Summary: A study of the book of Hebrews chapter 12 verses 1 through 13
Hebrews 12: 1 – 13
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, 2 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. 4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin. 5 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.” 7 If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten? 8 But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons. 9 Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness. 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. 12 Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees, 13 and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
I like sports. As a street kid the Lord had used sports to keep me out of trouble. Since I went to a small high school I was able to sign up and participate in six sports. I would be involved in football and cross country in the fall; basketball and bowling in the winter, and baseball and track in the spring. Out of all these I enjoyed football the most. I was able to play both on offense and defense. There is nothing like the adrenaline rush of intercepting a pass or breaking through the line and rushing off sixty yards for a touchdown. As you are tearing down the sidelines you can see glancing at the coaches and fans cheering you on for the goal line.
We see in today’s study that the author has taken a similar exhortation in writing to the saints. Now, says the writer, we who are now alive have seen the coming of Jesus, the One in Whom comes the fulfillment of the promises of God. We have therefore entered on a great long-distance race with Jesus as our front-runner and sustainer, and these witnesses crowd the sidelines giving us their witness as to the necessity and value of faith, and yelling their encouragement.
If we then look back on these great men and women described in chapter 11 as witnesses, how much more should we look to Him in faith and press on faithfully, choosing not to be impeded by anything that would hinder us. And when we do suffer persecution and tribulation, we should recognize that that is not surprising. It is because God loves us and is treating us like a father does his son, by chastening us for our good so that we might produce the fruit of righteousness. Thus will we become, through faith, more and more God’s righteous ones in reality as well as by imputation. Let us therefore take note of this and consider our ways so that we may be sure to inherit God’s blessing.
For we do not face our Majestic and Holy God under the old way of fellowship (dispensation) as at Sinai, where all was awesome and remote, where men were kept far off, and were filled with fear, but we have come under the new way of fellowship where all is glorious and heavenly, and where we have the new covenant under the mediation of our Master and King The Lord Jesus Christ, with its better promises.
Let us then beware lest we refuse the One Who now speaks to us. He no longer speaks from a mountain on earth with a voice that shook the earth, but from Heaven itself, with glorious things that cannot be shaken. Let us therefore respond to His grace that we may be well-pleasing to God, serving Him in awe and reverence. For in it all and beyond it all we too must remember that our God is still a consuming fire.