With Gratitude

by Scott Vance on September 06, 2022

Hebrews 12:25–29
25 See that you do not refuse him who is speaking. For if they did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape if we reject him who warns from heaven. 26 At that time his voice shook the earth, but now he has promised, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens.” 27 This phrase, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of things that are shaken—that is, things that have been made—in order that the things that cannot be shaken may remain. 28 Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.
Have you noticed that almost everything you purchase these days comes with a warning?  You buy something that you’re excited about and right after you work through the quick setup guide and skim through the instructions, invariably you come to a set of warnings that caution you about the risks of incurring serious injury or even death if the product is used in a way that is not intended.
Reading through Hebrews feels that way at times and we see that here in our passage as we’re given a warning and at the same time a reason for gratitude.
The warning comes on the heels of the comparison of Mt. Sinai and Mt. Zion.  If you remember Mt. Sinai shook at the unapproachable holiness of God.  The holiness of God hasn’t changed when compared to Mt. Zion but what did change is that through Jesus and His death on the cross, all who entrusted their lives to Jesus are welcomed to the city of the living God and have access to the throne of grace.
In this passage, we read again of things shaken only this time heaven itself will be shaken as well.  The point Hebrews is making is that everything temporary and secondary will fall away and that which will remain is the new creation based on Jesus Himself and all who belong to Him will be part of God’s new world which God has promised all along.  This is the point of Hebrews in chapters 11-12.
What’s interesting is the focus on the holiness of God and that the holiness of God hasn’t changed from Mt. Sinai to Mt. Zion.  What has changed is that God has opened a way for us all to come through the giving and sending of His Son Jesus into the world, and all that He has accomplished through His birth, life, death, and resurrection, opening the way for us to come into the very presence of the Heavenly Father.
But here’s the thing, the thing that we truly need to grasp.  Only when we understand the fullness of God’s holiness do we truly appreciate what Jesus has achieved on our behalf through His death and resurrection.  Without Jesus, the way is not open.  Through Jesus, God has fulfilled His promise, the promise that was first given in the Old Testament and fulfilled in Jesus Himself.
So what’s to be our response to all this?  Verse 28 gives us the answer, gratitude.  Gratitude for all that God has done, gratitude for the sure hope that we have for the future, and gratitude that in Jesus we will not be shaken.
As N.T. Wright notes in his commentary on this passage, “True gratitude both for the present world and for the world to come is the deepest and truest form of worship. “
I encourage you to take a moment to worship the Lord through just a simple act of gratitude.
God bless you and know that I am praying for you constantly.


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