Establishing The Heart 2

"…For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace.." Heb. 13:9

Resuming our study from last week, we will proceed on through the chapter. As we will discover, each verse relates to almost every area of of daily life, and each admonition has its resource from God's gift of grace that dwells in the believer's heart. God's grace is the very and only reason every believer is saved, and is kept saved. It is the "first-move goodness" He has shown to us that forgives, changes, and enables us to be wonderfully different in our approach to our world, to our lives, and to those in it. Often heard at the funeral home is the expression," He/she was a good person." This compliment is a description of that person's all-around goodness in their life. However, it is a dangerous mistake to believe that the deceased went to Heaven solely on the merit of this goodness. This thinking denies the lostness of the soul and the need for it's salvation. It sees the need of Jesus as impertinent, for the bad is not understood as the sin it is.

There are two types of goodness. First, the goodness that stems from self-righteousness. Though this type is noble and commendable, it is flawed because of a person's sinful nature. He thinks his good will neutralize or erase the bad in his heart and conduct. Secondly, the goodness that is the fruit of the Grace of God in the heart. Aware of our unworthiness, and that God moved first in choosing to show us mercy in spite of our own sin and deprivation, a believer in turn has both the desire and ability to be good in his/her own personal life. A person desires and is able to do good toward others in every circumstance, in any given situation. The life He has now given us we can do good with and right by. As He shows His Grace daily to us, we in turn show this same goodness of Grace to others. It is by this means that the Truth and Goodness of Christ can be shared and received. Actually, living right isn't the laborious striving to keep a long list of do's and don'ts, but it is rather just being good toward others and returning to Him the same goodness He showers us with. This is why it is imperative that we be ever mindful of our hearts, to let it and keep it established with Grace.

Now, let's look at some more ways to exercise this precious Goodness.

V.9 " ..be content with what you have.." How do we view our possessions? Do others see us as never happy, ever wanting more and more, and constantly complaining about not having what those around us have? Or do others see us as settled, enjoying what God has provided us? If God is SO GOOD to me, then I ought to be good with it, before others and especially to Him first. Remember, The Lord is our HELPER, and He will never leave us.

V.7, 17 " Remember them which have the rule over you.. whose faith follow..Obey them…submit yourselves…."  To rule means to GUIDE. Be good to those older in the faith than we are. They have been at it longer, and we all can learn from them. It doesn't matter what their style of teaching/preaching/place of service may be, we all can learn from them. Show them the respect, listen to what is said, not necessarily how it is said. Follow their Good example. To be good with them is to be good to our souls.

V.10-15 " We have an altar…Jesus also, that He might sanctify the people with His own blood, suffered without the gate… Let us go forth unto Him..offer the sacrifice of praise..the fruit of of lips giving thanks to His name."  Perhaps the most important place to every believer is his ALTAR. Whether it is this old spot here at the front of the church, the floor beside your bed, or the seat of your car, it is the very place where you meet with God, and He meets with you. Jesus, for our sinful soul's sake, took an execution place for hardened criminals called Golgotha, and by His own bloody suffering and death transformed it into an ALTAR. An altar where He met with God as the Sacrifice and where God met with Him in acceptance and Propitiation for us all.  Since He has done this for us, for no other reason than being graciously Good, we ought to be good with this altar. Use it often. Use it thoughtfully. Use it wisely. Be ever so good to Him with an ongoing fellowship and bond. Show others your altar and that you are a person of the altar.

V.16 "But to do good and to communicate forget not: for with such sacrifices God is well pleased." Now here is the mission of God's Grace in you. We can choose just to be a private believer and avoid other believers and those unsaved. We can hide our testimony and try to just slip through life unnoticed, settling for being one of the crowd. Or we can choose to reach out with this mighty goodness in heart both to our fellow believer and to the soul that doesn't know this Grace. Regardless of what spiritual good you have in your heart, it will do you no good if you don't share it in being good to your fellow man. All around you people are starving, some for a friend, others for an answer. Others want to be loved or just talk. Everyone needs someone. You do too. Exercise that unmerited, first-step Goodness that God is drowning you in, and make someone happy. There, and only there, is where you will find happiness and fulfillment; your salvation and your purpose will have come full-circle. The best way to appreciate Grace given is to give it.

Now, let us close with these verses..V.20, 21. This is both a benediction and a prayerful desire for it's reader. Pray it with me, ask Him with me for this, then let's submit ourselves unto Him that He can use us all to make this passage a reality in our daily walk:

" Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the the blood of the everlasting covenant, Make you PERFECT IN EVERY GOOD WORK to do His will, working in you that which is well-pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ; to whom be glory forever and ever, AMEN."