Hebrews 12:12-17

Talks for Growing Christians

The Possibility of Falling Short of the Grace of God

Hebrews 12:12-17

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Lesson Number 27

Background Notes

Doctrinal Point(s)

  1. It is possible to fall short of the grace of God.
  2. It is possible to harbor a root of bitterness.
  3. It is possible to conceal the character of Esau.

Practical Application

  1. Let’s watch our hands and knees and feet.


  1. Note that Hebrews 12:12 starts out with the word “therefore”. What should we do when we see a word like this?
  2. What is the message of Hebrews 12:1-11?
  3. What is the connection between Hebrews 12:1-11 and Hebrews 12:12-13?
  4. Refer to Hebrews 12:15. Is it possible to fall short of the grace of God?
  5. To whom was Hebrews 12:12-17 addressed?
  6. In this section, what is meant by “holiness”? See Hebrews 12:14.


  1. It is a clue to look back at the first eleven verses.
  2. The Christian life was like a marathon race. God does not make the race easy, but He designs it to teach us and train us along the way.
  3. The analogy continues – just as a marathon runner needs strength to keep his hands up his knees from collapsing and needs concentration to watch where he is going, so is the Christian life. Christians running the race set before them need strength for the long haul, as in a marathon.
  4. Yes. When the readers became weary and discouraged, and were tempted to turn back to Judaism they could fall short of the grace of God.
  5. To the elders or church leaders of the Hebrews. Why? To encourage the flock to grow strong, endure, and move on in the faith.
  6. To the elders or church leaders of the Hebrews. Why? To encourage the flock to grow strong, endure, and move on in the faith.


  1. Hebrews 12:12-17 is an exhortation to elders or church leaders, both then and today to encourage the flock to grow strong and endure and move on in the faith. Are you an elder? Are you encouraging believers in the faith? Are you being encouraged in the faith? It is so important for the well-being of the church to encourage one another in the faith. Are you an encourager?
  2. Many things happen in our lives that could cause us to be bitter. But harboring a root of bitterness has harmful effects, causing others to be defiled or destroyed, even within the church. God warns against harboring a root of bitterness, and he helps us to look carefully lest it cause repercussions, both to us and to others.
  3. Review the example of Esau, an Old Testament apostate. Because he cared little for spiritual things his lifestyle of immorality and godlessness was evident. Later he had regrets, but he had lost the blessing and there was no repentance. Beware of apostasy in your midst.


  1. Are you watching your service for the Lord? Are you in constant prayer? Are you walking with the Lord in discipleship? Are you encouraging one another in these areas? Be an encourager.

Key Verses

  • “ Strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, and make straight paths for you feet… ” - Hebrews 12:12-13
  • “ Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord. ” - Hebrews 12:14
  • “ …looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled. ” - Hebrews 12:15

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