Summary: This message followed as part of a series on Hebrews 12. It deals with one of three serious blockages to spiritual growth and health. What does it mean to fall short of God’s grace?
“Finding Grace or Falling Short”
Just as God instructs every follower of Christ to passionately and continually promote and pursue healing, peace and purity, we are also commanded to continually address three specific peace and purity busters in the Christian community; three things that hinder the pursuit and realization of these divine directives.
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.
Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord.
Most translations then begin a new sentence in the next verse. It is actually a continuation of the previous instruction beginning with “seeing to it” followed by three things we are to see to it don’t become characteristic among believers. King James gets the connection right.
Seeing to it
that no one comes short of the grace of God;
that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;
that there be no immoral or godless person like Esau, who sold his own birthright for a single meal. For you know that even afterwards, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought for it with tears. Hebrews 12:12-17
Here are three major hindrances to spiritual growth.
A failure to appropriate God’s empowering grace resulting in a flesh driven life.
A failure to forgive resulting in a bitter root which defiles and poisons all those around.
A failure to pursue eternal values resulting in a meaningless wasted life.
Top three life struggles.
Pride – Bitterness – Temporal values.
They will cause us to hurt rather than heal. They will defile the individual and all those around them. They will stunt our spiritual growth and keep us from deepening our relationship with God. When these things infect a community they hinder healing, peace and purity.
First we must look at the action God commands every believer to take to heart.
“seeing to it”
This is a present active plural calling for continual effort on the part of the whole group.
The word means to oversee, look diligently, have regard to, investigate thoroughly.
It comes from the same root translated overseer or elder or bishop – one assigned to oversee the church. Peter used this specific verb addressing church elders.
Therefore, I exhort the elders among you, as your fellow elder and witness of the sufferings of Christ, and a partaker also of the glory that is to be revealed, shepherd the flock of God among you, exercising oversight not under compulsion, but voluntarily, according to the will of God; and not for sordid gain, but with eagerness; 1 Peter 5:1-2
Here, all believers are called to carefully look after the health of their community. This verb applies to three specific infections that afflict and threaten a church community.
1. “seeing to it that no one fall short of the grace of God”
“Fall short” means to fall behind, lack, fail to attain, be in want, come up short, come too late.
The use of the present tense active verb indicates that the falling short has to do with something related to the one falling short. The failure to appropriate God’s grace could be traced to something they did or did not do.
What does he mean by “falling short” of God’s grace? We must first understand this word grace. The concept of grace in the Scriptures is gigantic. It should never be limited to one tidy little phrase. Although helpful, it tends to limit a most prominent Biblical concept – GRACE!
We sing about it. We talk about it. We say it over meals. We take it, we give it.
What is it?
A base meaning.
A favor done without expectation of return; the absolutely free expression of the loving kindness of God to men finding its only motive in the bounty and benevolence of the Giver; unearned and unmerited favor.
Its core meaning has to do with blessing, favor, kindness, granting of a gift based on the character of the one giving not on the conduct or merit of the one receiving. It is, without a doubt, unmerited and unearned favor. It most assuredly has to do with Christ’s Riches At God’s Expense. It is both attitude and action. There are at least five aspects to God’s favor toward undeserving sinners and saints alike. To explore the full dimension of God’s grace would be a whole sermon series in itself. It would require a study of the entire Bible. It appears in nearly every book of the Bible either by demonstration or by declaration.
This is the favor God demonstrates to every creature of His creation. He sends rain on the just and unjust. He demonstrates His abundant kindness and favor to both believer and unbeliever.