Lesson 18: Endurance of Faith (1) (Heb 12:1-13)
Run the Race with Endurance
Endure God’s Discipline (12:5-11)
Strengthen and Straighten (-13)
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.
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.
need to lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us. We
also need to run with endurance (1).
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).
“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.
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 ).
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.