ‘root of bitterness’ springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.”

Strive for Peace and Holiness

Pursuing peace with everyone is not about compromising faith or convictions or godliness or moral purity in order to make peace with all people. This is not about us having the same mind as the people of the world so that we can unite with the world as one in perfect harmony so that no one offends anyone else. I know this is being pushed BIG TIME, but don’t yield to it! It is not of God! It is of men who want to tempt us to forsake our Lord.

For, this is in the context of the whole of Hebrews 12, which is talking about casting off sin, and not yielding to temptation, but enduring persecution for the sake of righteousness, and not giving up when disciplined by God, but seeing God’s discipline and our trials as for our good, and so then allowing God to train us by them so that we share in God’s holiness and so that we yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness.

And then this striving for (or pursuing) peace with everyone goes hand-in-hand with us pursuing holiness. And holiness is living lives which are separate (unlike, different) from the world because we are being conformed to the likeness of Jesus Christ. And it is living lives which are separate unto God and to his service and to walking in obedience to his commands and to forsaking our sins and to submitting to Christ as Lord (Owner-Master).

Therefore, pursuing peace with everyone is never about compromise of faith and convictions or holy living, but it is about loving our enemies, and praying for them, and doing good to them and not evil. It is about not getting even with those who do wrong to us, but showing them love and kindness. And it is about us not yielding to the flesh when we are persecuted but us responding to our persecutions with faith and with perseverance.

For, if we do not live holy lives, we will not see the Lord. If our lives are not committed to serving Jesus Christ, to following in his footsteps, to obeying his commands, to forsaking our sins, to loving others, and to living lives separate from (unlike) the ungodly, then we do not have salvation from sin and eternal life with God. For if sin is what we practice and righteousness is not what we practice, we will not inherit eternal life with God.

Obtaining the Grace of God

The grace of God is something we obtain from God and it is not of ourselves. And his grace to us is not just forgiveness of sins and the promise of heaven when we die. His grace is freedom from our slavery to sin so we will now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. His grace to us enables us to die with Christ to sin and to live to him and to his righteousness in his power. For sin shall no longer have dominion (power, control) over our lives.

His grace, which brings salvation, in fact, instructs (trains) us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for our Lord’s return. For Jesus Christ gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them (Titus 2:11-14; Eph 2:8-10).

So, if we fail to obtain the grace of God, it doesn’t mean that we never confessed Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. It means that we did not yield to his control over our lives, and we did not forsake our sins, and we did not follow him in obedience, and we did not do the works which he prepared beforehand that we should do. But instead we went our own way, and we chose our own course, we remained walking in sin, and we did not walk in righteousness and holiness to the glory and praise of God.

Let No One be Sexually Immoral

Now, we must take this to heart because our eternity depends upon us believing and living the truth of God’s Word. Sexual immorality is running rampant in today’s modern market-driven “churches.” Statistics have it that a large majority of males who call themselves Christians are engaged in pornography, as are close to half of pastors of churches, with male children high in numbers and with females following behind.

And even if we didn’t have statistics to show us how bad this is, it is obvious by how people who call themselves Christians are living their lives, and by the things that they say, and by what they believe and practice. For so many of them now have accepted a “cheap grace” gospel which makes no demands on them for honoring Christ as Lord, or for obedience, or for the forsaking of sins (repentance), but it pacifies them in their sin, instead.

And it isn’t just pornography that is the issue. First of all it has to do with what is in people’s hearts which then comes out through the things that they do and say. It has to do with what their minds are set on and what they truly believe, for we live what we truly believe. And yes, included in that is what people view on TV and in movies and in music videos and games, etc. which can be mild sensuality all the way to the very worst of the worst.

But they don’t have to view anything to be sexually immoral. For Jesus said that a person commits adultery when he lusts in his mind after another. So one can sin only in his mind. And adultery isn’t just physical relations with another person, for it is also in the mind, but it can also be physical relations with oneself, too, via self-gratification. And it can be romantic affairs, etc. There are many ways to commit sexual immorality in our day and age.

And we are not to be unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. And our birthright is our salvation from sin when we believe in Jesus. And many people have sold that in order to engage in sexual immorality and in all sorts of wickedness. They have given up their salvation from sin by continuing to live in sin and to walk in unrighteousness. And no matter how much they want that inheritance with God, it will not be theirs because they chose to walk in the ways of the flesh and not in the ways of the Lord.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:21-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev. 2-3; Rev 18:1-6; Rev 21:8, 27; Rev 22:14-15]

Oh, to Be Like Thee, Blessed Redeemer

Lyrics by Thomas O. Chisholm, 1897
Music by W. J. Kirkpatrick, 1897

Oh, to be like Thee! blessèd Redeemer,
This is my constant longing and prayer;
Gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures,
Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.

Oh, to be like Thee! full of compassion,
Loving, forgiving, tender and kind,
Helping the helpless, cheering the fainting,
Seeking the wandering sinner to find.

O to be like Thee! lowly in spirit,
Holy and harmless, patient and brave;
Meekly enduring cruel reproaches,
Willing to suffer others to save.

O to be like Thee! while I am pleading,
Pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love;
Make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling,
Fit me for life and Heaven above.

Oh, to be like Thee! Oh, to be like Thee,
Blessèd Redeemer, pure as Thou art;
Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness;
Stamp Thine own image deep on my heart.

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