Pauls Footsteps #430

“Faith shows the reality of what we hope for; it is the evidence of things we cannot see. Through their faith, the people in days of old earned a good reputation. By faith we understand that the entire universe was formed at God’s command, that what we now see did not come from anything that can be seen.” Hebrews 11:1-3 NLT  

 Footsteps #430 Hebrews 12:1 talks about ‘a great cloud of witnesses.’ These are all the patriarchs and matriarchs of chapter 11. They are not passive witnesses as in spectators watching a game, they are actively witnessing that God is faithful, sustaining them in whatever struggles they faced. We are not alone in this great battle. Paul is reminding his hearers (as he concludes) that victory is possible and within reach. You and I have a life to live and a race to run which is beset with many difficulties, many temptations and many sorrows. We need to remember that life has been lived and the race run by countless others. This is Paul’s encouragement for us to press forward with fresh zeal and hope. By so doing we are God’s witnesses. Unfortunately, our lives are like the moon, always only a reflection of the Son; at its best still full of holes, always waxing and waning. But without the Son just a tiny speck of insignificant dust in a limitless universe.   

Hebrews does not relegate ‘faith’ to simply a single act of acceptance of God’s salvation. Nor is it a matter of mental assent to theological teachings. No, faith is practical, continuous and constant to the end. Faith in Hebrews keeps company with earnestness, assurance, hope and patience. The enemy of faith is sluggishness and slackness. The enduring quality of faith in Hebrews stands out boldly.  

But let us remind ourselves, faith is not something we try to work up. It is God’s creation in us as we hear the good news that Christ has taken our sin and guilt and made atonement for us and that God invites us to come to Him just as we are. Working up faith does not guarantee we shall behold our Lord, but beholding Him does work up faith. It is Calvary that creates confidence. When we clearly see that He loved us enough to die for us, then in us springs up that love which would die for Him.  

 Hebrews 12:1-3 reminds us of the danger of “sin that entangles us” NIV. It is the circumstances around us that would prevent us from gaining the victor’s crown of just finishing the race set before us. The buccaneer of the universe would like to board your vessel and steal your treasures (love, joy, peace, adoption into the family, eternal assurance etc.) He would like to drag you into a dark ally and mug your faith. That is why we must always be “looking unto Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith.” Read v2-4. No book in the Bible so starkly portrays the sufferings of Jesus as does Hebrews. This is the utter desolation of the cross where He tasted the bitterness and horror of death, and it was not for Himself, BUT FOR US! This is the horror that we will have to experience unless we are found in Him as the fire of God’s judgment eradicates sin from the universe. (read Heb.5:7-10) 506

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