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Wednesday in the Word

Second Baptist Church

August 22, 2012

Hebrews 12:9-28

  1. Verses 12:9-11 As Christians we need to submit to God's discipline in our lives because it will result in fullness of life and greater holiness and righteousness along with peace. God always designs discipline for our welfare even though it may not be pleasant to endure. The title "Father of spirits" (v. 9) occurs only here in the New Testament (cf. Num. 16:22; 27:16). It probably means something like "our spiritual Father," as some English versions translate it (TEV, NEB, JB), in contrast to our physical (earthly) fathers. This is one of the great sections in the New Testament that clarifies the reason for the Christian's trials (cf. James 1; 1 Peter). It is essential that we view our sufferings as the Lord's discipline rather than as an indication of His displeasure, or worse, His hatred (cf. Deut. 1:26-27).

  2. Verses. 12:12-17. Since God desires that we walk in holiness, we are encouraged and exhorted to rid our lives of the obvious things that routinely hinder our walk with the Lord. We get several exhortations in this section.

    1. Strengthen your feeble arms and legs. In the roman world athletes conditioned their legs and arms for competition. The writer is probably calling for the believers to get spiritual fit so that they could endure the rigors of discipleship and the pressure that came with that.

    2. Make your paths level. The issue here is that sometimes we are the reason our weak areas continue to stay weak. The writer encourages his reader to fix the areas in their lives that they have control of so that their spiritual weak areas may become stronger.

    3. Make every effort to live at peace with everyone. As believers we need to do our best to live in peace and be peace makers.

    4. Be holy. Our lifestyles should avoid evil practices. We should seek to live lives that give God glory. God has called us to be holy. This would mean that we must live to please God by avoiding sin.

    5. Allow no bitter root to grow up among you. This means to discourage believers from discouraging other believers to walk for Christ. Just like the ten spies caused the entire Israelite camp to distrust God a few bitter believers can spoil the fellowship.

    6. Avoid sexual immorality and dangerous instant gratification. These things have instant satisfaction, but often times long term negative effects.

  3. Verses 18-28. In between exhorting the church, the writer reminds the Hebrew audience of Deut. 9 and Exodus 19. This reminder was to warn the people that God has been kind in Christ and we should respond with a desire to live for him as opposed to the ancient Israelites who, even with the threat of punishment, still continued in sin. Since God has welcomed us into his family and presence with nothing hindering us, our response to that should be joyfully living for him. The writer reminds the audience that there would be a reward for following the voice of the Lord, and a rebuke for disregarding the Lord’s commands.

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