Hebrews 12:14-16 - Warning Against Rejecting God's Grace.

Heb.12:14-16: Warning Against Rejecting God's Grace.

Heb 12:14-16 (ERV)  Try to live in peace with everyone. And try 
to keep your lives free from sin. Anyone whose life is not holy 
will never see the Lord. Be careful that no one fails to get God's 
grace. Be careful that no one loses their faith and becomes like a 
bitter weed growing among you. Someone like that can ruin your whole 
group. Be careful that no one commits sexual sin. And be careful that 
no one is like Esau and never thinks about God. As the oldest son, 
Esau would have inherited everything from his father. But he sold all 
that for a single meal.  

Heb 12:14-16 (TEV)  Try to be at peace with everyone, and try to 
live a holy life, because no one will see the Lord without it. Guard 
against turning back from the grace of God.  Let no one become like a 
bitter plant that grows up and causes many troubles with its poison. 
Let no one become immoral or unspiritual like Esau, who for a single 
meal sold his rights as the older son. 

Hebrews 12:14-16 (GWT) Try to live peacefully with everyone, and 
try to live holy lives, because if you don't, you will not see the 
Lord. Make sure that everyone has kindness from God so that bitterness 
doesn't take root and grow up to cause trouble that corrupts many of 
you. Make sure that no one commits sexual sin or is as concerned 
about earthly things as Esau was. He sold his rights as the firstborn 
son for a single meal.  


Believers must pursue peace with all people. Believers are to 
have as peaceful relations as possible with their unbelieving 
neighbors and associates, as well as harmonious relationships within the 
church. In a perfect world, all people could live peacefully together. 
Of course, this is impossible in our imperfect world. However, 
believers should do their best to at least "pursue" peace and 
reconciliation. Believers certainly should not cause dissension. Christian 
fellowship should be characterized by peace and building up one another 
(see 1 Thess 5:11). (Life Application Commentary) 

The life of peace characterized by a spirit of forgiveness and 
reconciliation is to be a distinguishing facet of the Christian's life-style. 
[Disciple SB] 


Many accept an intellectual religion, a form of godliness, when 
the heart is not cleansed. Let it be your prayer, "Create in me a 
clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10. 

Accepting Christ as a personal Saviour, and following His 
example of self-denial--this is the secret of holiness . 6BC1117 

Holiness is wholeness to God. The soul is surrendered to God. 
The will, and even the thoughts, are brought into subjection to the 
will of Christ. The love of Jesus fills the soul, and is constantly 
going out in a clear, refreshing stream, to make glad the hearts of 
others.  6BC1076 

Educate your mind to love the Bible, to love the prayer meeting, 
to love the hour of meditation, and, above all, the hour when the 
soul communes with God. Become heavenly-minded if you would unite 
with the heavenly choir in the mansions above. 2T267,8 

Without sanctification in life we cannot see the Lord; i.e., 
worship Him acceptably. [Ryrie SB] 

Coupled with peace is "holiness." The rendering "to be holy" 
(NIV, TEV) misses the point that "holiness" is a noun set alongside 
"peace" as the object of the verb. Holiness means being set apart for 
God. It is characteristic of the believer. As Barclay puts it, 
"Although he lives in the world, the man who is hagios must always in one 
sense be different from the world and separate from the world. His 
standards are not the world's standards" (in loc.). Without this readiness 
to belong to God, this being separated to God, no one will see God. 
Jesus said that the pure in heart see God (Matt 5:8), and no one has a 
right to expect that vision without that qualification. [Expositors 
Bible Commentary] 

Holy living will result in peaceful living. A right relationship 
with God leads to right relationships with fellow believers. (Life 
Application Commentary) 

Sin always blocks our vision of God; so if we want to see God, 
we must renounce sin and obey him (see Psalm 24:3, 4). Holiness is 
coupled with living in peace. A right relationship with God leads to 
right relationships with fellow believers. [Life Application SB 

Peace is linked to sanctification and the concept of avoiding 
sin. [New Bible Companion] 


The writer speaks of three things in particular the readers must 
avoid. The first is coming short of God's grace. Paul could speak of 
receiving God's grace in vain (2Cor 6:1) and of falling from grace (Gal 
5:4). It is something like this that is in mind here. God is not 
niggardly in offering grace. He gives his people all they will take. 
Accordingly, it is important for them not to fail to make use of their 
opportunities. [Expositors Bible Commentary] 

Fail or "to be lacking in," "to come short of," "to fail to 
reach," "to be excluded from." The form of the verb in Greek implies a 
continuing failure, not a single defection. [SDA Commentary] 


The words "special favor" are also translated "grace," here 
referring to all the benefits that God has bestowed on his children. 
Believers should encourage each other to appropriate these blessings, for 
these will help them stand firm. Too often believers "miss out" 
because they are not aware of certain of God's promises, teachings, or 
guidance. (Life Application Commentary) 

The grace of Christ is essential every day, every hour. Unless 
it is with us continually, the inconsistencies of the natural heart 
will appear and the life will present a divided service. The 
character is to be full of grace and truth. Wherever the religion of 
Christ works, it will brighten and sweeten every detail of life with 
more than an earthly joy and a higher than earthly peace. 6BC1117 


The second contingency to guard against is the springing up of a 
"bitter root." The expression is reminiscent of Deuteronomy 29:17. But 
if it is a quotation from the LXX, it is fairly free. A "bitter 
root" is a root that bears bitter fruit. The metaphor is taken from 
the growth of plants. Such growth is slow, but what is in the plant 
will surely come out in time. So it is possible for a seed of 
bitterness to be sown in a community and, though nothing is immediately 
apparent, in due time the inevitable fruit appears. It will certainly 
"cause trouble."..... Bitterness defiles people and makes them unfit to 
stand before God. [Expositors Bible Commentary] 

Bitter Root is pride, animosity, rivalry or anything else 
harmful to others. [NIV SB] 

Bitterness develops when one "falls short"  "comes behind" in 
the grace of God. [Believer's SB] 

Failing to keep pace with what the grace of God wants to do in 
our lives can result in bitterness in us, which causes trouble to 
others. [Ryrie SB] 

A "bitter root" comes when we allow disappointment to grow into 
resentment, or when we nurse grudges over past hurts. Bitterness brings with 
it jealousy, dissension, and immorality. When the Holy Spirit fills 
us, however, he can heal the hurt that causes bitterness. [Life 
Application SB 

The allusion to the "bitter root of unbelief" comes from the 
language of Deut 29:18-19: 
Make sure there is no man or woman, clan or tribe among you 
today whose heart turns away from the LORD our God to go and worship 
the gods of those nations; make sure there is no root among you that 
produces such bitter poison. When such a person hears the words of this 
oath, he invokes a blessing on himself and therefore thinks, "I will 
be safe, even though I persist in going my own way." This will 
bring disaster on the watered land as well as the dry. (NIV) 
While some have interpreted this "bitter root" to refer to 
bitterness, it actually refers to unbelief, as seen in the Deuteronomy 
quotation. Moses cautioned that the day the Hebrews chose to turn from God, 
a root would be planted that would produce bitter poison. If such 
a person assumes to have God's blessing and then proceeds to 
disobey, this plants an evil seed that begins to grow out of control, 
eventually yielding a crop of sorrow and pain -- whenever it springs up, 
many are corrupted by its poison. But believers can watch out that 
this doesn't happen. If the "bitter root" never finds fertile soil, 
its bitter fruit will never develop. Christians must watch out for 
these false roots because they do not really belong among God's 
people. Christians should not allow people who undermine faith to remain 
in the church. (Life Application Commentary) 


The third warning begins with a reference to the "sexually 
immoral". The OT has passages that use sexual sin as a metaphor for 
idolatry and the like. Some have felt that this is the way the word 
should be taken here. But there seems nothing in the context to demand 
it, so it is better to take the word literally.  [Expositors Bible 

God expects his people to maintain the standards of morality 
found in his Word. God forbids sexual sin because he knows its power 
to destroy us physically and spiritually. No one should 
underestimate the power of sexual immorality. It has devastated countless 
lives and destroyed families, churches, communities, and even nations. 
God wants to protect his people from damaging themselves and others. 
(Life Application Commentary) 

There is the danger of becoming a fornicator. The word is a 
broad word including all forms of immoral and sexual acts. It is 
premarital sex and adultery; it is homosexuality and abnormal sex; it is 
all kinds of sexual vice, whether married or unmarried. Note another 
fact as well: immorality is not only committed by the act. A person 
is guilty of immorality when he looks in order to lust. Looking at 
and lusting after the opposite sex--whether in person, in magazines, 
in books, on beaches, or anywhere else--is committing fornication. 
Imagining and lusting within the mind is the very same as committing the 
act in the eyes of God. [Preacher's  Outline & Sermon Bible] 


Profane or "worldly," "godless," "irreligious." In the NT it 
describes a person who has no appreciation of, or desire for, sacred 
things, one whose desires and ambitions rise no higher than the things 
of this earth. [SDA Commentary] 

An unhallowed life is a life without any awareness of or 
interest in God. In its thoughts, aims, pleasures, it is completely 
earthbound. We have to have a care lest we drift into a frame of mind and 
heart which has no horizon beyond this world, for that way inevitably 
lie the failure of chastity and the loss of honour. [Barclay 

Esau was not shut out from the privilege of seeking God's favor 
by repentance, but he could find no means of recovering the 
birthright. His grief did not spring from conviction of sin; he did not 
desire to be reconciled to God. He sorrowed because of the results of 
his sin, but not for the sin itself. Because of his indifference to 
the divine blessings and requirements, Esau is called in Scripture 
"a profane person." Verse 16. He represents those who lightly value 
the redemption purchased for them by Christ, and are ready to 
sacrifice their heirship to heaven for the perishable things of earth. 

The circumstances of Esau's selling his birthright represents 
the unrighteous, who consider that the redemption purchased for them 
by Christ of little value, and sacrifice their heirship to Heaven 
for perishable treasures.... Especially will the corrupt passions 
control the mind of those who value heaven of so little worth. 3SG116,7 

There is a finality about what we do. Barclay points out that 
"if a young man loses his purity or a girl her virginity, nothing 
can ever bring it back. The choice was made and the choice stands" 
(in loc.). Notice that it is not a question of forgiveness. God's 
forgiveness is always open to the penitent. Esau could have come back to 
God. But he could not undo his act. [Expositors Bible Commentary] 


Believers pursuing peace and practical righteousness (v. 14) 
should watch for three dangers: (1) falling short of God's grace--that 
is, refusing Christ's gracious offer of salvation and His provision 
for their needs (see 4:16); (2) allowing a root of bitterness to 
grow in their assembly--perhaps allowing idol worshipers to remain in 
the church (see Deut. 29:18); and (3) becoming sexually immoral or 
irreligious. [Nelson SB] 

Heb.12:14-16 (FGG)  Strive to live in peace with everyone and 
keep your life free from sin; 
So you don't lose hold of God's grace which includes the fruit 
of the Holy Spirit; 
Or bitterness and other characteristics of the carnal nature 
will become manifest; 
And you then become an immoral and godless person.


Oil of Kindness
I recall reading some years ago in a newspaper article about an 
old man who carried a small can of "3-In-One Oil" with him wherever 
he went.  When he passed through a door that squeaked he squirted a 
little oil on the hinges.  If a gate was hard to open, he oiled the 
latch ... and thus he passed through life lubricating all the 
squeaking places, making life more pleasant for those who came after him 
... an unusual procedure, yet he derived a great deal of pleasure in 
doing it. 
We see others doing similar deeds like this by planting 
flowers/shrubs along the roadway or picking up litter, planting trees in 
unsightly places or like the good neighbor last Christmas who decorated a 
tree along the rail road to enhance the area with a little beauty. 
In our lives, there are many opportunities for us to perhaps 
spread a little oil of kindness where it will make a big difference in 
a small way.  There's no telling how many lives we may keep from 
rusting and squeaking, how many gates to happiness we may oil that will 
make a life a little easier.  Pastor Fate Thomas