Hebrews 12:9
(9) Furthermore we have had fathers.--Rather, Furthermore we had the fathers of our flesh as chasteners (i.e., to chasten us). The thought of the former verses has been, "He chastens as a lather." From likeness we here pass to contrast. The contrast drawn is between our natural parents and "the Father of spirits" (comp. Numbers 16:22; Numbers 27:16; Zechariah 12:1)--the Creator of all spirits, who is the Giver of life to all, who knows the spirit which He has made (see Psalm 94:9-10) and can discipline it by His chastening.

And live.--Since the life of the spirit subsists only in union with Him.

Verse 9. - Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected us (more correctly, we once had, or, we used to have, the fathers of our flesh as chasteners), and we gave them reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? This introduces an à fortiori argument. We are reminded of the days of our youth, while we were under parental discipline, and bore with it submissively: much more should we submit to the discipline of our heavenly Father, to whom we are as children under training all our life long! Commentators differ as to what is exactly meant by the contrast between "the fathers of our flesh" and "the Father of spirits (τῶν πνευμάτων)." Some (among moderns Delitzsch) find here a support to the theory of creationism as against traducianism; i.e. that the soul of each individual, as distinct from the body, is a new creation, not transmitted from the parents. This view would have more to go on than it has, were we justified in implying ἡμῶν after πνευμάτων ("our spirits," in opposition to "our flesh," preceding). But τῶν πνευμάτων seems evidently meant to be understood generally; and the expression (suggested probably by Numbers 16:22 and Numbers 27:16, "The God of the spirits of all flesh") need imply only that, though God is the original Author of flesh as well as spirit, yet the latter, whether in man or otherwise existing, has in a peculiar sense its parentage from him (cf. Genesis 2:7, "The LORD GOD formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul;" also Job 33:4, "The Spirit of the LORD hath made me, and the breath of the Almighty hath given me life"). Our earthly parents transmit to us our carnal existence; our spiritual part, in whatever mysterious way derived or inspired, is duo to our Divine parentage; and it is in respect of this that we are God's children and accountable to him. But, as has been intimated above, it is not human spirits only that are here in the writer's view. God is the Father of all "the spirits," whether in the flesh or not; all are of Divine parentage, for God himself is Spirit - Πνεῦμα ὁ Θεός (John 4:24). Chrysostom explains thus: Τῷ πατρὶ τῶν πνευμὰτων ἤτοι τῶν χαρισμάτων λέγει, ἤτοι τῶν εὐχῶν ψυχῶν ἤτοι τῶν ἀσωμάτων δυνάμεων

12:1-11 The persevering obedience of faith in Christ, was the race set before the Hebrews, wherein they must either win the crown of glory, or have everlasting misery for their portion; and it is set before us. By the sin that does so easily beset us, understand that sin to which we are most prone, or to which we are most exposed, from habit, age, or circumstances. This is a most important exhortation; for while a man's darling sin, be it what it will, remains unsubdued, it will hinder him from running the Christian race, as it takes from him every motive for running, and gives power to every discouragement. When weary and faint in their minds, let them recollect that the holy Jesus suffered, to save them from eternal misery. By stedfastly looking to Jesus, their thoughts would strengthen holy affections, and keep under their carnal desires. Let us then frequently consider him. What are our little trials to his agonies, or even to our deserts? What are they to the sufferings of many others? There is a proneness in believers to grow weary, and to faint under trials and afflictions; this is from the imperfection of grace and the remains of corruption. Christians should not faint under their trials. Though their enemies and persecutors may be instruments to inflict sufferings, yet they are Divine chastisements; their heavenly Father has his hand in all, and his wise end to answer by all. They must not make light of afflictions, and be without feeling under them, for they are the hand and rod of God, and are his rebukes for sin. They must not despond and sink under trials, nor fret and repine, but bear up with faith and patience. God may let others alone in their sins, but he will correct sin in his own children. In this he acts as becomes a father. Our earthly parents sometimes may chasten us, to gratify their passion, rather than to reform our manners. But the Father of our souls never willingly grieves nor afflicts his children. It is always for our profit. Our whole life here is a state of childhood, and imperfect as to spiritual things; therefore we must submit to the discipline of such a state. When we come to a perfect state, we shall be fully reconciled to all God's chastisement of us now. God's correction is not condemnation; the chastening may be borne with patience, and greatly promote holiness. Let us then learn to consider the afflictions brought on us by the malice of men, as corrections sent by our wise and gracious Father, for our spiritual good.Furthermore, we have had fathers of our flesh,.... Earthly parents; who are so called, because they are the immediate causes and instruments of the generation of their children, and of their fleshly bodies and worldly beings; and to distinguish them from the Father of spirits: and this shows, that they have not the spirit or soul from them, only the flesh or body, and which is frail and corrupt; and therefore goes by this name.

Which corrected us; early, and at proper seasons, in love, and for instruction, and to prevent ruin, and death:

and we gave them reverence; by submitting to their correction, and hearkening to it; by taking shame to themselves, and acknowledging the offence committed; by retaining the same affection for them; and, by a carefulness not to offend for the future.

Shall we not much rather be in subjection to the Father of spirits, and live? that is, to God, who is so called; not because he is the Creator of angels, who are spirits; but because he is the Creator of the souls of men; the soul is the more noble and excellent part of man: it bears a resemblance to God; it is, the life of man, and is immortal; it is exceeding precious, and the redemption of it; this was at first immediately created by God; and he still continues to create souls, which he preserves in their being, and has the power of saving and destroying them. Besides, God may be so called, because he is the author and donor of all spiritual gifts, and particularly of regenerating grace; it is he who renews a right spirit in them, and puts a new spirit into them: now such ought to be in "subjection" to him; not only as creatures to a Creator, and as subjects to their prince: but as children to a father, and particularly to him, as and when correcting; they should bow to his sovereignty, resign to his will, be humble under his mighty hand, be still and quiet, and bear all patiently; the advantage arising from such a subjection is life: "and live"; or "that ye may live"; or "and ye shall live": more comfortably, and more to the glory of God, in communion and fellowship with him here, and in heaven to all eternity.

Hebrews 12:8
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