Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Hebrews 12: Christ Is A Better Prize (Enduring Trials)

Theme: Remain Confident in Christ

B) Ways

11) By enduring trials

Chapter 12 gives several reasons to endure trials for our faith in Christ.

Because witnesses surround us (1)

All the examples of faith in chapter 11 refer to believers who endured trials in hope of a better inheritance than the world has to offer. Such faith motivated them to brave obedience, and resulted in a better reward. 

Because Jesus endured the cross (2-3)

By focusing on Jesus, the starter and finisher of our faith, we may remain confident of our inheritance. Jesus endured great hostility, shame, and death to secure the benefits of our salvation, and this should motivate us to endure trials for hope in Him.

Because chastening proves sonship (4-8)

One of the reasons we face hardships and testing is because we are children of God. God disciplines believers like a father corrects his children. The fact that we can't get away with sin proves we are children of God, and this should encourage us to endure His painful corrections.  

Because discipline yields fruit (9-17)

Like the discipline a child receives from his father, God's chastening is first sorrowful to us, but then bears the fruit of righteous living in our lives. Knowing this should make hardship easier to endure. Although in our standing, we are separated from sin and consecrated to God once for all in Christ, God continues to conform us more and more to the image of His son in our daily experience. This grace calls for holy living. Esau rejected the hope of his inheritance to escape the pressure of daily trials, and was then unable to experience the benefits of his inheritance during life on earth.

Because inheritance awaits us (18-24)

A heavenly city and the fellowship of believers and God await those who remain confident in Christ as their inheritance (cf. Rev. 21-22). These benefits are better than anything which can be gained on earth, because material things have been shaken in the past and will be shaken in the future, so that only God's eternal inheritance will remain. 

Because God is consuming fire (25-29)

Those who refused God's promised inheritance under the OT covenant did not escape the severe discipline of God. Since God will shake away all those material things in which we might be tempted to place our hope, and since God now warns us from heaven instead of earth, we should be grateful for His promised inheritance, and stand in awe of God.

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