This blog is one part an effort to relay my experiences here through updates and pictures and two parts an outpouring of the lessons God is teaching me in taking up my cross daily and following Him.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Some Thoughts on Hebrews 12:1-4 & 28-29

Hebrews 12:1-4, 28-29

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, 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. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe, for our God is a consuming fire.

Today in church, I got kind of bored with the half of the message that I understood, so I started reading the passage around the verse we were looking at. Chapter 11 consists of many examples of those who lived by faith and then Chapter 12 turns to us and our response. We are instructed to "Lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely". The author of Hebrews rightly realized that
1) our purpose in life is to bring glory to God
2) it is not just sin that slows us down, but other "weights" often hinder us as well. I believe the author is referring to mankind's idolatrous heart that turns many good things into a god. This is his encouragement to us to get rid of anything that inhibits God being glorified in our lives.
3) he recognizes how easily we are tempted by sin. We are never safe from temptation. It's always close at hand. No matter how mature we are in Christ, we will always deal with sin and temptation and it will always be pressing in on us.
because we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses we are instructed to have endurance in these three things. I have often heard that this "great cloud of witnesses refers to Christians, but I'm not sure it does. It seems to make more sense that it is simply referring to all of mankind. Because mankind is watching us, we need to lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily entangles us, and seek to glorify God with endurance looking to Jesus as our example. Especially as an example of resisting temptation.

The chapter closes with a challenge to us that we need to be properly grateful. That if we truly understand what's been given to us our lives will be an outpouring of acceptable worship with reverence and awe. We are reminded once again of the power of God over everything. He could exact this worship from us, and He certainly deserves it, but He wants it to be our natural expression of gratefulness for all that He has done for us.

These are just a few of my thoughts about Hebrews 12, I'd write more, but I really need to study for our tests tomorrow.

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