Thursday, September 04, 2014

A Thought

“[Take care that you be no] fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected; for he found no place for repentance though he sought it diligently with tears.”  Hebrews 12:16-17 NKJV

This one is hard because the implication is that when we make a hasty and rash decision in a moment of weakness, we should not expect to come back later and ask for the blessing we seek.  Notice, however, that the author points out the reason Esau was rejected was because “he found no place for repentance”.  In the context of Esau’s story, then, we see that he was a pretty demanding fellow and perhaps felt as though there were special privileges for the firstborn to which he was entitled.  In the cultural sense it is true that the firstborn were entitled to certain privileges and rights of inheritance.  Notice also that The Lord does not take secular culture into account when He calls us forward to take our place in His story!

Repentance is another of those “churchy” words we don’t seem to have a lot of time or tolerance for because, perhaps like Esau, we have reached a certain level of entitlement in which we demand what we are convinced is rightfully ours.  The biblical truth, however, seems to reject our own secularized understanding of benign religion in which we are not fully engaged body, mind, AND soul.  What is often overlooked in the reality of Messiah’s sacrifice is that His path is the path we must choose, but we are instead more satisfied with the bumper-sticker theology that simply says, ‘Jesus took my place so I wouldn’t have to’.

While this is true in a sense, it is true only as it pertains to The Judgment.  Jesus took our place in The Judgment so we can find our way out of a secular world that has no real meaning and into the glory of the everlasting Kingdom that gives us meaning and purpose in this life.  We must not convince ourselves, however, that it is in any way an entitlement without understanding that just as Jesus took our place in The Judgment, we must take His place in our living.  That is, we must do as He did, teach as He taught, and most importantly of all, love as He loved – even to the exclusion of self.

This is what it means to live in Covenant.  The Lord has made a New Covenant that includes the Gentiles.  While it may be debatable about exactly what of the Torah we Gentiles are expected to uphold, we can never do any less than to love as completely and as selflessly as Jesus did.  It is discipleship at its finest AND at its most brutal and difficult, but it is also whom we are expected to be.  Not without our flaws, of course, but certainly without our hatred, our covetousness, our anger, our jealousies, our bitterness, and without any sense that we are entitled to something which is given only by The Lord’s mercy – never taken by our demand.

“Ask and it will be given to you”, our Lord Jesus teaches.  Yet St. James warns, “You ask and do not receive because you ask amiss, that you may spent it on your pleasures (4:3)”.  Like Esau who did not seem to be the least bit concerned about The Covenant but only about what he gets for himself, we must not find ourselves in that boat and “find no place for repentance” and thus outside of The Covenant.  It is our Holy Father’s good pleasure to give, so we must be in a good place to receive.



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