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. Chapter 12.

The Discipline of the Lord

1 AND WHAT OF OURSELVES? With all these witnesses to faith around us like a cloud, we must throw off every encumbrance, every sin to which we cling, [Or: every clinging sin. One witness reads: the sin which all too readily distracts us.] and run with resolution the race for which we are entered, 2 our eyes fixed on Jesus, on whom faith depends from start to finish: Jesus who, for the sake of the joy that lay ahead of him, [Or: who, in place of the joy that was open to him, ...] endured the cross, making light of its disgrace, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God.

3 Think of him who submitted to such opposition from sinners: that will help you not to lose heart and grow faint. 4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 [ Pr.3.11-12. ] You have forgotten the text of Scripture which addresses you as sons and appeals to you in these words:

7 You must endure it as discipline: God is treating you as sons. Can anyone be a son, who is not disciplined by his father? 8 If you escape the discipline in which all sons share, you must be bastards and no true sons. 9 Again, we paid due respect to the earthly fathers who disciplined us; should we not submit even more readily to our spiritual Father, and so attain life? 10 They disciplined us for this short life according to their lights; but he does so for our true welfare, so that we may share his holiness. 11 Discipline, no doubt, is never pleasant; at the time it seems painful, but in the end it yields for those who have been trained by it the peaceful harvest of an honest life. 12 [ Is.35.3, Sir.25.23. ] Come, then, stiffen your drooping arms and shaking knees, and keep your steps from wavering. 13 Then the disabled limb will not be put out of joint, but regain its former powers.

Warning against Rejection God's Grace

14 Aim at peace with all men, and a holy life, for without that no one will see the Lord. 15 Look to it that there is no one among you who forfeits the grace of God, no bitter, noxious weed growing up to poison the whole, 16 no immoral person, no one worldly-minded like Esau. He sold his birthright for a single meal, 17 and you know that although he wanted afterwards to claim the blessing, he was rejected; though he begged for it to the point of tears, he found no way open for second thoughts.

18 REMEMBER WHERE YOU STAND: not before the palpable, blazing fire of Sinai, with the darkness, gloom, and whirlwind, 19 the trumpet-blast and the oracular voice, which they heard, and begged to hear no more; 20 [ Ex.19.12-13. ] for they could not bear the command, 'If even an animal touches the mountain, it must be stoned.' 21 [ Dt.9.19. ] So appalling was the sight, that Moses said, 'I shudder with fear.'

22 No, you stand before Mount Zion and the city of the living God, heavenly Jerusalem, before myriads of angels, 23 the full concourse and assembly of the first-born citizens of heaven, and God the judge of all, and the spirits of good men made perfect, 24 and Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, whose sprinkled blood has better things to tell than the blood of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse to hear the voice that speaks. Those who refused to hear the oracle speaking on earth found no escape; still less shall we escape if we refuse to hear the One who speaks from heaven. 26 [ Hg.2.6. ] Then indeed his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, 'Yet once again I will shake not earth alone, but the heavens also.' 27 The words 'once again'—and only once—imply that the shaking of these created things means their removal, and then what is not shaken will remain. 28 The kingdom we are given is unshakable; let us therefore give thanks to God, and so worship him as he would be worshipped, with reverence and awe; 29 [ Dt.4.24, Dt.9.3, Is.33.14. ] for our God is a devouring fire.

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