Epistle to the Hebrews (12:15-17)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

Look after each other so that none of you fails to receive the grace of God. Watch out that no poisonous root of bitterness grows up to trouble you, corrupting many. Make sure that no one is immoral or godless like Esau, who traded his birthright as the firstborn son for a single meal. You know that afterward, when he wanted his father’s blessing, he was rejected. It was too late for repentance, even though he begged with bitter tears.” Hebrews (12:15-17)

  • The danger of bitterness

After exhorting believers to live at peace and living a holy life, our author now desires that the Hebrews diligently take care of each other. He wants the Hebrews to take the responsibility to oversee and not just wait for problems to happen to intervene. He’s speaking about a mutual concern for God’s family. If roots of bitterness are starting to grow, take it seriously. Do not assume it will be ok. Take preventive measures and deal with it. When conflicts occur between church members, the leadership try to intervene to bring reconciliation. However, when conflicts occur within the leadership, church members should also be sensible to it and not just assume that the leaders are mature enough to deal with it. The author describes bitterness as being poisonous. It is poisonous because conflict within the church quickly spread through gossiping. It can start from something ridiculous like a musical instrument not well tuned or the worship leader praying too long.

James tells us that a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire: “In the same way, the tongue is a small thing that makes grand speeches.But a tiny spark can set a great forest on fire. And the tongue is a flame of fire. It is a whole world of wickedness, corrupting your entire body. It can set your whole life on fire, for it is set on fire by hell itself.James 3:5

Our author wants each Christian to be sensible about these little roots of bitterness which sprout and act thereof. The longer we wait, the thicker and deeper this root becomes. Within the church we have people with different ideology, behavior, preference and attitude. It is bound to happen that conflicts will occur. May God grant us discernment and wisdom to deal with love whenever these poisonous roots start to grow.  I should also mention that whenever someone has bitterness or grudge in his heart, this soul is sick. This person did not have fellowship with Christ for while. The Spirit always convicts us about bitterness in our heart when we are in communion with God. Even with all the conflicts Paul faced with churches, he acted like a father and cared for the flock.

I am not overstating it when I say that the man who caused all the trouble hurt all of you more than he hurt me. Most of you opposed him, and that was punishment enough. Now, however, it is time to forgive and comfort him. Otherwise he may be overcome by discouragement. So I urge you now to reaffirm your love for him.I wrote to you as I did to test you and see if you would fully comply with my instructions. When you forgive this man, I forgive him, too. And when I forgive whatever needs to be forgiven, I do so with Christ’s authority for your benefit, so that Satan will not outsmart us. For we are familiar with his evil schemes.” 2 Cor 2

Bitterness is something real in the church and needs to be dealt with.  We know that the devil’s plan is to cause division, discouragement and bitterness. Let us not allow Satan to outsmart us. Let us forgive and reaffirm our love.

Paul said in Ephesians:

Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words, and slander, as well as all types of evil behavior.Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.” Eph 4:31-32

No one likes to confront and be confronted. However, we understand that if we are aware that there’s bitterness we should take this responsibility to bring it to attention. Peter tells us that the devil is like a roaring lion trying to devour.

Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God…Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5

  • The danger of godlessness

We have seen earlier how Esau despised his birthright for a stew. He did not value his birthright and he traded it for nothing. However, Jacob desired what Esau had and did what he could to get it.  Jacob first took Esau’s birthright and also Isaac’s blessings. Our author called Esau’s action as godlessness. This is a great lesson for us to not take for granted our salvation. Complacency and lukewarmness are great dangers in our churches. Many Christians do not realise the privilege they have to be God’s children and heirs of Christ (Rom 8:17). Give them a profitable job and here they are neglecting their communion with God. How many Christians have traded their liberty in Christ because of money, glory and worldly privileges? Consider dear readers that you were bought at high price to be given this right of becoming a child of God (1 John 3:1). It required the Holy and righteous God to die on a cross.

God paid a high price for you, so don’t be enslaved by the world” 1 Cor 7:23

There will NOT be the possibility to be restored back to repentance if you have denied Christ through the way you live. If you’re treating as unworthy your right of being a child of God, be aware that you’re in danger of losing it. There will be no way of getting back what you’ve sold even if begging with tears like Esau did.

As Hebrews 10:29 says “How much more severely do you think someone deserves to be punished who has trampled the Son of God underfoot, who has treated as an unholy thing the blood of the covenant that sanctified them, and who has insulted the Spirit of grace?


Posted August 17, 2013 by Cedric in Theology

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