Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Hebrews 12:9 - 12:13

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Paul Kretzmann Commentary - Hebrews 12:9 - 12:13

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This Chapter Verse Commentaries:

The object of God's chastening:

v. 9. 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?

v. 10. 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.

v. 11. 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.

v. 12. Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,

v. 13. and make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.

Another consideration of the argument is here introduced: Further, fathers of our flesh we had to discipline us, and we gave them reverence; should we not much rather subject ourselves to the Father of spirits and live? The conclusion is from the smaller to the greater. We Christians, with the average run of humanity, had human fathers, parents of our own flesh and blood, who had charge of our training, including the necessary chastening, which cannot be omitted without disastrous results. To these fathers we gave honor and respect according to the Fourth Commandment. But if we did so much for our earthly fathers, who were, after all, merely human, does it not follow that our attitude toward the heavenly Father, the Father of spirits, whom we worship, with whom we come in contact, in the spirit, should be one of cheerful and obedient subjection? For in doing so, aside from the fact that the duty seems so obvious, this obedient relation toward God, flowing out of faith as it does, gives us the true spiritual life.

That this thought is altogether reasonable, and should appeal to all readers at once, the author now shows: For they, indeed, for a few days disciplined us as it seemed best to them, but He for our advantage, that we may be partakers of His holiness. The truth of the comparison is obvious. The earthly fathers had charge of our training for only a short while, during the short period of childhood and youth, and the training which they gave during this time was certainly done in accordance with the ideals which they had set before them, subject nevertheless, however, to mistakes, especially as to the means employed and the degrees of severity used in various instances. But the discipline of God is without fail, always to our advantage; He never makes a mistake in the kind and in the amount of suffering which He has us endure. For it is by this training that we are brought to that degree of holiness which He desires us to possess. His chastening constantly reminds us of the duty which we owe Him, and we are thus trained in His discipleship more and more.

The author here answers an objection which some reader may make: All discipline, indeed, seems for the time to be not joy, but grief; but afterwards it yields, to those that are disciplined by it, the peaceable fruit of righteousness. The writer has throughout spoken of God's discipline in a most enthusiastic strain, and his ardor is not dampened by the objection which will tend to arise, at least in the hearts of such as are still weak in faith, that suffering of all kinds is a most unpleasant experience. That, indeed, is true: while the discipline lasts, while God permits the suffering to strike us, it certainly is a matter of pain and not of joy. But without training, correction, wholesome restraint, strict regulations, and an occasional punishment the aim of God cannot be accomplished with regard to His children. It is therefore solely in our interest that He uses this method. The result invariably is that those who are exercised and trained by it will be able to bear such peaceable fruit of righteousness as is well-pleasing to the heavenly Father. It is through this training of the Lord that our faith is rendered pure, true, precious, that we ourselves are thoroughly prepared, strengthened, founded unto eternal salvation, 1Pe_1:6-9; 1Pe_5:10; Rom_8:25; Rom_5:3-5.

This being true, the appeal may be made with full force: Wherefore lift up the listless hands and the paralyzed knees, and make the paths straight for your feet to walk in, that the lame be not turned out of the way, but rather be healed. Listless, nerveless hands and weak, paralyzed knees are not the members which should be found in true Christians, Isa_35:3. Knowing that the Lord always has thoughts of peace with regard to them, they can rely upon His promise, which He will keep without fail, Isa_40:29-31. Instead of walking with unsteady feet, as under the weight of a heavy load, which tends to bear him down to the ground, every Christian should let his feet go straight before him along the path of sanctification as prepared by Christ, swerving neither to the right nor to the left, Pro_4:26-27; Isa_30:21. If this is the case, then also the lame and limping, those Christian brothers that are still weak in the faith, will not be discouraged and turned quite out of the way, but will be given an opportunity of being healed of their spiritual infirmity. If the stronger believers are always firm and steadfast in all matters pertaining to sanctification and the discipleship of Christ, then their example will serve as an aid to the weaker brethren, causing them to follow the Master without doubt and without flinching until they reach the goal above, Isa_35:5-6.