Yesterday I rambled on and on about the importance of ascending the mountain for ourselves. I talked about how great the new covenant is that we get to go into God’s presence through the new and living way opened for us through the flesh of Jesus. A promise so great as that, however, comes with an equally great warning.
“See to it that you do not refuse him who speaks. If they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, how much less will we, if we turn away from him who warns us from heaven? 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.”Heb. 12:25-27
At the giving of the Old Covenant the people could feel the earth shaking as God’s voice gave Moses the commands the people were to follow. But that shaking was nothing in comparison to what will happen to the people who refuse the new covenant that has been freely offered through the blood of the Son. If we turn away from that covenant, if we reject this amazing gift of God, not only will he shake the earth, but also the heavens.
When an earthquake shakes the ground beneath your feet it can be very unsettling. But, by comparison, that’s nothing to God shaking the heavens. There’s much more material there.
What is this sin the author speaks of. Well, yes, again it’s the sin of apostasy, or turning away from Christ after you have put your faith in Him. It’s the sin of cursing the son of God. But I don’t think it’s limited to that. Yes that has been the author’s primary focus, but the truth of the matter is, consciously embracing sin is choosing to embrace the rebellion. And that’s not why Jesus died.
Jesus didn’t give his life so that we could embrace whatever hell we wanted. He gave his life to set us free from the bondage death had over our lives. So, any time we choose to embrace sin we are making a choice to choose death over life, hell over heaven, captivity over freedom.
It doesn’t feel that way. But we’re too driven by our feelings. Just because something doesn’t feel good in the moment doesn’t mean that it’s not good for us. Wait a second, that sounds familiar. Oh yeah, “Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?” It takes a long time for the right thing to feel like it’s the right thing. At the same time, it takes a long time for the wrong thing to stop feeling like the right thing.
But, the way something feels is not the determinant factor to its veracity. In fact, we have allowed ourselves to embrace far too many lies as part of our identity. So much so that we’re constantly offended as a society. And apparently feelings have replaced truth. Now our feelings are absolute and truth is relative.
And we Christians would agree with this on a logical level, but so many of us are living by this deception on a practical level in our lives. Just try to get someone to do something they don’t want to do that’s for their own benefit, like say, I don’t know, reading their bible or praying and listen to the responses. “It just doesn’t work for me. I’m not that kind of person. I’ve never been a very good reader. It feels too much like work.”
The truth is, they are right. At least to the point that for who they are at this moment, they aren’t that kind of person. Presently it doesn’t work for them. But, that doesn’t mean that they can’t become the kind of person who it does work for, who is a good reader and who finds joy in the study and intentionality of prayer, silence and solitude, sabbath and the like.
None of these things are who we are until we become them over a process of transformation and sanctification. But, when we embrace the new way of the new covenant and spend time with our designer, we will soon discover the joy and peace that comes as God unravels the mess of sin we have tangled ourselves up in, and sets us free to sail into the harbor of His eternal peace.
And it’s worth it because of what we are receiving. “Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, 29 for our ‘God is a consuming fire.’”
We are receiving a Kingdom that cannot be shaken. So, let us be thankful. Let us be overwhelmed with gratitude for what Christ has done. And let us worship God acceptably. Not half-heartedly but with reverence and awe. For our God is a consuming fire. And the closer we get to him, the more that fire consumes us. The more that fire purifies us and rids of us those things we have embraced that aren’t of Christ, until what remains is our true identity, the one God intended for us all along.