A few days ago, when I was on Hebrews chapter 10, a friend of mine responded to an email and said, “a couple more days until the 'Faith Hall of Fame'”. After re-reading chapter 11 today before I started todays reading I see what he meant. If you have ever wondered what it means to have Faith, read and re-read Hebrews chapter 11! To read this chapter and pray as you go, “Lord, give me that kind of faith.” would be time well spent to say the least.
There are many who say that Paul wrote Hebrews. Although I have been using the term “the writer of Hebrews”; chapter 12 definitely sounds like Paul. (just a side thought)
In any case, chapter 12 starts out with that word again....”THEREFORE”. “Therefore” what? Chapter 11 hammers home what real men and women of faith look like; so, clearly, the “therefore” is “in light of this”, “do this”. What is the “do this”?
As you might have guessed, the “do this” is REPENT!
Hebrews 12:1 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,
Why should we “lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us”? Set aside from the fact that we are commanded to; we should desire to in light of what Jesus Christ did for us:
Hebrews 12:2-3 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 the throne of God. 3 For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
How much should you be willing to turn from your sin?
Hebrews 12:4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
Here's how the ESV translates:
Hebrews 12:4 In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.
Do you hate sin so much that you would be willing to shed your own blood to resist it?
If you truly belong to Christ and are struggling to let go of sin, expect The Lord to discipline you. If you are continuing in sin and are not being disciplined by The Lord, you might be confused about who you belong to:
Hebrews 12:5-6 And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: "MY SON, DO NOT DESPISE THE CHASTENING OF THE LORD, NOR BE DISCOURAGED WHEN YOU ARE REBUKED BY HIM; 6 FOR WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE CHASTENS, AND SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES."
Proverbs 3:11-12 My son, do not despise the chastening of the LORD, Nor detest His correction; 12 For whom the LORD loves He corrects, Just as a father the son in whom he delights.
Hebrews 12:8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
Why does God chasten those He loves?
Hebrews 12:10b but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
Hebrews 12:11 Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but painful; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
More instruction (yet consistently the same instruction):
Hebrews 12:14-17 Pursue peace with all people, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord: 15 looking carefully lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up cause trouble, and by this many become defiled; 16 lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright. 17 For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Do you prefer lust-fullness to holiness?:
Hebrews 12:24-25 to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel. 25 See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
Hebrews 12:28-29 Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear. 29 For our God is a consuming fire.
ESV translates this way:
Hebrews 12:28-29 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, 29 for our God is a consuming fire.