Thursday, 13 May 2021
“Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. ” -Hebrews 12:14 [NIV]
There is an exhortation for constancy and perseverance in the Christian faith given in our reading today. It brings forth a note of warning against people who are not paying attention to the ways of God. The author cautions these believers not to turn away from their faith in the midst of the persecutions they faced, such that they fall into temptations and so fall short of God’s grace.
In the midst of such trials, the author is urging believers not to indulge in strife and conflicts between people. One needs first to have peace with God which is possible through a relationship with Jesus Christ (Romans 5:1). It then leads to peace with others. In Romans 14:19 Apostle Paul in addressing the church, calls for everyone’s effort “to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.” If each believer would focus on the teachings given in God’s Word, it would lead to a peaceful existence with one another. On the other hand, if you promote your own passions and prejudices, it only leads to strife, hatred and disunity disrupting harmonious living. There are great objectives before every Christian that we can unite to partake in the Kingdom work which leads to peace and joy transforming the lives of people. We have more things to agree than to differ and it results in the edification of people around us.
On examining V.14 closely, we can see that holiness is coupled with the effort of living in peace with one another. A right relationship with God leads to right relationship with fellow believers. As we progress in our Christian life more effort should be made to pursue peace.
Vs.15 reveals that bitterness leads to defilement and it destroys relationships around us.
A person falls prey to bitter nature when he or she nurses grudges in the heart. It inevitably turns disappointment to resentment and leads to jealousy, dissension and evil nature. A bitter root always produces bitter fruit for themselves and others around, projecting corrupt principles and wickedness. When such things are not attended to and nipped in the bud by the person or those concerned, it disrupts the purity and peace within the church.
The author of Hebrews warns such persons if they don’t repent and turn back- of the consequence which fell on Esau (V.16). He was condemned and rejected by God.
If we don’t repent and turn back now, God will not repent over the judgment He pronounces; HE is a consuming fire too (V.29). In the end the world will crumble and only God’s Kingdom will last. Only those who obey the teaching of Christ and remain steadfast in Him can withstand the shaking and burning.