Well last week we had interesting audio entitled “The Miraculous Significance of Tongues”. In that audio, Jim covered much of the testimony of the life of God foretold all the way back to the time of Moses. Jim, I really liked the connections you were making regarding the significance of the sign of tongues to the Jewish people regarding the Gentile.
If we would just consider the adage “making a mountain out of a mole hill”, it should convince us of the power found in even the most insignificant matters. Of course, what appears to be insignificant to me might represent the world to somebody else. For the Jews who remained in Israel, especially in Jerusalem, having their stories spoken to them in the languages of those they despised, of those who had taken them into captivity, of those whose lands they had to flee was an insult that could not possibly go unnoticed. While some Jews living outside Israel may have by time used the Greek Septuagint translation (which was completed by 132 BC), you can be sure that in Israel they would have despised its use. When God poured out his spirit upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost, it was monumental because all who heard it …
Groanings that cannot be uttered
Revealing of the Sons of God
Hope produces perseverance
Predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His son.
Well this week’s audio program will kick off a series we will be doing on the very misunderstood letter to the Hebrews. It is entitled: ‘Heading Off at the Pass”. This program will be based on the well known and feared letter reference in Hebrews 12: 1-12
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. Therefore, strengthen the hands that are weak and the knees that are feeble, and make straight paths for your feet, so that the limb which is lame may not be put out of joint, but rather be healed. Hebrews 12:1-13 NASB
Jim, there has been a great deal of unrest regarding this well known passage in Hebrews both from my own perspective and with countless others over the years. The common thought is that in this letter, the writer is depicting God as a wrathful being that is disciplining us according to our sins. Furthermore, due to the fact that he uses the word ‘sin’ several times in the passage, even the best ‘grace’ explanations have just fallen flat dab into human reasoning and examples. (Maybe you could reword that a bit, as I’m not sure exactly what you’re saying). Somehow we get used to the idea that God has to deal with us according to our sins and that if we blow it too much then he will have to ‘discipline’ us. But have we swallowed a human deduction of what this means here in the letter? Have we been bamboozled into thinking that God in fact no longer remembers the forgivingness of sins when it comes to our living our lives in this world?
How easily we let others convince us that God must be senile. That’s quite a switch, isn’t it? After all, doesn’t the letter of Hebrews clearly describe the whole matter of how God no longer remembers our sins and iniquities? So he no longer remembers that he no longer remembers our sins? Interesting.
Of course the writer of Hebrews mentions sin and sins numerous times in the course of his letter. Why? Because they had forgotten that HE didn’t remember their sins anymore. They had been convinced by their peers in Jerusalem that sin had not once and for all been done away with. Why did he encourage them to lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us? It’s not because he thought it was valid, rather it entangles us because it cannot be dealt with by all the techniques or rituals or manipulations or attempted law-keeping we avail ourselves of. It’s deceptive, because the logical mind keeps imagining that sin is somehow dealt with by anything other than Christ’s sacrifice — even while professing the sacrifice.
What are the great cloud of witnesses supposed to convince us of … how were they supposed to encourage them in the race that was set before them? Faith vs. works. Faith speaks of Christ and his work, which is in opposition to the logic of man’s efforts. Consider the efforts of those who made to the entrance of the land of promise … they could not enter because of unbelief.
We all have heard that Paul has described our condition while still on the earth as ‘jars of clay’ or ‘earthen vessels’. Do these terms scare us into performance or testify to great freedom and rest in the Son’s work on our behalf? If God sees the Sons of God as riteous, then how can He still be dealing with us according to sin? What if God deals with us according to who we are in Christ[riteous] but, that it doesn’t appear that way now? What if we are being inwardly renewed by the grace that is in Jesus Christ day by day though our outward is decaying?
Excellent! :) Something will come to me. LOL!
Jim, do you remember Paul’s sarcastic comment to the Corinthians about coming to them with a ‘rod’? Do we seriously think that the teachers of the flesh are correct in saying that this was Pauls ‘church correction’ here? Don’t we also blend this understanding into the Hebrews letter as well? I don’t know about you, but I see so much of this natural thinking and teaching permeating our ideas about the Father in just about every mention of Him. We here that God is going to conform us to the image of his son and so we get scared and think he is going to have to really do us in in order to accomplish this.
Share your story about the girls hair caught in the boat motor.[the serve the lord story]
Manipulations to “serve the Lord”.
Unworthy servants Luke 17:10
Hair caught in the boat motor
Do we think God has to use mans own sinful means to ‘get our attention’? Why do we assume that He has to use the weapons of flesh to accomplish His will? Are we not again viewing Him according to the flesh here?
We have been taught these things by the mind of fleshly religion.
Jim have you ever tried to get ahead of God and said to yourself “if all this stuff about gods discipline is true then I am going to get ahead of HIm in this!”? Does this not cause a deep sense of UNrest i us? We do everything in our power to avoid that Rod of Gods ritouesness coming at us because we don’t want to be hit by Him by surprise. So we try to work on our sins and our riteousness before He can ever get to us to punish us and ‘teach us’. Oh many teachers have made lame attempts at putting together a ‘grace’ perspective on this by saying things like God disciplines us according to love and they talk about ‘tough love’ and other stupid things like that. But again, they bring God down to human wisdom and set up a thought process in which God is separate fro us and we must please him through the power of our own flesh,.
Something will come to me …. LOL
What IS discipline according to righteousness? Could it really produce peace and joy like the writer says i Hebrews once we are trained by/in it? How does the good news really translate in this?
Yep … here, too! :)