It has been a while since I have posted anything, but the house church is still going well. The hustle and bustle of daily life has captured my time lately. This Sunday was a good time of communion with my brothers and sisters. The scripture passage I keep coming back to lately is Hebrews 12:14-15:
“Strive to live in peace with everybody and pursue that consecration and holiness without which no one will [ever] see the Lord. Exercise foresight and be on the watch to look [after one another], to see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace (His unmerited favor and spiritual blessing), in order that no root of resentment (rancor, bitterness, or hatred) shoots forth and causes trouble and bitter torment, and the many become contaminated and defiled by it” (AMP)
Paul’s encouragement to the early church in verse 14 was “strive” to live in peace with everyone. The word strive is defined in the dictionary as follows:
To exert much effort or energy; endeavor; To struggle or fight forcefully; contend.
This is not a very passive word. “Striving” for peace takes effort and requires endurance. Paul is saying. “Boys and girls, peace is worth the effort. Put your back into it and fight for peace.”
But that’s not all. On top of the hard (dare I say impossible) task of trying for peace with EVERYBODY, Paul says “pursue holiness”. Here we are faced with another verb, yet another action word. “Pursuing” is anything but passive. “While you are striving”, Paul said, “put on your track shoes and run after holiness, ‘cause if you don‘t have that you won’t even see God.” So here we are with our boxing gloves on fighting for peace and our track shoes on running after holiness. You do remember that Paul was writing to the church?
Now, as if we don’t have enough to do with all the striving and pursuing Paul throws in “looking out for one another”. Don’t I have enough to do already?! It’s hard enough trying to look out for myself, now I have to watch out for others too? I think maybe Paul is being a little unreasonable. But there it is, “see that no one falls back from and fails to secure God's grace”. What grace is it that has to be “secured” or held onto? I think John said it best in his gospel:
“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. John bare witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spake, He that cometh after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. And of his fulness have all we received, and grace for grace. For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ.” (John 1:14-17 KJV)
So in light of Paul’s “encouragement” to the church, am I doing all I can? Or am I so busy looking out for myself I can’t watch out for my brother? Am I sure that my brothers and sisters are secured, strapped down, tied onto, and carried by the “grace and truth” that IS Jesus Christ?