In Genesis 4:7, God says this: ” ‘If you do what is right, will you not be accepted? But if you do not do what is right, sin is crouching at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it.’ ” (NIV)
Something that has been on my mind lately, and especially today, is that life is tough. It’s hard. Even as, ESPECIALLY as, a Christan. It is so easy to quit, and infinitely more difficult to persevere.
But then there is passage, from Hebrews (10:19-39)…
“Therefore, brothers and sisters, since we have confidence to enter the Most Holy Place by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way opened for us through the curtain, that is, His body, and since we have a great priest over the house of God, let us draw near to God with a sincere heart and with the full assurance that faith brings, having our hearts sprinkled to cleanse us from a guilty conscience and having our bodies washed with pure water. Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for He who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.
If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left, but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. Anyone who rejected the law of Moses died without mercy on the testimony of two or three witnesses. 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? For we know Him who said, ‘It is mine to avenge; I will repay,’ and again, ‘The Lord will judge his people.’ It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.
Remember those earlier days after you had received the light, when you endured in a great conflict full of suffering. Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded.
You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what He has promised. For,
‘In just a little while,
He who is coming will come
and will not delay.’
‘But My righteous one will live by faith.
And I take no pleasure
in the one who shrinks back.’
But we do not belong to those who shrink back and are destroyed, but to those who have faith and are saved.” (NIV)
If you would, read those words again, and let them sink in. Think over their implications. Over the next while, for my own study, I am going to go through this passage, breaking it down to learn what it means for me. I’ll post my notes here, for others to read, in case it helps them as well. In the meantime, I encourage you to take 45 minutes out of your day to watch this sermon. It’s by Mark Driscoll, about the cost of discipleship. It’s very closely related the above passage and what has been on my heart lately. It will definitely make you think about how you are living.
“It is a dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.”