The Expository Files

 

Reverence - The Summation of Hebrews

Hebrews 12:28,29



The book of Hebrews is a warning to all Christians, "that no one fails to obtain the grace of God," (12:15). The original recipients were under pressure to abandon Christ and resume their previous practice of Judaism or make some attempt to re-involve themselves in the Old Covenant, now terminated. The writer moves from affirmation to argumentation, then issues warnings, prohibitions and imperatives lest anyone fall away.

For Christians today, the message is to persevere in the activity of our faith in Christ, "looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith," (12:2). We are urged to "lay aside every weight," in order to "run the race."
We ought to endure hardship, accepting the discipline of the Lord and lifting our hands high an firmly to the task. We should strive for peace and holiness, carefully avoid any bitterness and see that we do not refuse Him who speaks from heaven.

Are you a Christian? Do you want to live out that identify and go to heaven? They you will want be to be engaged with God through Christ, as described in the warnings, prohibitions and imperatives written in Hebrews.

All the arguments, warnings, prohibitions and imperatives in Hebrews are summed up here:

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire," (Heb. 12:28,29).

What is reverence? It is our inner sense of who God is, with all the respect that will generate in all our behavior. It includes one's attendance in and deportment in the assembly, but reverence is more than just one's conduct in a building or audience. It is your inner sense of the greatness of God; your respect for Him, with all the godly behavior that will come from that respect. Bible reading and study is foundational and essential to reverence - but is not the essence of reverence. Prayer can help you develop reverence, and will be a product of reverence. Worship, association with people who are reverent . . . my point is, many things can lead to reverence and sustain reverence, but the definition, the essence is - your inner sense of who God is, with all the respect that will generate in all your behavior.

With such reverence, you will live in gratitude. "Let us be grateful." This is not a single act of thanks, but a way of heart and life; a continuous awareness of your dependence on a great God. Gratitude enables a great joy and desire to please God.

With such reverence, we are able to "offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe." We "offer to God" whatever He says is acceptable, out of "reverence and awe." We offer to Him our worship, our resources, our very lives, and we do this motivated by our awareness of who He is and what He has done for us through His
Son.

With such reverence, we regard ourselves as citizens of an everlasting kingdom. The highest possible encouragements to be a good citizen in the kingdom is the recognition that it is permanent! Earthly governments fail, suffer revolutions or change leadership. Not the kingdom of Christ.

With such reverence, we never forget that our God is a consuming fire. We do not take lightly that His glory and goodness involves His absolute hatred of sin and His promised negative and eternal response to apostasy.

"Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire," (Heb. 12:28,29).
 

By Warren E. Berkley
From Expository Files 16.5; May 2009

 

 

 

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