Hebrews 12:18-29 The Message (MSG)
In Christ, God welcomes us into the heavenly Jerusalem—Mount Zion—where we become citizens of the unshakable kingdom built on the Cornerstone of Truth. The writer of Hebrews lays out before those listening the reality of two relational covenants offered by God which promise eternal life. The first covenant, involves trying to live the Laws of God in our own strength; which we all fail to do (Mount Sinai). Therefore, that failure ends in spiritual death. The second covenant, involves repenting and welcoming Jesus the Savior to pay the penalty for our sin—failure to love God and others as commanded by the Law—and to receive the Holy Spirit who writes the Law on our hearts and speaks Truth for us to follow (Mount Zion). Jesus—the sinless Son of God—secures eternal life for us. Choosing between these two covenants should be easy, but human hearts can be hardened by sin.
Knowing Christ and being led by the Spirit, makes God’s sons and daughters unshakable because we are built upon Truth and held together in Love. The heavens and the earth may one day quake in fear at the Voice of Almighty God, but his children will experience the calming balm of his love and mercy when we recognize his Voice leading us to Truth. The refining fire of God comes to destroy sin, so it is a gift to have him work in our lives right now to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. When Christ—the Living Word—returns we will be listening and prepared.
Hebrews 12:18-29 An Unshakable Kingdom
18-21 Unlike your ancestors, you didn’t come to Mount Sinai—all that volcanic blaze and earthshaking rumble—to hear God speak. The earsplitting words and soul-shaking message terrified them and they begged him to stop. When they heard the words—“If an animal touches the Mountain, it’s as good as dead”—they were afraid to move. Even Moses was terrified.
22-24 No, that’s not your experience at all. You’ve come to Mount Zion, the city where the living God resides. The invisible Jerusalem is populated by throngs of festive angels and Christian citizens. It is the city where God is Judge, with judgments that make us just. You’ve come to Jesus, who presents us with a new covenant, a fresh charter from God. He is the Mediator of this covenant. The murder of Jesus, unlike Abel’s—a homicide that cried out for vengeance—became a proclamation of grace.
25-27 So don’t turn a deaf ear to these gracious words. If those who ignored earthly warnings didn’t get away with it, what will happen to us if we turn our backs on heavenly warnings? His voice that time shook the earth to its foundations; this time—he’s told us this quite plainly—he’ll also rock the heavens: “One last shaking, from top to bottom, stem to stern.” The phrase “one last shaking” means a thorough housecleaning, getting rid of all the historical and religious junk so that the unshakable essentials stand clear and uncluttered.
28-29 Do you see what we’ve got? An unshakable kingdom! And do you see how thankful we must be? Not only thankful, but brimming with worship, deeply reverent before God. For God is not an indifferent bystander. He’s actively cleaning house, torching all that needs to burn, and he won’t quit until it’s all cleansed. God himself is Fire!
Prayer: Lord, thank you for burning away anything in me that does not bring you glory and honor. Please continue to refine me as your daughter. In Jesus’ name. Amen.