LOOKING TO PRAISE AND WORSHIP JESUS THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD. 18 No man has ever seen God at any time; the only unique Son, or the only begotten God, Who is in the bosom [in the intimate presence] of the Father, He has declared Him [He has revealed Him and brought Him out where He can be seen; He has interpreted Him and He has made Him known].

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Hebrews 12:1-2

Hebrews 12:1-2 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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.

Chapter 11 of Hebrews gives a thorough description of faith and many Biblical heroes who acted on their faith and did mighty works in service of the Kingdom of God. In verse one of Chapter 12, these heroes are referred to as a great cloud of witnesses, and believers are exhorted to get rid of sin and lay aside all worldly hindrances so they can run with endurance the race that is set before them. This is a call for believers to be active in their sanctification. Just as the geese in the photo above are active in their migration south, Christians are called to be active and run the race of Christian growth. Christians are enabled by the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit to pursue this growth and actively participate in service to the Kingdom of God. This verse infers urgency when it uses the word run rather than walk or stroll. It does not say, “If you feel led and have the time, then participate in kingdom work.”

Verse 2 of this passage tells us to look to Jesus and be encouraged by the example he set and the salvation he accomplished by enduring the cross on our behalf. As we meditate on the person and work of Jesus Christ, we are overwhelmed with gratitude for what he suffered in order that sinners may have eternal life. It is inconceivable that redeemed sinners would flatly refuse to follow the urging of the Holy Spirit and Scripture to run the race. Believers are still sinners and still wage war against sin, and they may walk instead of run and perhaps even pause and stop at times; however, they have been given a new heart and are indwelt by the Holy Spirit and this assures that they will respond to the new life they have been given. In contrast, Scripture tells us that those sinners that have not been redeemed do not have the indwelling Holy Spirit, do not run the race and, in fact, are hostile to God and cannot respond.

Praise God that his grace not only saves and justifies, but it also enables redeemed sinners to run the race of sanctification which believers are called to do in this passage.

6 Comments:

Blogger bluecollar said...

Wayne, what is interesting is that, while I read through Grudem's Systematic, and am passing through the major confessions of the past, they all hit on the truth that we are to play an active role in our sanctification. They also acknowledge that Christians do, shall we say, hit bumps in the road;but, will move on due to the indwelling Holy Spirit's work.

Another fine post, sir!

March 15, 2007 7:36 AM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Wayne,

One of the things that we are at risk of losing in the doctrine of sanctification is the responsibility we have of "working out our salvation with fear and trembling." I get the impression all the time from the megachurch guys that all you have to do is make a profession of faith and sanctification will "just happen" in time.

What have we lost? I'm reading the Puritans and I find it. They examine themselves very carefully. They look at their sin and not only confess it but prayerfully discover the specific cause of it and then prescribe a spiritual discipline to slay it. Their thinking is like precision surgery when it comes to temptation and sin. When they have continuing failure in a particular sin they grieve in the fear of the Lord while we tend to flippantly confess it again and go on.

"Hate sin in every shape. Christ condemns it, do not you approve it; Christ executes it, do not you harbour it; it slew the Saviour, slay it. Hate sin! Do not think that sin is mightier than thou art when Christ is with thee. Up at thy sins and slay them! Do not tamely yield to thy besetting sin. Let this resolution this day be strong, that the victory shall be thine in every part of the battle, and that no sin shall remain in dominion over thee."

C.H. Spurgeon, Sermon No. 699, Sin Condemned and Executed By Christ Jesus, 8 July 1866, Met Tab, London

March 15, 2007 12:41 PM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Wayne - I should like to speak with you on the phone some time. Please email me and we can set something up.

Dave, how would you like to be a contributor at bluecollar, joining great writers such as Gayla and Wayne; and, yes, Spurgeon writes here too???

March 15, 2007 1:15 PM

 
Blogger Shiloh Guy said...

Mark,

You honor me. It would be a privilege to work with you. Let me know what you would like from me and I'll do my best. Mind you, I would have to get good instructions on how to post onto someone else's site. I guess I'd just need to know the sign up and password or something like that. I wonder if my email address is on my profile at Shiloh Guy. I'll have to look.

March 16, 2007 10:47 AM

 
Blogger bluecollar said...

Dave, the necessary information is in your email now.

Welcome to the bluecollar team!!!!!

March 16, 2007 11:27 AM

 
Blogger jazzycat said...

Dave,
Welcome to the Bluecollar team. This is great news for Mark, Gayala, and me.
Wayne

March 16, 2007 3:51 PM

 

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