By Tyson Thorne

April 4, 2018
 

Hebrews 15 Large

In chapter 12 we see the continuation of the lesson started in the last chapter showing us what living Christianity looks like. In chapter 11 we learned that Christianity is faith in Jesus, his accomplishments on the cross, in the power of his resurrection, and in his promise of eternal life. In this chapter we learn that it is faith that will provide the very best for you, even if you do not understand the reason for your trials. Tomorrow, in the final chapter of this tome, we will discover the third lesson, that if one has faith in Jesus' leadership, he will have faith in Jesus' leaders.

The author now chastises us to look upon Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. The idea is to gaze at Christ, to assure your focus is always on him. This is the source of our faith. Why is this kind of faith necessary? Because life is uncertain and full of trials, and when we gaze at Christ all the trials we endure become small. Jesus was subjected to the greatest possible trials, and endured to the point of shedding his blood (12.4).

We have not had to endure as much as Jesus, and that is just one reason to put our faith in him. When the time comes when we are not faithful — and that time comes to us all, doubt leading us into sin — we can also have faith that God will forgive, discipline and restore us. All of these things are part of the believer's life: forgiveness of sins (11.2), discipline of sins intended to mature our faith (12.5-11), and restoration to life (12.12-13).

Sometimes we will not understand God's method of discipline, or if we do understand we won't agree with it. This situation is akin to a fork in the road, one path leading to trust God and the other leading us into bitterness against God. The author warns us, do not lose heart when the discipline of the Lord comes. Do not choose the path of bitterness, for it only causes additional trouble in this life and defiles many (12.14-17).

The flesh, our sin nature, is the enemy of faith. For this reason we need to make every effort to not give in and thereby forsake our savior. When we do, we are not living by faith and instead doubting Jesus' judgment. Doubt breaks the cycle of forgiveness, discipline and restoration. Instead, it brings more discipline until the doubter turns to God in faith, or turns from God completely. When this happens it is not restoration we encounter, but judgment. "Do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord" (12.5).

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