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 (Philemon & Hebrews)
Lesson 18: Endurance of Faith (1) (Heb 12:1-13)
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Lesson 18: Endurance of Faith (1) (Heb 12:1-13)



Run the Race with Endurance (12:1-4)

Endure God’s Discipline (12:5-11)

Strengthen and Straighten (-13)

Key Words/Phrases

So great a cloud of witnesses, lay aside every weight, sin, ensnares, run with endurance the race, looking unto Jesus, author and finisher of our faith, consider, weary and discouraged, chastening, son, Father, for our profit, partakers of His holiness, peaceable fruit of righteousness, strengthen, make straight, healed.

Segment Analysis

1.   These are the people of faith in the past, some of whom were cited in the previous chapter. Their lives have become a testimony of faith to us.

2.   We need to lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us. We also need to run with endurance (1).

3.   Sin can entangle us, make us stumble, and disqualify us from the race. Sin is deceitful (). People step into the trap of sin because it is attractive and seems harmless. Sin often starts small, but once we give sin an opportunity to work in us, it will grow and overpower us, resulting in spiritual death (Jas -15).

4.   The “weights” refer to anything that distracts us and slows us down in our journey of faith, including ambitions, anxieties, or pleasures (Lk ; ). These things may not necessarily be sinful in themselves, but we should still lay them aside because they can hinder us. Sometimes, we may be so preoccupied with our careers, education, relationships, leisure, etc. that we do not have the time nor the energy to think about the things of God and our faith. We must reset our priorities so that these would not make us lose sight of our Lord Jesus Christ in our lives.

5.   Jesus paved the way of faith for us. Today, we can come to God through faith because Christ began and completed the work of salvation. Also, it is through the help of our Lord Jesus that we can complete our journey of faith (cf. Jn ; 2Tim ).

6.   Our Lord Jesus is our predecessor. He endured the sufferings of the cross and has been exalted. Because He has been victorious, we who follow His steps can look to Him for strength and encouragement. When we consider Jesus, we are reminded that our sufferings are but light and momentary compared to the sufferings He went through. This thought encourages us to keep on enduring.

7a.  For the first readers of the epistle as well as most Christians today, we have not suffered to the point of being beaten or killed.

7b.  The word “bloodshed” implies that the sin here refers to oppositions of some sort. Thus, the words “strive with sin” can be understood as enduring persecutions. However, we do not need to exclude the idea of resisting temptation. While oppositions to our faith today may not involve imprisonment or sword, they can come in more subtle forms, such as peer pressure or prevailing social values. Yielding to these oppositions is yielding to sin. In this sense, resisting temptation can also be considered “striving with sin.”

8.   The author is pointing out that our sufferings are not without divine purpose. He reminds us to view our striving with sin as God’s chastening.

9.   From the context, we understand that divine chastening includes, but is not limited to, punishment for wrongdoing. Persecutions and trials of faith in general are also means of God’s discipline.

10.  When we do not see God’s loving purpose behind our sufferings, it is easy to become discouraged and even resentful. Instead of valuing our sufferings, we may complain about them and grumble against God.

11.  God chastens us so that we may live (9); we may be partakers of His holiness (10); we may be trained by the chastening and reap the peaceable fruit of righteousness (11)

12.  Our human fathers chastened us “for a few days” (during our childhood and while they are alive), but God’s chastening helps us throughout our lives. Our human fathers chastened us “as seemed best to them.” Sometimes, parents may make mistakes in their discipline and the result may not necessarily benefit the children. But God’s chastenings are always “for our profit,” for God knows what is best for us and He does not make mistakes.

13.  Trials in life help us develop God’s righteous character. This righteousness is peaceable because it gives us inner peace with God as well as peace with others. Once we have been trained by our chastening, we will take our sufferings with the right attitude, without grumblings against God or complaints against others.

15.  The words, “hands which hang down, and the feeble knees” is describing a condition in which the believer has become discouraged and weary. The author encourages us to become strong in the face of sufferings, for we have Jesus Christ as our example, and we know God’s good purpose behind the sufferings.

16.  We need to remove anything that cripples or entangle our feet on our heavenly journey (cf. 1). When we have become sluggish in our spiritual growth, we must take measures to find and remove the cause so that we may be healed of our spiritual ill. When we have become discouraged, we need to correct our attitude and see the divine purpose. This teaching can also apply to the community of believers. We ought to help each other remove obstacles of faith so that our weakness may become strength.


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