Epistle to the Hebrews (12:1-2)   Leave a comment

Epistle to the Hebrews

Epistle to the Hebrews

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2

The author now concludes his exhortations about the necessity of faith and moves on to teachings regarding practical christian living. We had enough teachings regarding faith in Hebrews 11 and have no excuses to remain faithless and not trust God.

The author tells us that we are surrounded by a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith. We should not be taken by surprise if God is leading us on the path of faith. We are not alone, there’s like a stadium of veterans watching us. When there are great football teams opposing each other, the media rarely miss to show on tv the presence of previous stars of the teams.  These veterans are no longer on the pitch but are supporters. They understand what it means to play football under pressure and pain. When such people shout “Keep running, keep defending and keep attacking”, it really motivates the players. Many young players idolize former players like Maradona or Ronaldo.  These stars have inspired many young footballers. These footballers want to be disciplined like the stars, play like them and dress like them.  When these young footballers were watching the stars play, they were amazed and inspired by their skills. Now the role has changed,  it’s your turn to play and them to watch you. Soon you’ll be the one sitting and will the next generation recognize you as a Christian renown for his faith? Does your life inspire others to get closer to God? Paul said: “And you should imitate me, just as I imitate Christ.” 1 Cor 11:1

Do you get the picture?

There’re veterans like Abraham, Joshua, Moses, Job, Paul and Elijah watching us running by faith. Many of us applaud their faithfulness and spirituality but find it too elevated to experience God in this dimension. These people were ordinary men like us who wanted to go the extra mile on the road of faith.

Our author tells us to strip off everything that hinders us from progressing. Good athletes are disciplined in what they feed on, in their sexual life and trainings. Should not it be the same for us? Should not we keep ourselves in purity, feed our soul with God’s Word and serve Christ with the power of the Holy Spirit?

Paul said to Timothy:

Soldiers don’t get tied up in the affairs of civilian life, for then they cannot please the officer who enlisted them. And athletes cannot win the prize unless they follow the rules.” 2 Tim 2:4

Dear reader, sin is like an iron ball in your feet. With it attached to your feet you’ll not be able to run on the pitch and score a goal. You have to let God prune and mold you in order to serve Him freely. Put off the old self as Paul pictured it:

That, however, is not the way of life you learned when you heard about Christ and were taught in him in accordance with the truth that is in Jesus. You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires;to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.” Eph 4:20

The Spirit Himself teaches us how to put off our old self. We know what hinders us from becoming more zealous Christians.

The author does not tell us to walk with endurance but to run. If a football player wants to get a ball, he will not walk but run to get it. Running fast demonstrates how much we are willing to achieve a goal.

The Christian life is opposite to the philosophy of this corrupted world (Eph 2:2). Imagine it like you’re going in the opposite direction of an automatic stairs. If you do not walk faster you’ll be carried in it’s direction. The only solution is to run.

Our author also tells us that sin easily entangles us. When you run, no matter how careful you are, there will always be dust on your shoes. The world is tainted with sin and attacks our thoughts when we least expect. The race we are running is an individual race, there is no competition with another Christian. God has a plan for each of us. One servant got 2 talents and the other one got 5 talents accordingly to his capacity (Mat 25:14-30). Both of them doubled their talents and their productivity were mathematically equal.  Behaving like the one who got 1 talent is laziness. God has entrusted each Christian at least a task to do for His Kingdom. Those who did not obey will have to give an account of what was entrusted to them.

We are not expected to compare our works with others but just do what God called us to do in humility. Jesus said in the parable of the unworthy servants:

So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants;we have only done what was our duty.’” Luke 17:10

The hired workers who came late received the same reward as those who came early in the morning under the scorching sun.

These who were hired last worked only one hour,’ they said, ‘and you have made them equal to us who have borne the burden of the work and the heat of the day.’ Mat 20:12

How can you keep on running this race of faith with endurance in this sinful world? The author tells us: “We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus

Do you understand? You do not listen to the bad news or look at the calamities but you turn your eyes upon Jesus. Jesus is the one who instills faith in us. Jesus is described as the One who is “the champion who initiates and perfects our faith”.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2

We have seen in chapter 11 how faith brought endurance in Abraham and Moses so that they could each time attempt greater things for God. Many time we fail to differentiate our daily problems and godly trials. Godly trials make appeal to our faith while ordinary problems don’t. Faith produces patience in us and it’s tough. We do not like to wait when we are under pressure but want to fix it all. James tells us to be joyful when trial comes because it is an opportunity for growth. Many times we walk by faith and stop half way. James tells us to patiently wait that faith completes it’s work within us.

All you need to do is trust and obey Jesus. He will perfect our faith through trials. He will form our character. Keep on running with endurance the race God has set before you.

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