Have You Resisted Unto Blood, Striving Against Sin?

Those who would defend sin often use Hebrews chapter 12 to prove that if you are under chastisement for your sins, then this confirms you are a child of God. One verse says:

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. (v. 4)

The other is:

 For whom the Lord loves, he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives. (v.6)

These passages help support their flawed cliché of, “I sin every day in thought, word, and deed.”

This leads me to wonder, what chastisement is one receiving every day since they claim to sin daily? How does God chastise them? What method does God use? Moreover, if we really think about it, their whole life would only be about sinning and chastisement. Will there ever come a day when the sin will stop so the chastisement will end? If this chastisement from God they receive is supposed to teach them a lesson, what lesson have they learned if they continue to sin? Should I sin every day just to prove I am a child of God?  Does this mean God does not love me if I choose not to sin against Him on a daily basis?

Sin supporters will also add that if you fail to confess your sins you will certainly be chastised (using Heb. 12:6) over your disobedience and as a result, run the risk of being prematurely killed by God for shaming His holy name. But I have to wonder. Why did God never kill Paul for his supposed willful and defiant behavior since he is considered the chief of sinners even after conversion?

For that matter, if all our future sins are really “paid for in advance” and guarantees us eternal salvation regardless how we live afterward (after all, one cannot go a day without sinning), then is not a confession of ongoing sin really purposeless since God is now morally blind to any sins we commit now and in the future? Furthermore, how could God possibly KILL (chastise) us over sins that are “paid for” by the provision of Calvary, and charge them against us again? It would be absurd that God would kill us for sins He has already forgiven!

Dear reader, do you see the nonsense of all this when we apply a little common sense to unbiblical doctrines?

From Genesis to Revelation, it is clear that we must forsake our wickedness, purge our heart of evil, and seek the mercy of God.[1] Would not living and encouraging holy living as instructed in scripture be a better option? This certainly means the difference between life and death (eternal consequences).

The word Chastisement

When people look at the word “chastisement” they automatically think “punishment.” When Isaiah says, “But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him” (Isa. 53:5), people automatically read it as, “He was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities, the punishment of our peace was upon him.”

Punishment has to do with retribution. Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies points out that there are two words in Hebrew that are translated as “chastisement.” One as punishment, chastening; and the other as, to discipline, to correct, to chasten.”[2] Since Jesus is not punished, the latter definition in Isaiah, to me, is more appropriate.

Yes indeed, chastisement is for believers.

If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? (Heb. 12:7).

In the NET reads:

Endure your suffering as discipline; God is treating you as sons. For what son is there that a father does not discipline?

However, is it over sin? No believer should be living in deliberate rebellion. If one is living in willful, blatant sin, they can no longer be considered a child of God. Sin has a non-negotiable penalty, which is death.

Notice the passage in Heb. 12:4 where it states:

You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin.

Notice it does not say “In your struggle against YOUR SIN…” Has anyone ever accomplished drawing blood from striving against their own sins? Should striving against our own sin come to the point of shedding our own blood?

Let us look at the context and draw its meaning:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, we must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and run with endurance the race set out for us, keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith. For the joy set out for him he endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. You have not yet resisted to the point of bloodshed in your struggle against sin.  (Hebrews 12:1-4)

The verse is not talking about our own sin, for we should not have any in our life. It has to do with persecution, the sin of others.

And who should we think of when we come under such persecution? Think of Jesus:

Think of him who endured such opposition against himself by sinners, so that you may not grow weary in your souls and give up. Heb. 12:3

This has to do with the “sinners against us;” the sinful acts they commit against us as they did against Christ.

persecution

If we read Hebrews chapter 11, we find the early saints resisted unto the shedding of blood, not because of some besetting sin they had in their own life, but from the sin of others (Heb.11:36-38). Those saints went under much persecution.

We are informed that those who will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution (2 Timothy 3:12). Hebrews 12 is not telling us that the believers are chastised, as in punishment, for their own sin. This is not about God the Father playing the big bully who beats His children to instill fear in them not to sin. Rather, Hebrews 12 is preparing the believers for persecution. We learn obedience through suffering. The same was true of Jesus:

Although he was a son, he learned obedience through the things he suffered. And by being perfected in this way, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him… (Hebrews 5:8-9)

Jesus also endured the discipline of His Father through suffering under the sin of others. This is intended to encourage us as we undergo persecution as well.

Those who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. For some of us, it may not be to the point of bloodshed at the hands of others. People may simply lie about us, spread rumors, insult us, etc..

Jesus said:

Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.

It should be expected that people are going to insult us and falsely say all kinds of evil against us because of Jesus.

What about the verse that says, “We must get rid of every weight and the sin that clings so closely?” First note that it does not say, “we must get rid of every weight and the sins we are committing.” The true meaning is, just as we would put aside a weight, we would also put aside persecution and not allow it to hinder our running the race that is set before us.

We have to lay aside every weight. (see also 1 Peter 5:7) We cannot let it distract us. If we allow it, it certainly can hinder us. We may feel like giving up; however, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad,” Jesus said.

The apostles did as Jesus said. I am reminded of the story in Acts 5. The council came together and ordered the apostles to be flogged, and they were told not to speak in the name of Jesus and then released. These men were whipped! They suffered not only from verbal accusations but physically as well. And what did they do?

So they went on their way from the presence of the Council, rejoicing that they had been considered worthy to suffer shame for His name. And every day, in the temple and from house to house, they kept right on teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.

We are in a time where all the brothers and sisters in Christ will need to edify and encourage one another in times of persecution. For some of us, it will be to the point of our own blood shed by the hands of others. This is happening today in other countries. For others, it will not be so extreme. (Matt. 5:43-45; John 16:1-4; 1 Peter 4:12-13)

Remember what Jesus said:

And all nations will hate you because you are my followers. But everyone who endures to the end will be saved. (Matt. 10:22)

All men will hate you because of me. (Luke 21:17)

If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. (John 15:18)

I end this by also remembering the words of Paul:

Therefore, when we could stand it no longer, we decided to remain alone in Athens and send Timothy, our brother who works with us for God in the gospel of the Messiah, to strengthen and encourage you in your faith, so that no one would be shaken by these persecutions, for which you are aware that we were destined. In fact, when we were with you, we told you ahead of time that we were going to suffer persecution. And as you know, that is what happened. (1 Thess. 3:2-4)

[1] Example: Isa. 55:7; Jer. 26:13; Pro. 28:13; Jonah 3:8-10; Matt. 12:41; Lk. 15:11-32; Acts 3:19; 2 Co. 7:10-11; 2 Tim. 2:19; Jas. 3:7-10; 1 Pet. 4:1; Rev. 2:5; 2:16; 2:20-22; 3:3; 3:19

[2] Wilson’s Old Testament Word Studies, William Wilson, Mac Donald Publishing Co., McLean, VA. No Date. Page74.Have You Resisted Unto Blood, Striving Against Sin?

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