“Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us hold on to grace. By it, we may serve God acceptably, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.” (Hebrews 12:28-29, HCSB)
Have you ever walked over some rocks that weren’t firmly set in the ground or on a wobbly platform or a floor with rotting wood. Or maybe you’ve been in an earthquake where you could feel the actual ground beneath you moving.
Whenever our footing becomes unsure, our first instinct is to grab something that seems more stable and hold on.
The Hebrews writer points out that in the past, in the Old Testament, when human beings encountered God it was a terrifying experience. When the law was given on Mt. Sinai, even Moses was terrified and trembled at God’s appearance (vs. 21).
Now, we can approach God like we’re coming to Mt. Zion, the location of the Temple, with praise and worship and thanksgiving. And, the Hebrews writer isn’t referring to the Mt. Zion in Jerusalem, but the heavenly Mt. Zion, the city of God. The Mt. Zion in Jerusalem was a prototype of God’s actual dwelling place in heaven.
So, the heavenly Mt. Zion is the place where God the Father abides and where Jesus serves as both the High Priest and sacrificial lamb–the mediator (vs. 24)–of the new covenant, which He established by the shedding of His blood on the cross.
While Mt. Sinai signifies the terrifying law of God, Mt. Zion signifies the amazing grace of God.
And this heavenly sanctuary is the source for God’s grace. Now, we enter into God’s presence through a relationship or covenant based on His grace, not on His law. And the grace of God is the source of our strength for serving God and His Kingdom.
But God’s grace always demands a human response. We must receive God’s grace and then we must hold on to it!
With the inauguration of God’s Kingdom on earth as it is in heaven, a cosmic shaking is taking place. God, from His heavenly sanctuary, is removing the created order and replacing it with His heavenly order, “a kingdom that cannot be shaken.”
So we must hold on to grace, God’s grace, to keep our footing and help us persevere in our faith in God in a created order that is undergoing a great cosmic upheaval.
Holding on to God’s grace ensures that we will one day come to the heavenly Mt. Zion, the city of God, where we will dwell in the presence of God, Jesus, angels, and all the righteous people who have been saved by God’s grace (vs. 22-24)!
“Fight the good fight for the faith; take hold of eternal life” (1 Timothy 6:12, HCSB).