Hebrews 12:1-3

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.

Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.

Observation

  • We are surrounded by a cloud of witnesses.
  • We are to lay aside everything that clings to us.
  • We are to lay aside everything that impedes our running the race.
  • We are to run the race that is before us.
  • Jesus is the founder of our faith.
  • Jesus is the perfecter of our faith.
  • Jesus endured the cross for the joy that was in front of him.
  • Jesus ignored the shame.
  • Jesus is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.
  • We are to think about Jesus.
  • Jesus endured hostility from sinners
  • Thinking about Jesus will keep us from growing weary or fainthearted.

Interpretation

This passage is the conclusion to Chapters 10 and 11. The author says we have assurance of salvation by faith. No matter where we turn there are examples of faith from the saints of old. We are to lay aside every weight, every burden, and every sin that holds us back. The author uses the analogy of a race. No one running a race will run carrying extra weight, nor should we, as we run our race carry those things which burden us.

There are things that impede out spiritual journey, such as, love of this present life, worldly pleasures, lust of the flesh, riches and honors, anything that ties us the with the present age. These are examples of things that hold us from faith and running the race that is before us. Therefore we are to run the race Christ has assigned to us. In order to do so, we must first untangle ourselves from the things of this world. We are not however to throw off the blessings God has given us except in the manner that they may impede us from running our course.

The metaphor of a race is common in scripture. But the race is not a competitive race. The saints are witnesses not competitors. They are cheering us on and encouraging us. They too ran the race now it is our turn. The idea of the race not being a race where the prize can be taken from us is re-enforced by the phrase, “the race that is set before us.” My race is different than your race. And our race is different than Abraham’s race or Moses’ race.

Christ did not exempt himself from pain and suffering in order to lead a happy life. He surrounded himself with the sorrow of daily living, as we experience, yet he did not sin. Then he underwent a death that was bitter and shameful for our sakes.

Christ suffered a complete injustice. He took the suffering and punishment we deserve so that we may receive an inheritance we do not deserve. We are to ponder this thought so that we may stay encouraged when we suffer and do not fall away.

Application

Christ died for your sins. This is the good news. We do not earn our salvation. It is a gift.  Christ not only paid the price for our salvation, i.e. the founder of our faith. By His grace He keeps us. He is the perfecter of our faith. So be of good cheer.

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