Lest Anyone Misses the Grace of God
It is said that John Bunyan¡¦s ¡¥Pilgrim¡¦s Progress¡¦ was at one time the best-selling Christian book because he accurately described all the difficulties experienced by a Christian when traveling the road to Heaven as a wayfarer on earth. Abram was called to leave Ur of the Chaldeans to go to Canaan. The Israelites were saved and left Egypt where they were enslaved to enter into Canaan, the land of milk and honey. Naomi and Ruth returned from Moab to Bethlehem in Canaan. The experiences of these people all bring forth the same spiritual lesson ¡V they were called by God to take up the lives of pilgrims in order to go to the land promised by the Lord. It is the same for Christians in the world. We are the Church that has been called from the world by God to travel the road to Heaven.
The author of the book of Hebrews delivers five warnings to the Church traveling the road to Heaven: (1)
If we ignore God¡¦s words while living on this earth, it will be easy for us to drift away from Him by the currents of tradition (2:1-4). (2) If we no longer believe in the word of God and harden our hearts against the Holy Spirit, we will not enjoy peace (3:7 ¡V 4:11). (3) If our spiritual lives do not grow and we lack knowledge of the Bible, we will not know how to distinguish the Truth, and can be influenced by heathen and heretic religious teachings (5:11 ¡V 6:8). (4) If we despise the admonition of the Holy Spirit, we will fall into the prosecution and judgment of God (10:26-31). (5) If we continue to deny our faith, the bitter root will grow and we will finally miss the grace of God (12:14-29).
Many Biblical personages received God¡¦s blessing initially, but later lost His grace because they failed to obey Him and hardened their hearts against Him in rebellion. Cain was the firstborn of the human race and of Adam. He also voluntarily offered sacrifices to God. Great honour should have been his. But he was a stubborn, jealous, quick-tempered and unappeasable man. Because God favoured the sacrifice of his brother Abel and did not accept his offering, he became angry and bitter inside, even laying blame on his brother. Although God had forewarned him, he still killed his brother in a jealous rage. Cain missed the grace of God because he unleashed the jealousy and wrath of the flesh.
Reuben was the firstborn of Jacob - Israel¡¦s might and first sign of his strength. God granted Reuben as a son when the Lord saw the misery of his mother Leah. He was a man who cherished his mother, willingly gave way to others, had compassion on Joseph and embraced brotherly love. Among the twelve sons of Israel, he should have excelled in honour and in power. Yet he went up onto his father¡¦s bed and had intercourse with his father¡¦s concubine. In the end, he destroyed all the blessings due him as the firstborn. Reuben missed the grace of God because he indulged the debauchery and lusts of the flesh, ignoring kinship and dishonouring his father and God.
Esau, the grandson of Abraham - the Father of Faith - and the firstborn of Isaac, had his father¡¦s love. He should have received double the blessing. He grew up in wealth and had no concern for the necessities of life, but did not perceive that the grace he enjoyed was a gift of God. Devoted to earthly pleasures and in pursuit of the thrills and stimulations of the flesh, he looked down on the experiences of his grandfather (Esau was around 16 years old when Abraham died). He did not place much importance on his relationship with God or spiritual blessings, but sold his firstborn¡¦s birthright for a temporary gratification of the flesh. In marital relationships, he followed his own will and despised the guidance of his parents. Esau lost his blessing and the grace of God not because of his brother Jacob¡¦s deceit, but because he gave free rein to his passions and abandoned grace.
Cain, Reuben and Esau all grew up in grace, but missed the blessings of God because of attachment to the flesh. How can we ignore these warnings?
By: Daniel To