The Race of Faith

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.  Hebrews 12:1-3

This is a very crucial transition word offering concluding the testimony of early Old Testament witnesses written for us in Chapter 11. The faith of these OT saints looked forward to the promised salvation, whereas the faith of those after Christ looks back to the fulfillment of that same promise. Let us have a closer look.  The deceased people mentioned in ch.11 give witness to the value and blessing of living by faith. Motivation for “running the race.” Now what this does not mean is that the Old Testament saints, which are spoken about in ch.11, are sitting there in heaven watching the activities going on here on earth. It doesn’t mean they are there just watching us, rooting us on to see how we are going to act or respond to life’s challenges demanding our faith. No, but it does mean that their life of faith and accomplishments were worth noting according to God, and they are given to us as a witness of what faith can do in the life of a believer. Their lives bear witness to us of the value of walking with God, which we can accomplish also, when we exercise our own faith in our walk with God. So we are being encouraged to use their example as our witness to keep running the race marked out for us by God, and moving forward, we are now being exhorted to look to the greatest example of all, Jesus Christ.

Let us—The reference is to those Hebrews who had made a profession of Christ, but had not gone all the way to a full faith commitment. The race starts at salvation, and their being exhorted by the writer of Hebrews to continue unto the finish. Life here in the Bible, is likened to a race. Paul said, at the end of his ministry and life, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing (2Timothy 4:7-8) The context here seems to be indicating the the crown represents eternal righteousness, which salvation brings, and also rewards. The believers receive the imputed righteousness of Christ (justification) at salvation (Romans 4:6,11), and the indwelling Holy Spirit works practical righteousness which is our sanctification through out the life of the believer. The process we know as Christians is the ongoing battle of flesh verses spirit. The work of the Holy Spirit is in part reminding the believer of his victory over sin (his flesh), through the cross of Christ. It is only when the struggle is complete, he has finished his race, will the Christian receive Christ’s righteousness perfected in him, also know as glorification when he enters heaven.

Every weight—Different from the “sin” mentioned right after, this refers to the main emcumberance weighing down the Hebrews which was the Levitical system of the law. Stifling legalism. The athlete of their day, would strip away every piece of clothing that was unnecessary for him before competing in a race. The outward things represent the Levitical law, that would ensnare them from following Christ.

Sin, endurance—Again here the context refers to the sin of unbelief. Refusing to turn away from the Levitical sacrifices, to the perfect scarifice, Jesus Christ (John 16:8-11). Endurance is the steady determination to keep going inspite of opposition. Regardless of the temptations to slow down and pull out of the race, and give up. The athletic metaphor is representing the faithful life of a determined athlete who has made sacrifices necessary to finish well,

Looking unto Jesus—They were to fix their eyes on Jesus as the object of their faith. The Author and finisher of our faith. He is the One who planted faith in our hearts. Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ (Phillipians 1:6), Here is one of my favorite promises of God, What You have started in me Lord, You won’t abandon me in the middle of it. You won’t throw in the towel in Your working in me, because of my own stubborness, and unfaithfulness. No, You have promised me, (anyone who places their faith in Him for their salvation) that You would see it to completion. Until my race is finished! Awesome, just simply amazed at how much God loves me. Anyone who comes to Him by faith, receives these promises from God. So you see, Jesus is our example as New Testament believers as we run the race. There are going to be hardships along the way, it is innevitable living in a sin-laden fallen world that trials and tribulations will come. God never said it would be easy, in fact, He warns us about them: “In this world,” Jesus said, “you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

Beloved friend, Life isn’t going to be easy for a Christian today, because you (me) are an alien in this world. When you walk with Jesus Christ you are out of step with the world. You are a threat to the world because the light and life of Christ in you, convicts them of their own sins. And they don’t like feeling guilty. It is only when there is light, that darkness cannot exist, All things were made through Him, and with out Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. (John 1:3-5) The better meaning of this term in context is “overcome.” Darkness is not able to overcome or conquer the light. Just as one candle can overcome a room filled with darkness, so also the powers of darkness are overcome by the Person and work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Stay encouraged, your doing well in your race in Christ, you don’t have to be afraid of what’s ahead, just keep your eyes on Christ. Remember, others are watching you, let us be like the OT believers in the beginning of our text, who God can use as examples so that others may benefit in their own walk, and race of endurance.

May the bless you this day!

Author: rontrujillo

Married 37 years We have six children. All of whom are adult. Three are married one of them blessed us with three beautiful grandchildren. Retired Firefighter @ Boeing Aircraft 37 years (Formally McDonnell Douglas) Born Again Summer of 1981

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