Summary: Struggle with sin? Here is the hope!
† In the Name of the Savior, Jesus †
The struggle – but it is what we believe?
God’s gift of peace and righteousness is yours, in Christ Jesus!
Hebrews, chapter 12, verse 4, In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Here it from another translation, not yet, has it been necessary commit to shedding your blood, as sin you agonize against (antagonize!).
There are two key words in this passage.
The word struggle has the same root as our present word antagonize, to agonize against. It is the nature of our sin, that we oppose its presence, and attempt to dominate in our lives.
The word resisted, a word with military implications, as one considers the alternatives to sacrificing all, to overcome our own weaknesses. This
Last week, we heard this same epistle tell us to focus on Jesus, the creator and finisher, the author and one who perfects our faith. It told us to cast sin aside, to just drop it, and look to Jesus.
This week, the passage continues, to tell us to do that, but reminds us as well, that we can, because “not yet, has it been necessary commit to shedding your blood, as sin you agonize against.”
I will be the first to confess, that this week, dealing with sin has been agonizing. Systems have, from my human view, failed me, wasting my money, but far more importantly, my time. Time I had allocated to teach people about worship, and to work with people struggling with life, time I had allocated for doing the “good” things a pastor does. Temptation to complain to God, or at least to those near me, was paramount. Temptation to take my eyes off of Jesus, and berate those things around me.
Thank God that in His time, things came together.
Thank God, that in dealing with all that sin, I do not have to foot the bill for the battle, or surrender my life, but instead, I see the words of this epistle, and know, that blood was required, and given, and that it is no longer that I have to agonize over the past.
Reason to be Antagonistic
A different mountain
A different city of God
A different feast!
Towards the end of the reading today, there is a interesting comparison of mountains. The first, the mountain where God lived, while his people camped below. It is the mountain that cannot be touched, for sin had yet to be paid for, and the cost of sin was required. It was a mountain where God’s voice in all of its power and purity, scared the people – till they asked God to speak only through Moses to them. It is the mountain where God abides, that still leaves people in fear today.
A pastor told a story about such a person. She was very ill as a young lady, and as her pastor and elders told her to pray to God and seek His healing, she did. She tried to deal with God, and told Him, that if she was saved, she would never ever sin again, and that she would serve Him where ever He wanted – for the rest of Her life. Once healed by God’s mercy, she never stepped into a church for 30 years, and when she did, she told the pastor, that she never came back, because she was afraid He would call her on the deal.
That is the kind of mountain so many see God living on, one seemingly unapproachable. One seemingly out to destroy us, because we had not overcome sin on our own, because we had not trusted God at all times, but rather fought and complained against where He had sent us.
A simple example from my life. Until last night at nearly 10, I thought that so much of my time had been wasted, sitting in a jury box for 16 hours, only to be dismissed prior to the case starting. Even yesterday, I complained about the unrighteous, pathetic, system. The more I complained, the more I forgot the three people that I was able to minister too, during breaks, people hurt and needing God, and yet, who feared to return to church. Rather than rejoice in those incredible moments, I complained about our stupid, broken system of justice.
I forgot about the better mountain, listen to how it is described in another translation, these incredible words, “22 But what you have come to is Mount Zion and the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem where the millions of angels have gathered for the great feast, 23 with the whole Church of first-born sons, enrolled as citizens of heaven. You have come to God himself, the supreme Judge, and to the spirits of the upright who have been made perfect; 24 and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to purifying blood which pleads more insistently than Abel’s.” Hebrews 12:22-24 (NJB)