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Bible Commentaries

Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible
Hebrews 12

 

 

Other Authors
Verses 1-6

Hebrews 12:1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us,

Or “entangle us.”

Hebrews 12:1-3. And let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

The Lord does not wish his people’s hands to hang down, and their knees to become weak, so in this passage, as in many others, he administers gracious remedies. Among the rest, he bids us consider his own dear Son. Shall we faint under our small afflictions when he endured so well under his heavy burdens? Come, be strengthened, my weak heart.

“HIS way was much rougher and darker than thine;

Did Christ thy Lord suffer, and wilt thou repine?”

Hebrews 12:4. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

It has hardly come to blows and bruises yet — certainly not to bloody strokes. Ye have not lost blood yet for Christ.

Hebrews 12:5. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him:

Neither think too little of it, nor too much of it — too little of it by despising it and not listening to the voice of the rod, nor too much of it by fainting when thou art rebuked of him.

Hebrews 12:6. For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Oh! what comfort there is here! Whenever we are under the scourging hand of God, how we ought to be cheered with the thought that this is a part of the heritage of the children. There are Elis who spoil their children. God is not one of them. He spares not the rod, and the more he loves, often the more he corrects. A tree of common fruit may be let alone so long as there is some little fruit on it, but the very best fruit gets the sharpest pruning; and I have noticed that in those countries where the best wine is made, the vine-dressers cut the shoots right close in, and in the winter you cannot tell that there is a vine there at all unless you watch very carefully. They must cut them back sharp to get sweet clusters. The Lord does thus with his beloved. It is not anger. Afflictions are not always anger. There are often tokens of great love.

This exposition consisted of readings from Isaiah 35. Hebrews 12:1-6.


Verses 1-17

Hebrews 12:1-2. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

We can have no doubt about the great truths which we believe, for we are compassed about with a cloud of witnesses. The former chapter gives us the names of many of these glorious bearers of testimony, who all by faith achieved great wonders and so bore witness to the truth of God. Having therefore no room for doubt let us throw our whole strength into our high calling, and run with patience having our eyes always fixed upon him, the beginner and finisher of our faith, who has run the race himself and won the prize, and now sits down on the right hand of the throne of God.

Hebrews 12:3-4. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

It has never come to a bloody sweat with you as with him, nor to death upon a cross, as in his case. Shall the disciple be above his master or the servant above his lord?

Hebrews 12:5-6. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

With doting parents it is not so: often him whom his mother loveth is allowed to do as he pleases and to escape chastening, but this is folly. The love of God is higher and wiser than the partialities of parents. “Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth;” it is a token of his favour to us that he takes the trouble to remove our love of sin by sharp and bitter pain.

Hebrews 12:7-10. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness.

What a bright light this sheds upon all affliction, that it is for our profit, that it is thereby we are made partakers of the holiness of God. Oh, blessed result from a little smart and bitter.

Hebrews 12:11-13. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Look at chastisement then in the divine light, and be comforted, be strengthened, be healed of the infirmity of your weakness, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.

Hebrews 12:14. Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:

“Blessed are the pure in heart for they shall see God.” A man’s god is like himself, and until we become like God we cannot see God; we misunderstand God until we have been trained to imitate him.

Hebrews 12:15-17. Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

It was done and could not be undone. Does it not seem strange that after speaking to us about being God’s sons and favoured with his love, yet even then, in that clear blaze of light, there comes in this caution against fornication and profanity. Ah me! how near a foul spot may be to lily-like whiteness. How Judas may sit side by side with favoured and true-hearted apostles, aye, and may be near the Master, too. “Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall.” And, oh, friends, if at any time the pottage should seem very sweet and we should be very hungry, if the world’s gain should be almost necessary to our livelihood, and we are tempted to do an unrighteous thing to get it, let us take care, for Esau could not undo the terrible act of selling his birthright, neither could we if we were permitted to do so. God grant we may be spared from such a dreadful crime!


Verses 1-29

l, 2. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us. Looking unto Jesus

The Apostle seems to say, since so many look on from heaven, and earth, and hell, and we are runners in the great life race, let us strip to it: let us throw aside everything that would make our running difficult; every weight, however golden; every garment, however richly embroidered, lest it should entangle us in our course. And then when we have set out, let us not conclude that we have won the victory, but “run with patience,” on, on, on, till at last we reach the goal.

Hebrews 12:2-3. The author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

What a runner in the race was he! and what a race he ran! While we see him at the end of the course, holding out the crown, let us remember that he knows all the trials of the way, knows what pressure must be put upon ourselves ere we can reach the mark.

Hebrews 12:4. Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

Your battles have been nothing yet; ye think yourselves martyrs. What have you done? What have you suffered? What have ye endured, compared with your Lord, compared with the saints of old?

Hebrews 12:5-6. And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.

Here is another noble reason for patience. That same trial which, on the one hand, comes from man, viewed in another way comes from, God, and is a chastening. Let us accept it at his hands, regarding it as a token of sonship.

Hebrews 12:7-8. If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons.

You have not your Father’s love; you are not recognized as an honour-able member of his family.

Hebrews 12:9-13. Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us, and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? For they verily for a few days chastened us after their own pleasure; but he for our profit, that we might be partakers of his holiness. Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

The Apostle cheers up those who are tried, with the reflection that the good which will come out of their trouble will abundantly recompense them. They are not to expect to see that good at once. It will come afterwards — not yet. No reasonable man expects the harvest at the same time that he sows. You must wait a while — bear with patience — have confidence in God — and all your trials will end well.

Hebrews 12:14. Follow peace with all men,

You will not always get it, but follow it — run after it.

Hebrews 12:14-17. And holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled; Lest there be any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

He sold his birthright. He could not have the pottage and the birthright too; therefore, he chose the pottage. He must stand to it. And if here, today, we deliberately choose the pleasures of this world, we must not marvel if we have to stand to them for ever.

Hebrews 12:18-24. For ye are not come unto the mount that might be touched, and that burned with fire, nor unto blackness, and darkness, and tempest, And the sound of a trumpet, and the voice of words; which voice they that heard intreated that the word should not be spoken to them any more: (For they could not endure that which was commanded, And if so much as a beast touch the mountain, it shall be stoned, or thrust through with a dart: And so terrible was the sight, that Moses said, I exceedingly fear and quake:) But ye are come unto mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, To the general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.

The center around which we gather in these days is not Sinai with its thunder and its fire; it is the cross; nay it is heaven; it is the enthroned Saviour; it is the great Mediator of a better covenant than that of which Moses came to speak. We gather there, and we make no a part of that vast throng that now surrounds that center. Oh! that we while we hear the sweet voice of the gospel, may lend it a willing ear, and may we not be among the number of those who reject the voice that speaks from heaven to us in the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 12:25-28. See that ye refuse not him that speaketh. For if they escaped not who refused him that spake on earth, much more shall not we escape, if we turn away from him that speaketh from heaven, Whose voice then shook the earth: but now he hath promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven And this word, Yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain. Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:

For let us not think that we are not to be reverent because we gather at the gospel’s call. Let us not dream that God who is a consuming fire on the top of Sinai, is less terrible under the gospel than under the law, for it is not so.

Hebrews 12:29. For our God is a consuming fire.

 


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Bibliography Information
Spurgeon, Charle Haddon. "Commentary on Hebrews 12:4". "Spurgeon's Verse Expositions of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/spe/hebrews-12.html. 2011.

Lectionary Calendar
Wednesday, October 16th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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