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Some of the mystery and the wonder of the Christian life gets lost when we don’t revisit passages like yesterday’s reading in Hebrews 12:1-2.
For instance, does it ever cross your mind that Believers today are bound in a relationship with those who have already gone on before to the presence of God? The word “surrounded” in vs. 1 holds that inference. They aren’t just gone, their lives bear witness to how they wrestled with the complexities of serving Christ in their own generations and contexts. It’s good to remember how they came through. And how we’ll one day be joined to them face to face.
They are – as the text says – a great cloud of witnesses. Not just one or two have endured. There are countless saints who have faithfully endured to the end of their lives on earth. They stand as perpetual reminders of how God keeps His own. No mater what.
But there is one witness above all who we are to look to: Jesus Himself. And just how and why we’ll spend a few moments on today on Through the Word in 2020. I’m Reid Ferguson.
Because I was prevented from being with you yesterday – note where our reading has brought us to. All of Hebrews 12. Psalm 119:137–144; Luke 19:1–40; Isaiah 25–31 and Proverbs 25 & 26 fill our reading plate for both days. But it is those 2 spectacular opening verses in Hebrews 12 that won’t let me go.
Every Christian, if they truly are a Christian, knows the very real pain, frustration and agony of the ongoing battle with our indwelling sin. The more we grow in Christ, the more we come to hate sin. Even though in all honesty, we recognize that to our sorrow, we still love our sin in some way. The torment of that truth is howled out by Paul in Romans: “Wretched man that I am!” (not “was) “Who will deliver me from this body of death?” Praise God the next verse answers that question – Jesus!
But that doesn’t imply a passive approach to our sin. Indeed, that is the very point of Hebrews 12:1-2. Since our spiritual fore-bearers have fought this fight – like Paul, we do too. But how? The text says: “Looking to Jesus.” But in what way? There are two cited here.
First, since He is the founder and perfecter of our faith – we look to Him as the One who will complete the work He’s begun in us. We start by resting in the reliability of His promise to finish what He started. The genuine Believer CANNOT ultimately fail, because our success rests in Christ. This He does by giving us His promised Spirit, the counsel of His Word, access to the Throne of Grace in prayer, the testimony of those who have gone on before us, the prayers and encouragements of our brothers and sisters – and above all, His own continuing intercession on our behalf.
Weary Christian – you WILL persevere!
Second, we look to His example. He looked beyond the trials and tribulations He faced – even the Cross – to the joy that He was assured was on the other side. That when all was done in obedience to the Father, our salvation would be secured, and He would rise up to the right hand of the Father to rule and reign forever.
The language here is very descriptive. This looking forward to the joy He would have in resurrection enabled Him to endure the cross, and treat the shame involved in it as a very light thing.
So it is we are given this that we might do the very same with our own present trials.
Look to the joy that is set before you Christian. Fill your heart with the surety of His promises fulfilled in the resurrection. And It will enable you to endure no matter what.
God willing, we’ll be back tomorrow.