The writer of Hebrews encourages his Jewish audience to “hold on to grace” (Hebrews 12:28), meaning to take possession of the new covenant of grace by letting go of the old covenant of law.
The reason he encourages them to do so is because they were at a crossroad of faith.
Would they seek to achieve God’s acceptance, forgiveness, holiness (pure before God), and righteousness (clean before God) by following (holding on to) the rules, rituals, and regulations of the old covenant of law?
Or would they receive, through faith in Jesus, God’s acceptance, forgiveness, holiness, and righteousness freely provided for them in the new covenant of grace?
In the context of Hebrews 12:28, if they held on to the old covenant of law, they would experience terrifying judgment (Hebrews 13:18-21 - Mt. Sinai).
But, if they took possession of the new covenant of grace through faith in Jesus, they would experience tremendous joy (Hebrews 13:22-24 - Mt. Zion).
It seems like a no brainer...right?
Well it does...but it was a difficult decision for these people.
The reason they battled in deciding which covenant they would relate to God by, law or grace, is because they would face persecution from those who were already holding on to the old covenant of law.
Even though they would experience great joy internally by relating to God in grace, they would experience painful persecution externally from the old covenant group because they would abandon the groups traditions and teachings.
Additionally, they could be put to death at the hands of Nero, the Emperor of Rome.
Many today face the same challenges.
Will they place their faith in Jesus even though their unbelieving friends may persecute them?
Will others take possession of grace through faith in Jesus, abandoning their church’s traditions and teachings, relating only to God based upon what Jesus did for them, thus risking persecution from their church leaders and friends?
Or, will they continue to live with an old-covenant mentality, relating to God based upon their church’s traditions and teachings?
Paul’s words to the Jewish people facing this challenge are the same for us today...hold on to grace...take possession of grace.
Will those who take possession of grace experience external persecution?
Will they experience internal joy because of grace?
Many of you reading this post have already encountered persecution from your church leaders and friends because you have taken hold of grace by faith.
Some of you are rejecting grace and holding on to your church’s traditions and teachings because you want to avoid the persecution that will come from your church leaders and friends.
For some pastors who have come to discover grace, they are afraid to teach grace fully because they fear they will be let go from their church, thus losing financial provision for their family.
Remember, as the writer of Hebrews tells us, Jesus was persecuted by those who rejected grace and who held on to the old covenant of law.
But, for the joy set before him, he endured the cross so that people, you and me, could experience his grace.
I want to encourage you today.
Take possession of grace.
Take possession of the free gift of forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, and eternal life that God offers you in Jesus.
Cease living by following a set of church rules and requirements to obtain and maintain forgiveness, righteousness, holiness, and eternal life.
Instead, live, by faith in Jesus, in the grace God has freely, fully, and forever given to you.
Will you be persecuted by church leaders and friends because you have taken possession of grace?
Will you experience great joy because you have taken possession of grace?
“Therefore, receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us hold fast to [take possession of] the grace, by which we serve God, pleasing him with reverence and godly fear [godly fear is being wowed by God’s love and grace given to us in Jesus].”