Putting it all together

Back to Hebrews.

I have looked at the book out of order and in a number of ways but from chapter 12 on the writer starts to bring the various threads together, and I will too.

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. Hebrews 12:1a-4

And we have gone full circle. The Son who created the world at the beginning of the book is the founder and perfecter of the faith. The greatness of Christ and his suffering is tied to the sufferings of the audience of the book, and here their suffering is explicitly mentioned.

The whole book has been about how we should hold on to the faith in the face of suffering, and here we see it, the answer is not just to look to Jesus, whose suffering was greater than ours, the task is to lay aside every weight and sin and to run the race whilst looking to Jesus.

Nor just lay aside every sin, but also every weight. There are somethings which are not in themselves sinful, but which wear us down like carrying a weigh. Things which stop us looking to God. The hymn ‘Lord for the years’ talks about our spirits being oppressed by pleasure wealth and care. Pleasure, wealth and care, are all good things, who wants to be sad, poor and without care, yet these things can wear us down. We lose our focus and look not to Jesus but to where the next wage is coming, or to the leaky roof, or where the children will be schooled. No matter how good something is, if it is coming between ourselves and God then it has to be laid aside and treated as sin.

God disciplines us not to punish us but to help us to grow up. We need to get strong, get right and get bold in our faith. which in a few words not only sums up the rest of Chapter 12, but the book of Hebrews as a whole.

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