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Pursue peace and holiness for yourself and others (Hebrews 12:1-17).

A particular theme can be traced starting at vv.1-17 which speaks toward the need for Christian perseverance, but as well to watch over other members in the body that they do not fall away (vv 14 -17).

A metaphor about running a race is given, which illustrates the need to pursue a holy lifestyle to the finish line. Failure to do so may very well indicate a false profession. Christ’s sacrifice on the cross is the ground for salvation, not something earned by us, but granted solely based on God’s mercy and kindness. Nonetheless, the divine imperatives to “look to Jesus”, “lay aside” and “forgetting not” (listening to God, mine) are exhortations that require the hearer to act.

Comfort is found in the fact that Christ saves a sinner, and puts him on a path of holiness and gives enough grace for the believer to make it through to the end, so we have no need to throw up a white flag and surrender to the pressures of the world or the sins of the flesh. The believer is required to put aside anything that will hinder his progress in holiness, especially those sins that are most vexing to him. (v.1b). Christians do weaken and wander off course at times, but God is as a Father who brings His children back to Himself through correction.

In vv. 14-17 the theme broadens. It involves mutual assistance to others, who may be in danger of falling away from the faith. Individual responsibility rests on the Christian to look after any who are failing to appropriate God’s grace for themselves (v 15). The exhortation “see to it” finds its meaning in the Greek root word “to give oversight” which is used in the letter to Timothy about a pastor’s a watchful eye over the flock. Immorality and ungodliness must be avoided so that no further corruption may occur. Otherwise, it may end in apostasy, as was the case with Esau (v.17).

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