They stood at the foot of the mount and they trembled. Though they were so close they could touch it, they didn’t dare. The blazing fire emanating from it, the darkness and gloom hovering over it, the tempest swirling about it–all indicating that, while this was holy ground, it was too holy for anything unholy to be near. And then there was the sound of the trumpet, the voice from on high, which made the hearers beg for no more messages to be spoken to them. With dread they understood why they had been told, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned” (Heb. 12:18-21).
And, this morning, the writer to the Hebrews reminds me that we too stand at the foot of a mountain. That we live life on the edge.
But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to innumerable angels in festal gathering, and to the assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven, and to God, the judge of all, and to the spirits of the righteous made perfect . . .
(Hebrews 12:22-23 ESV)
If I let my mind just focus on things of this earth, right now I’m sitting at my desk with a book and a computer before me. But if I set my mind on things that are above (Col. 3:2), I am standing at the foot of a mountain. If I bring every thought into captivity, allowing the word of God to be illuminated by the Spirit of God on the things of God, I am on the outer perimeter of promised Mount Zion, the city of the living God. I am doing life on the edge.
Far from being repelled by the terror of getting too close to the holiest of holy places, I have been declared holy myself, and so, draw near with confidence. I don’t see darkness and dread awaiting those who would dare venture closer to the hill, but, instead, anticipate with longing that day when I am beckoned to ascend, knowing that what awaits are innumerable angels in festal gathering, and a grand reunion with those who are already enrolled in heaven–my spirit being welcomed to join the spirits of the righteous made perfect.
That’s the mountain that I stand at the edge of this morning. The holy hill I see today by faith as in a mirror dimly, but then face to face; the place I know of now only in part, but one day soon to be fully known, even as I will be fully known (1Cor. 13:12).
And I hangout at the border of such a majestic kingdom, with absolute certainty of my place in it, not because of who I am or because of what I’ve done. Not because of my own worthiness or righteousness. Not because I’ve negotiated some deal which guarantees my entrance. But I know I can come to Mount Zion because I have also come . . .
. . . to Jesus, the Mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel.
(Hebrews 12:24 ESV)
I can camp out at the border of heaven because of a Mediator better than Moses, a promise better than the Law, and a sacrifice better than any offered ever by any man.
I stand at the edge of eternity because I sit at the feet of Jesus. Unafraid of interacting with holy ground because I have been robed with His righteousness. Not driven away by fear, nor complacently content to remain at a distance, but wanting to get as close to heaven, while on earth, as is possible. To peer through whatever knot-hole in the fence I can find and behold whatever I can glimpse of the kingdom.
Because I have come to Jesus, I can live life on the edge–at the foot of Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. I can live life on the edge of eternity.
Only because of God’s grace. Solely for God’s glory.
Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe.
(Hebrews 12:28 ESV)