We just completed Hebrews in our home church bible-reading plan. What a blessing this book has been to me, especially now that we are celebrating our Lord’s resurrection. Indeed, He is worthy of our praise! This book, as with any in the bible, serves to encourage us in what the writer calls, “the race that is set before us.”
What does that mean? It means a lot of things. Holiness. Making disciples. Looking forward to Jesus’ return. Praying so that God may bless us with abundant fruit. Those types of things.
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, Hebrews 12:1
Surely, the author is addressing the Hebrews who have been thoroughly exposed to the gospel but do not yet possess saving faith. They were still caught up in the Levitical works-based religion and have not yet believed based on faith. At the same time, what is said is applicable to those who have been genuinely saved because we are burdened with sin.
Dealing with Sin: By Faith or Works?
Speaking from experience, I can assure you that dealing with sin by works doesn’t work. I have tried for years to break my gluttony by my own effort with zero net positive results. Only now am I turning all this over to Jesus and having faith in him alone.
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. Hebrews 12:1
Jesus dealt with sin. He is the only one who can deal with it. It has taken me a long time to get this through my head with this particular sin. Am I there yet? Hardly, but it feels much better this time around. I am trusting Jesus to provide self-control through the Holy Spirit. I see that fruit.
Finding Strength to Endure
Even so, I am not there. I need to persevere. That, again, is where Jesus comes in.
Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. Hebrews 12:3
Indeed, I always became weary and fainthearted with diets. Everybody does! It’s a battle that cannot be won on our own (See Colossians 2:23). Jesus is the only strength to stay in the race that is set before us. That’s the bottom line.
Without the cross….
Jesus destroyed the works of the devil when he died on the cross and rose from the dead. I believe that. Do I understand it? No, but I believe it. Jesus is the only one who can deliver me from sin. End of story. Yes, I must abandon my sin. It’s a process to learn how to get out of the way so the Holy Spirit can do his job.
Now may the God of peace who brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, the great shepherd of the sheep, by the blood of the eternal covenant, equip you with everything good that you may do his will, working in us that which is pleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen. Hebrews 13:20-21
In case you have ever wondered about the number of days and nights between Good Friday and Easter morning, you may want to consider that we as a church have a tradition that probably is wrong. I’m convinced that Jesus was hung on the cross and died on Thursday, not Friday. Click on this link to learn more on that. Make sure to check out the chart that goes with it. Also, please sign up to receive these posts directly to your inbox. Find the link on my home page. If Hebrews 12:1-2 intrigues you, here’s a link to a previous post of mine. Enjoy!
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