Hebrews 12 | Part 1 | Hana Mower
Hebrews 12 – Part 1
“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
The word ‘Therefore’ focuses our attention on verses preceding chapter 12, to understand what 12:1 means we must first understand chapter 11. *Read ch. 11*
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses”, these witnesses are all the people of faith mentioned in ch. 11, they are the children of God who “by faith conquered kingdoms, enforced justice, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the power of fire…suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment”, just to name a few, in 11:38 is says the world was not worthy of them! And we are surrounded by the testimonies of these faithful brethren who witnessed God working faith through them. Let us be strengthened in our faith because of our faithful family, because they understood that “faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen” (11:1).
This cloud of witnesses should encourage us to “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”. “Let us also” signifying that because they endured life with great faith and were praised through it and still didn’t receive the promise, we should strive to have this great faith as well even in our waiting. Strive to “lay aside”, to put out of the way and cast off every weight; something that hinders you from running the race, Christ’s yoke is easy and His burden is light this should help in discernment for the ‘weights’ in our own life. “And the sin which clings so closely”, in Vincent’s Word Studies He explains this phrase as, “sin which readily or easily encircles and entangles the Christian runner”. And my mind refers over to James 4:17, “So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin.” The ‘weights’ may differ in each person’s life according to specific situations, but it doesn’t change the fact that disobedience is what weighs us down and clings so close.
“And let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”, the race is our life God has given us, our current time here on earth, and running deals with how we choose to live as we go through it. We don’t get to determine if we are to be born or not to be born, that’s why it is set before us, we participate through our choices, and we are to do so with endurance.
Endurance – the fact or power of enduring an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving way. Synonyms: forbearance, patience, acceptance
Romans 5:3-5,8 “Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us… but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
We rejoice in our sufferings because it leads to Christlikeness if we are trained by it (Heb. 12:11). We are to have endurance because Christ has endured the cross on our behalf, it’s not that our own strength produces this perseverance, for every good thing is from God. It’s that we have faith He will provide the will to go on and He does. Our endurance is given by the Spirit which lives in us, the same Spirit that strengthened Christ to endure being crucified on a cross and then rose Him from the dead. My question I leave you with, do we have faith in the power which lives in us?
“And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding, so as to walk in a manner worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing to him: bearing fruit in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; being strengthened with all power, according to his glorious might, for all endurance and patience with joy; giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in light. He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”