Hebrews 12 and the Dwelling Place of God
This chapter is a study or a prayer for a lifestyle of the Christian walk. It is my hope and prayer that as you read this God will speak to you and transform your life as well.
Hebrews 12 gives us a great picture of being transformed into the dwelling place of God. Men and women of God are speaking about holiness and being conformed into the image of Christ or being made a dwelling place of God. This is not a program of how to. It is truly from a place of relationship with God that we are transformed if we totally submit and surrender. For lack of better words, Hebrew 12 reveals how to climb Mount Zion (a place where God dwells) or how to allow it to be developed within us.
Prophetic side note remember 1 Corinthians 14:3 On the other hand, the one who prophesies speaks to people for their upbuilding (edification) and encouragement and consolation. The cognate for the word edification
3619 oikodomḗ – properly, a building (edifice) serving as a home; (figuratively) constructive criticism and instruction that builds a person up to be the suitable dwelling place of God, i.e. where the Lord is “at home.” See 3618 (oikodemeō).
So we are building suitable dwelling places for God in the lives of others, as we give them prophetic words.
Hebrews 12 starts off with the great cloud of witnesses cheering us on. It goes on to encourages us to keep going and to endure the discipline of the Lord, to hear His voice so that we can receive the Kingdom that cannot be shaken. Jesus purchased our acceptance in and on Zion or Zion in us. But, this is not cheap grace or hyper-grace.
“Cheap grace is the grace we bestow on ourselves. Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, Communion without confession…Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate.” ― Dietrich Bonhoeffer
On the way to Mt. Zion or having it formed in us (the place where God dwells) we pass through Mt. Sinai (OT fear of the Lord where Moses received the Law). Since God dwells in us we are to be those holy vessels that makeup Zion. To stand in such a place of holiness takes relationship. Hebrews 12 is all about that. We see the whole walk to Mt. Zion and holiness through a relationship in this chapter.
BREAKING IT DOWN (I am using Passion Commentary and ESV, red is my addition)
- Notice those who suffered before us and made it, cheering us on to finish well
- Let go of every wound that has pierced us
Or “get rid of every arrow tip in us.” The implication is carrying an arrow tip inside, a wound that weighs us down and keeps us from running our race with freedom.
- Let go of the sin we so easily fall into.
Or “the sin that so cleverly entangles us.” The Aramaic can be translated as “the sin that is ready [and waiting] for us.” If this is speaking of one sin, the context would point to the sin of unbelief and doubting God’s promises.
- Run life’s marathon race for the path has already been marked for us, (Eph 2:10)
Or “obstacle course.” The Greek word agona means agony or conflict. The assumption is this race will not be easy, but the proper path to run has been set before us. The Aramaic can be translated “the race [personally] appointed to us.” God has a destiny for each of us that we are to give ourselves fully to reach.
- Fully embrace the correction and training of God
It will transform the character and bring a harvest of righteousness and peace
- Lift up tired hands in worship, the sacrifice of praise
- Strengthen weak knees and make straight the paths for your feet
The Greek word used here can also mean “paralyzed knees.”
- Strive for peace and holiness
Let peace direct you (Col 3:15)
- Deal with roots of bitterness, resentment, repent and forgive
- Deal with sexual immorality, repent and forgive
- Choose what is eternal over quick and temporal
ESV considers Esau unholy because he sold his birthright, this does not mean we fight with our brothers and sisters over mantles and inheritance either, Eph 2:10 tells us each one of us has a specific work and that would be inheritance as well.
- Understand the importance of the law
there is fear in the law but we are in relationship bought by Jesus’ blood to be in relationship with a holy God, listen to his voice and the law will be fulfilled, he will change us and align us.
28 Since we are receiving our rights to an unshakeable kingdom we should be extremely thankful and offer God the purest worship that delights his heart as we lay down our lives in absolute surrender, filled with awe. 29 For our God is a holy, devouring fire!
12Therefore lift your drooping hands and strengthen your weak knees, 13and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be put out of joint but rather be healed. 14Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. 15See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God; that no “root of bitterness” springs up and causes trouble, and by it many become defiled; 16that no one is sexually immoral or unholy like Esau, who sold his birthright for a single meal. 17For you know that afterward, when he desired to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no chance to repent, though he sought it with tears.
18For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest 19and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. 20For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” 21Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear.” 22But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, 23and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect, 24and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
25See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven.26At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29for our God is a consuming fire.