:1 “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.”
The great cloud of witnesses encompassing us is the list of faithful brethren and sisters presented to us in chapter 11. They are both examples and encouragement unto us to be faithful to the cause of Jesus Christ. With such a great cloud of witnesses, Paul encourages us to lay aside every weight. When a person is running he wants as little excess weight on him as he can
reasonably shed. A weight slows a person down when the person is running a race. We should lay aside anything that would hinder us in running the race of faith. Especially, we need to lay aside the sin which doth so easily beset us. That sin which so easily besets us is unbelief. Unbelief in the promises of God and in the power of God and in the wisdom of God derails us so often when we are attempting to
run the race of faith. It derailed the children of Israel who had come across the Red Sea and had sent the spies to spy out the land and when the report came back that there were giants in the land, they failed to believe that God would deliver those giants into their hands and turned back and ended up wandering in the desert for forty years. There are many more examples of unbelief in the Old Testament
that derailed the children of Israel and individuals from their walk of faith and in their seeing the Lord and his promised blessings.
The race in which we are to run is a long distance race and not a sprint. We are to run that race of faith the rest of our lives. Because it is a long distance race, we need to run with patience. Immediate results are not had in a long distance race as it is in a sprint. We don’t always immediately see the results of our faith, but sometimes the results are not had until
much later. Patiently waiting upon the Lord is an important ingredient in our race of faith.
Moreover, we are to be continually looking unto Jesus. Back when I was younger and working on a farm, there were times that I was plowing and I recall the importance of looking to find something at the end of the field to fix my eyes upon so that I would plow a straight row. If I took my eyes off the object at the end of the row, then I would not plow a straight row. This is
similar in our race of faith. We are to be continually feasting our eyes upon Jesus and his instructions unto us. Peter when he was walking on water to go to the Lord did not get in trouble until he looked at the boisterous wind and sea, then he began to sink.
We need to fully understand that the Lord is the author and finisher of our faith. The word, author, means initiator and the word, finisher, means completer. Jesus is both the initiator of our faith and he is the completer of our faith. Faith, being a fruit of the Spirit is given to us in the spiritual birth. What has been given to us is complete and needs nothing added to
it. We just need to use it.
“Who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” The Lord endured the agony and suffering of the cross and despised the shame of the cross, so then why did he do it? The answer is because of the joy that was set before him. The joy of the Lord set
before him was to see the completion of God’s covenant and to see all the elect family of God called, justified and glorified before God. Having fulfilled the work of justification, the Lord set down at the right hand of the throne of God. The Lord never sets down until the work is finished. The work of Justification is finished.
“For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.” Our motivation for both beginning and continuing in the race of faith is because of the sufferings and endurance of Christ on our behalf which was borne out of
His love for us. Paul tells us that we should strive to continue in this race of faith even unto death, resisting, if need be unto blood.