Myth 39: Fail the grace of God and defile others with bitterness in your heart Heb 12:15
Hi. Glad to be back! We are looking at Myth 39 today. This is the famous passage about God’s discipline. Most of us look at this chapter from the perspective of God disciplining us because of our sins and wrongful acts, in that if we constantly live a lifestyle of sin, we “fail the grace of God and defile others with bitterness”. Dear friends, this is furthest from the truth.
Let’s look at Hebrews 12 and ask what this passage is all about and what this discipline really causes us to do.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? 8 If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. 9 Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spiritsand live! 10 They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11 No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.
12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
14 Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. 15 See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.
Ok now that we have the context, you would note the whole idea of God’s discipline is to help you overcome “the sin (singular) that so easily entangle us”.
Dear friends, many presume Hebrews 12 talks about sin entangling us and as such the Father disciplines us. I am sorry to let you know that is a wrong presumption, it says “the sin” and it is not sin. This sin that easily entangles us is the same sin in Hebrews 10:26. It is the sin of thinking Jesus’ blood is not enough to satisfy God of your sins past, present & future. It is called the sin of unbelief. That is why he asks us to continue to look at Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.
This what John MacArthur (who is not a Radical Grace believer) said:
“Most conservative commentaries would be in general agreement with John MacArthur’s interpretation of the sin
Obviously all sin is a hindrance to Christian living, and the reference here may be to sin in general. But use of the definite article (the sin) seems to indicate a particular sin. And if there is one particular sin that hinders the race of faith it is unbelief, doubting God. Doubting and living in faith contradict each other. Unbelief entangles the Christian’s feet so that he cannot run. It wraps itself around us so that we trip and stumble every time we try to move for the Lord, if we try at all. It easily entangles us. When we allow sin in our lives, especially unbelief, it is quite easy for Satan to keep us from running. (MacArthur, John: Hebrews. Moody Press or Logos) (Bolding added)”
I chose MacArthur (despite the fact, I have disagreed with his writings before, amongst many other commentators) because I do not want to be accused of being bias (partly also because he is loved by many who argue otherwise.)
As such the context in which God disciplines us is not due to our misbehavior but when we fall back on our works or that we go back to sinning in Hebrews 10:26. The sin there talks about treating Jesus’ blood as common. More importantly, I will give reasons why I believe the sin refers to unbelief.
Many believers interpret that as being sinning in conduct.
That is not correct. If so, then there is no more forgiveness for you. Secondly, everyone sins willfully. As such sinning willfully must be interpreted as something you return to “after you have received knowledge of the truth”. What then is the knowledge of the truth. This knowledge is what is stated in Hebrews 9 and 10. The blood of bulls and goats cannot take away sins. That is why it has to be offered again and again. Thus it can never take away sin although the law demands it. It could never take away the guilt of the believer. That is why the priest do it STANDING year after year and day after day. This ministry became a ministry that reminded you of your sins. As such it could never take away guilt.
On the other hand, when Jesus offered his blood, he did it once and for all and SAT down. Your sins are not only cleansed, they are taken away once and for all. Once and FOR ALL time. Hence this is how our guilt is taken away. Because we know our sins have been totally taken away and we have forgiveness of sins forever! This is a ministry that “remember your sins no more”.
Hence, the blood of Jesus is not common like that of the blood of bulls and goats. As such, when we say that his blood is not sufficient we commit this sin mentioned in Hebrews 10:26, thinking that while Jesus is the author of our faith but we have to perfect our salvation. That is how this sin easily entangles us. Thus, in Hebrews 12:1 the sin causes us to lose sight that HE IS the author and perfecter of our faith. NOT US.
As such God disciplines us not by holding back his presence when we sin but rather disciplines us by helping us to focus on the finished work of Christ. The unpleasantness there does not talk about sufferings and sicknesses. The unpleasantness talks about crucifying the former way you live your life in self righteousness.
As such there is no such thing as “parental forgiveness” as some has suggested, when you say that the minute you sin you tarnish the relationship with your God and that you need to confess your sins again and again, you are actually doing what the Jews do; offering the same sacrifice again and again. To do so is to “sin willfully”. This is the sin that so easily entangles us. It is the believe that we need to do something to restore a relationship that can never be broken. It is the sin of unbelief and it is self righteousness in a very subtle and deceptive form.
If a person does not have this belief in the first place, he is the person who has “fail the grace of God and defile others with bitterness”. This is because when he refuses to believe, he stops others from believing. Such a man was never a believer. How then can he lose his salvation, when he never had it.
God’s discipline is to help us fix our eyes on Jesus. That is why after this discipline causes us to be healed rather than be sick as many have suggested. 12 Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet,”[b] so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
And those witnesses in verse 1 are the “heroes of faith” in Hebrew 11, they are all saved by faith. Not moral good conduct. They are witnesses to the fact that “their sins are remembered no more.” They testify as co –witness to the 1st witness, the Holy Spirit who witness to us in Hebrews 10: 15 The Holy Spirit also testifies to us about this. First he says:
16 “This is the covenant I will make with them
after that time, says the Lord.
I will put my laws in their hearts,
and I will write them on their minds.”[b]
17 Then he adds:
“Their sins and lawless acts
I will remember no more.”[c]
This is because Jesus died for them. Hence let us fix our eyes upon Jesus. God’s discipline is to stop us from taking our eyes off him.