Holding on to the Hope we Profess: Hebrews 10:23 and 12:1-2
Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. (Hebrews 10:23 NIV)
How do we “hold unswervingly to the hope we profess?” Thankfully the answer to that question can also be found in Hebrews just a few chapters later in Hebrews 12:1-2.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud 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, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. (NIV)
The race that the writer of Hebrews is speaking of is the lifelong test of faith that we experience during our time in this world. This race must be run with “perseverance,” which means with persistent patience and endurance. We must remember that the way of victory for us in this race is the same as that those fellow believers who came before us, some of whom are mentioned in Hebrews 11. And what did those who have come before us do? They pressed on to the finish, past difficult circumstances or even harsh opposition.
This race must also be run by throwing off “the sin that so easily tangles” us (literally meaning “our most troublesome, sidetracking sins”) and by “fixing our eyes on Jesus” and his example of perseverance and victory. And lastly this race must be run with an awareness that our greatest danger is the temptation to give up and given in to sin, to return to “the country [we] left” (Hebrews 11:15 and James 1:12) and to once again become citizens of the world who follow its corrupt, God-defying ways.
It is important to note that this race of faith takes discipline in two primary ways:
- We must once and for all put aside the sins that have repeatedly gotten the best of us and kept us from growing as we could in our relationship with God. This means that we must stop making the same foolish choices that have led to these failures. We must also determine to put aside things that are not necessarily sinful, but neither are they beneficial in helping us move ahead with Christ. These things are simply dead weight that keep us from devoting greater time and attention to time with God; they do not help us grow spiritually.
- We must focus on Jesus and the example he has set for us. Love for him must be our primary motivation. The desire to become more like him must be our purpose. And the finish line of eternity with him must be our ultimate goal.
Now that we know about the race and the fact that we have to have discipline to run this race, let’s look what is going to give us the ultimate strength to run this race on a daily basis. That strength comes from “fixing our eyes Jesus.” In other words, just as a runner most focus on the finish line, we must focus on Jesus as the goal and the object of our faith. The fact that he is the “pioneer and perfecter of our faith” means that our faith has its beginning in him and is completed in him. He is both the start and the finish of our race of faith. In our race of faith, we look to Jesus as our example of trust in and reliance on God, of commitment to his will, of prayer, of overcoming temptation and suffering, of enduring loyalty to the Father and of receiving joy in completing the work which God has given us. Jesus is also our ultimate example of one who has already run the race and won the victory; and who can, therefore, be our source of strength, love, grace, mercy, and help. All of which helps us “hold firmly to the confession or our hope without wavering” (Hebrews 10:23 NASB).
Today’s Bible Readings:
Zechariah 12-13, Revelation 19, Psalm 147:1-20 and Proverbs 31:1-7
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