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Care for the Body of Believers

14 Pursue peace with everyone, and holiness—without it no one will see the Lord. 15 Make sure that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no root of bitterness springs up, causing trouble and defiling many. (Hebrews 12:14-15)

From verse 14 to the end of the chapter, the author gives a warning for the rejection of the grace of God. Starting off here in verse 14, the believers are given two commands, “pursue peace with everyone,” and seek out “holiness.” In light of the discipline in the past, believers must endure and maintain peace with others. During difficult times, it is easy to succumb to the temptation to lash out and push others away. Yet, it is during that crucial moment that the choice of peace is important, especially for the unbelievers who are watching their lives.

Holiness, as well, must be maintained during trials. Those who are disciples of God must pursue purity and push away that which is evil, to keep their testimonies pure, so that those around them “will see the Lord,” through their lives.

So, with those two commands, the author then shifts to two things believers should not do, “fall short of the grace of God” and “no root of bitterness springs up.” In the community of believers, there may be times when our brothers and sisters may falter. In those moments, we should help one another, as Paul wrote in Galatians 6:2, “Carry one another’s burdens; in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.”

There must also be the prevention of this root of bitterness to spring up among the community. This is a direct reference from Deuteronomy 29:18, “Be sure there is no man, woman, clan, or tribe among you today whose heart turns away from the Lord our God to go and worship the gods of those nations. Be sure there is no root among you bearing poisonous and bitter fruit.” Believers are warned to avoid the practices and attitudes that may grow like a weed within the community, hurting one another, “causing trouble and defiling many.” The author warns them that if they see the early stages of this within one another, to act quickly and help one another, pray for one another, as seen in James 5:16, “Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is very powerful in its effect.”

Believers are human, and therefore, are flawed and can stumble into temptation and sin. Yet, there is grace and forgiveness through God. When we fall short, may we immediately turn back to God. And if we see our fellow believers stumbling, may we pray for them and encourage them with peace and grace to return back to Him.


Isaac De Guzman


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