Therefore since we are surrounded by such a great crowd of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinful men, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
When I set out to write on the motivating impact of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, from Hebrews 9, I had temporarily forgotten these further reasons for action recorded in chapter 12 and simply could not resist some further devotional thoughts.
This time it is not the Lord Jesus who is the reason for the first of these actions to which we are called but the great rollcall of men and women of faith recorded for us in Chapter 11.
It is indeed a great crowd and I guess that those to whom this letter was written were able to add further names to the list of people unknown to us but who had made their mark in the cause of God and the Gospel. Whether or not my guess is right for that generation, we in the 21st Century can add many names to this great roll call of the heroes of faith. I name just a few.
William Tyndale, who brought us our English Bibles; Martin Luther who played such a huge part in starting the reformation; Ridley and Latimer who died at the stake for their stand for gospel truth; John Wesley and George Whitefield whose ministry it is argued by some prevented England facing a French style revolution; Charles Spurgeon whose preaching ministry captivated thousands in London and further afield;l Corrie Ten Boom survivor of Nazi Concentration Camps; Billy Graham who preached to millions around the world and was the means, under God, of thousands coming to faith in Christ.
It is indeed a great crowd of witnesses and in the light of that crowd and their work, we can do one of two things.
We can shrug our shoulders and say ‘so what?’ or we can intentionally ‘throw off everything that hinders and sin which so easily entangles and run with patience the race marked out for us’ and thus have our names added to that great roll of witnesses. Not for our own aggrandisement, but for the Glory of God who has brought us from death to life and is not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. 2 Peter 3.9
That is a race worth running for the reward of hearing Jesus say ‘well done good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of your Lord’ Matthew 25.21 and for the joy of knowing you have been instrumental in saving a sinner from death.
The faithful witness of those who have gone before was instrumental in bringing us to who and where we are today, forgiven sinners, in Christ. That is surely sufficient reason to throw off what hinders and with God’s help the sin that so easily entangles, and grasp the opportunities he gives us to point others to the Saviour.
Let us run with perseverance today!
Tomorrow we will see the means we have at our disposal so doing.