Thought for the Week - 26th October

Vanda Hopkin

Hebrews 12: 18-29

For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched
and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words,
so that those who heard it begged that the word
should not be spoken to them anymore.
(For they could not endure what was commanded:
“And if so much as a beast touches the mountain,
it shall be stoned or shot with an arrow.”
And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said,
“I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God,
the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven,
to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant,
and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
See that you do not refuse Him who speaks.
For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth,
much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven, whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying,
“Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”
Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things
that are being shaken, as of things that are made,
that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,
let us have grace, by which we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
For our God is a consuming fire.

People often have a preconceived idea of God. They think of only one facet of Him. Perhaps they just think of God as an angry God, or a baby in manger, or Christ as simply a man who was crucified. Even as Christians, we can look at God and see only one facet of Him.

Our God is a God of order and balance. He’s a God of grace, mercy, redemption, and wrath. To us, He is like a flowing river. He is an infinite God, forever flowing, forever renewing, giving life, cleansed, refreshed, healing and feeding. As long as we stay in that river, we’ll be renewed, refreshed and find life in abundance.

As Christians, we can come imbalanced in our thinking and only see one aspect of God. We focus only on one aspect of Him. For example, people in the world have lost their fear of God. They either feel there’s no God and therefore there’s nothing to fear, or they think that God is just a God of love and have nothing to be fearful of. We too as Christians can sometimes lose our Godly fear. In the verses above we read:

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken,
let us have grace, by which we may serve God
acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

We know Christ has died on the cross to forgive our sins. We know that. However, we forget that there was a punishment for our sins. He has taken our sins – every single one – and thrown them into the deepest sea. He has chosen to forget those sins and has made us as white as snow. We forget that it happened only because of the punishment Christ took on our behalf.

When we speak to others, we try to make it easy – a quick ‘repent and be forgiven’. However, it’s important that people know the price that Christ paid upon the cross. Redemption can’t be secured lightly and is not to be taken lightly. Being bought by Christ’s blood is not a light thing. It’s not to be lightly before we’re saved, when we’re saved or after we’re saved. We need to come back to that cross and realise that there’s a punishment.

Christ himself became sin for you and for me. He took our punishment. When he was beaten, it was for our sins. The wrath of God should have been on us. When he was spat on, that was our due. When he was scourged and his flesh ripped, that should have happened to us. Those nails and that crown of thorns was our punishment. That separation from God was meant to be ours.

God is a God of judgement, anger, and wrath. Judgement is something that demands punishment. And punishment is something that demands sacrifice. Yet we can forget the price he paid. He left his home in glory for us. It was our doing. How can we take it so lightly? How can we take our disobedience so lightly? We need to shut ourselves in with God and ask him to take us into that place.

The verses above talk about Moses and the children of Israel. The children of Israel were so fearful of God that they couldn’t touch that mountain. It was only when they moved away from God that they started to sin and build the golden calf. When they up against that mountain there was a fear of God that they couldn’t stand in His presence and had to send Moses up the mountain because they couldn’t face God.

We can be the same. If we’re close to God and feel of His presence, we know that He’s around us and sinning doesn’t enter our minds. Yes because we fear Him, but also because we don’t want to hurt Him and want to be where He is. When we come further away from that mountain where God is truly feared, we start to lose sight of Him and things can creep in.

Christ brings us back time and time again.

Hebrews 9: 24-28
For Christ has not entered the holy places made with hands,
which are copies of the true, but into heaven itself,
now to appear in the presence of God for us;
not that He should offer Himself often,
as the high priest enters the Most Holy Place every year with blood of another—
He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world;
but now, once at the end of the ages,
He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.
And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment,
so Christ was offered once to bear the sins of many.
To those who eagerly wait for Him He will appear a second time,
apart from sin, for salvation.

There is no remission without the shedding of blood. The blood was shed for us, but we can’t come lightly. We can’t say that Christ died for us and lived as we like. That’s how we become unbalanced and imbalanced.

When the devil tries to bring us down, God will bring us up. God is exact. He is truth in everything and in all things. However, when we look at Christ upon the cross, we need to acknowledge that we need to be there on it with Him… because that is the balance of the cross. The balance of God comes when we’re obedient to Him.

Habakkuk 2: 1
I will stand my watch
And set myself on the rampart,
And watch to see what He will say to me,
And what I will answer when I am corrected.

Habakkuk was a prophet in the Old Testament. God speaks to Habakkuk and shows him the truth. Habakkuk is brought into the balance of where He should be. God put Habakkuk in his place. He was looking to see what God would say to him, and how he would respond when he was corrected.

We are seated in heavenly places. He has cleansed us from our sins. He has given us a new life. He has given us riches untold and blessings untold. He has given us a river that flows through us. But sometimes the balance goes and we think we are greater than Him. We need to remember that we are as grass (1 Peter 1:24). We are small people. God is very big!

We need a Godly fear. There is a place that we are in only because Christ took the punishment for us; because He took every whip and every beating. We cannot stand in our own righteousness.

Go before God and ask ‘who am I?’ We are here only because of the blood of Christ shed for us. His obedience and His sacrifice. That sacrifice has come from judgement and punishment – both meant for us. Remember the balance of God… we need to be on the cross with Christ.


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