by Harley Howard

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THE BOOK OF HEBREWS CHAPTER 12:15-29 (22 of 24)
Harley Howard

15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace
of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up
trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled;

“Looking diligently” means “to oversee.” It is the
same word that is used of elders and their
responsibility to watch over the flock of God that is
entrusted to their care. I would have to conclude that
this may have been written directly to those leaders
whose responsibility was to watch over the flock.
However, it could well refer to the entire church
body, looking out for one another and that
continually. For what reason? So that no one fails at
the grace of God. That no one is left to fall back and
left behind in the race and so fail to reach the goal,
or fall short of the end.

When people are allowed to be unaccountable to one
another, when people are allowed to fall and you do
not pick them up, then these are the same people who
may well become resentful. God’s discipline process is
strong at times and there is a tendency on the part of
some to become bitter. This bitterness may well come
as a result of other believers failing to do their
part in encouragement and rebuke during these times of
testing. The danger is that a shoot or a sprout of
bitterness or bitter hatred or extreme wickedness
grows up or shoots forth in that individual(s), then
this person(s) becomes an annoyance or a disturbance
to the harmony and peace that is to be the norm of the
church’s behavior. The result of this unconfessed
bitterness results in a defiled church. The word,
defiled, actually means to dye something with another
color. It also means something that is contaminated or
polluted. Bitterness affects every relationship, whole
churches, marriages, etc. Bitterness that is not
repented of and is allowed to fester inwardly and to
grow will one day bring forth a fruit that is so
strong that it will ...

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