December 23, 2016 Matthew

Resisting Unto Blood – Hebrews 12:4

In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. Hebrews 12:4

What does that mean?

  1. The sufferings which have come upon the readers are only small, and a salutary chastisement at the hand of God. – Meyer’s NT commentary
  2. Ye have not yet resisted’ – then others had done so; and the writer bids his readers contrast their own comparative immunity from persecution from the fate of such, in order that they may the more cheerfully do the easier task devolved upon them. Who were those others? If the supposition of many is correct that this Epistle was addressed to the Mother Church at Jerusalem, the fate of Stephen the first martyr, and of James the brother of John, who had ‘had the rule over’ that Church, may have been in the writer’s mind. If the date assigned to the letter by some is accepted, the persecution under Nero, which had lighted the gardens of the Capitol with living torches, had already occurred; and the writer may have wished the-Jerusalem Church to Bethink themselves that they had fared better than their brethren in Rome. But whether these conjectures are adopted or no, there is another contrast evidently in the writer’s mind. He has Been speaking of the long series of heroes of the faith, some of whom had been ‘stoned and sawn asunder,’ and he would have the Christians whom he addresses contrast their position with that of these ancient saints and martyrs. And there is another contrast more touching still, more wonderful and impressive, in his mind; for my text follows immediately upon a reference to Jesus Christ, ‘who endured the Cross, despising the shame.’ So Himself ‘had resisted unto blood.’ And thus the writer bids his readers think of the martyrs in the Mother Church; of the blood that had deluged the Church at Rome; of the slaughtered saints in past generations; and, above all, of the great Captain of their salvation; and, animated by the thoughts, manfully to bear and mightily to resist in the conflict that is laid upon them. ‘Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against Sin.’ – MacLaren’s Exposition
  3. Here (as in 1 Corinthians 9:26) there is a transition of thought from a race to a combat. Your trials have not yet reached the point of dying in the good fight of faith, as has been the case with some of your brethren before you, who have followed their Leader to the end (cf. Hebrews 13:7). – Pulpit Commentary

A strange war or battle indeed, where the encouragement and exhortation is to die, if need be, in your resistance to sin.

Sin is worse than dying for these Christians. They would rather have their skin ripped apart and die, than be forced to sin. For example, the denial of Christ, or to do something that dishonors God.

What about you?

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