The Christian life is thought by many to be easy and happy. Reality teaches us that it is difficult. The devil and his hoard hate us because of Jesus. Our worldview and lifestyle is one of holiness instead of unholiness. There are several comparisons in Scriptures with Galatians 5:19-23. The purpose of those who hate Jesus are to intimidate and shame. If that doesn’t work, then many other tricks even to torture and death. Hate has no satisfaction. The Hebrews writer wishes to encourage his readers to faithfulness, steadfastness, and not to falter. God’s grace is always sufficient. See 2 Corinthians 12:9-10, Ephesians 3:6, and 2 Peter 1:3.
My translation and notes of Hebrews 12:14-17
Warning To Not Falter
14 Pursue peace with all, as well as holiness. Without [holiness] no one will see the Lord.
[We are to pursue (G1377), that is, be dedicated to follow and catch. There are two things Christians are to pursue. The first is peace because the world’s way of interaction too often is one of anger and confrontation. There may be a time to be angry and to confront another but not as a worldview or lifestyle. The second thing to pursue is holiness. This is separation from the world’s worldview, lifestyle, rules, style of leadership, etc. The contrast is seen in Galatians 5:16-26].
15 Beware lest anyone comes short of God’s grace, that no root of bitterness springing up troubles [youp] and through it many become defiled,
[This would be to give up the Christian worldview and lifestyle. Esau is an example of one who gave up God’s ways. Bitterness happens when disappointment and hurt never ends. The root sprouts into a plant and bears fruit. This fruit harms the believer and the congregation. To be defiled is the opposite of being holy. Bitterness against God, against people, against God’s ways will defile us. We are defiled when we sin].
16 Lest any be a fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for a single meal gave away his birthright.
[There are two things to beware of. The first is bitterness. The second is sin as in Esau’s case. See what a little can do: Ecclesiastes 10:1 NLT As dead flies cause even a bottle of perfume to stink, so a little foolishness spoils great wisdom and honor. Compare the use of little in 2 Chronicles 19:2, Nehemiah 6:13, Nehemiah 13:26, Matthew 5:13-16, and Galatians 2:12-14].
17 For youp know that afterwards when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected, because he could find no opportunity to reverseN4 [what had happened] even though he sought it carefully with tears.
[Choices have consequences. Our choices can be based on wisdom or sinful pleasures. Esau chose the sinful pleasures route and lost. Vincent () comments: The phrase place of repentance…does not mean that Esau was rendered incapable of repentance, which is clearly contradicted by what follows; nor that he was not able to persuade Isaac to change his mind and to recall the blessing already bestowed on Jacob and give it to him. This is unnatural, forced, and highly improbable. The words place of repentance mean an opportunity to repair by repenting. He found no way to reverse by repentance what he had done. The penalty could not be reversed in the nature of the case. This is clear from Isaac’s words, Genesis 27:33. BEACON BIBLE EXPOSITIONS notes: Esau is another solemn warning of the fact that there are some choices that cannot be reversed. Once made, they must always stand. There are “seasons of the soul” in which the call to pursue holiness is strong and clear. If this call be persistently rejected, the example of Esau warns that it could be lost].