A Closer Race with TheeMay 23, 2016 at 1:41 pm | Posted in Hebrews | 2 Comments
Tags: 2 Timothy 2, commentary on Hebrews, drawing close to God, drawing close to Jesus, endurance, Hebrews 12, Jesus Christ, Sunday School lessons on Hebrews
Hebrews Chapter 12 starts of with a “wherefore,” which – similar to a “therefore” – reminds us to take into consideration what we’ve just learned.
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
The witnesses are the heroes of the faith from Chapter 11, and they are not “witnesses” in the sense of being spectators. They are witnesses in the sense that their testimonies, and what we know about them from the Bible, witness to us. Their testimonies let us know that, if they did it, we can do it, too.
If the Christian life is a race, we need training for the race – and the training is ongoing as we run at different levels, drawing nearer and nearer to God:
One, we look at those who have finished the race – and won the race – before (the cloud of witnesses, patriarchs of the faith).
Two, we consider what kind of shape we’re in to start. Are we weighted down? Weights are useful for training, but no one would run the actual race with his weights. A batter in the on-deck circle does his practice swings with a weighted donut around the barrel of the bat, but he makes sure to take it off before stepping up to the plate. In the Christian race we lay aside “every weight” – even so-called “harmless” things. Remember, the question for the mature believer who is drawing closer and closer to God is not, “What’s wrong with that?” but “What’s right with that?”
No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
II Timothy 2:4
We lay aside every weight and “sins that easily beset us.” We know we can’t draw nigh while we’re all weighted down – especially with sin.
Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord:
We are not going to come into the presence of God – as confident believers who know better – without some degree of holiness. We cannot have total and complete holiness, for this is impossible for flesh and blood, but we must have some holiness. God said, “Be ye holy; for I am holy,” and He wouldn’t have told us to do it if it was impossible.
Three, we look at the One Who truly did it.
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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.
We have to draw close to “consider.” Christ is our best example for running the race. He didn’t use His powers to coast through His earthly life. Like Job, he was tempted, but to a far greater extent. He exercised faith – built up in prayer – used with the Word of God as a sharp weapon. Christ is not only our example, He is our enabler. He gives us the patience (really, endurance) and the strength to run the race.