Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV
“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.”
Lay it All Aside
When we believe in Jesus Christ to be our Lord and Savior, if our faith is genuine, we are crucified with Christ in death to sin so that we are no longer slaves of sin but we now become slaves of righteousness. Sin is no longer our master, for now we are under Holy Spirit control (see Rom 6:1-23).
Then, we begin our lives with Jesus Christ with him as our Lord (owner-master) and with us as his bondservants. And we now live our lives according to the Holy Spirit and no longer according to our flesh. For if we live according to the flesh we will die in our sins, but if by the Spirit we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, then we will live (see Rom 8:1-17).
“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Gal 2:20).
We are now saved from our bondage to sin (past), but we are also being saved (present), and we will yet be saved (future) when Jesus Christ returns. This is the process of our sanctification that lasts our lifetime (see Rom. 8:24; Rom. 13:11; 1 Co. 1:18; 15:1-2; Heb. 9:28; 1 Pet. 1:5).
So, we don’t just die to sin once. We die to sin daily and daily we put on righteousness and holiness and we walk in obedience to our Lord in pure fellowship with him. By God’s grace we say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and we live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives (see Tit 2:11-14).
Every Weight and Sin
Just in case we don’t recognize what is sin and what isn’t, the Scriptures give us many lists of sins that we are to put off. At the top of most of these lists is sexual immorality. That seems to be the one that the Scriptures talk about the most, for it has to do with idolatry and adultery.
We are told to put off sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, adultery, homosexuality, thievery, greed, reviling, swindling, covetousness, moral filthiness, foolish talk, crude joking, evil desire, wrath, malice, slander, lying, bitterness, murder, deceit, gossip, pride, disobedience, faithlessness, and things like these.
[Gal 5:16-21; 1 Co 6:9-10; Eph 4:17-32; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-11; Rom 1:18-32]
These sins and others like them are to have no part of our lives. They are not to be what we practice. We are not to deliberately, habitually and/or premeditatedly engage in these sinful practices. We are to put them out of our lives, by God’s Spirit, and we are to replace them with what is godly, holy, righteous, faithful, kind and loving (Eph 4:17-32; Gal 5:16-24).
This is not to say that we will be perfect and that we will never sin, but that sin should no longer be what we practice. We should no longer choose to willfully sin against God, especially habitually. Daily by the Spirit we should be putting sin to death, not repeating the same sins over and over.
We should also be diligent about cutting anything out of our lives which might be leading us to sin or which might be a hindrance to our walks of faith. And these don’t have to be all bad things, in and of themselves. Some of them could be good things but which are robbing us of our pure devotion to Christ.
Run with Endurance
If we are going to run the race (or walk the walk) that God has set before us to run/walk, we can’t be living in sin, habitually and deliberately repeating the same sins, in God’s face, and against those who we are to love with Christ’s love. The two are at war with each other.
For God, in his love and mercy, planned it that our salvation from sin should deliver us from our slavery (bondage, addiction) to sin so that we would now become slaves of his righteousness. He planned it that we would no longer walk (in practice) in sin but that righteousness would be what we practice.
So, the race/walk he has marked out for us is one of holiness and righteousness, forsaking our lifestyles of living for sin and self to now follow him in obedience to his commands (New Covenant). And our goal in life should now be to please our Lord in all that we do and say.
But this isn’t just about putting off sin and putting on righteousness (Eph 4:17-24), but it is about doing what God called us to do even before the creation of the world. He has a specific assignment for each of us and specific spiritual gifts he has given us to do those assignments, too.
But we don’t do any of this in our own flesh, nor do we do any of it to try to earn or to deserve our own salvation. We are only saved by God’s grace through God-persuaded faith in Jesus Christ. This is not our own doing. Yet, we are God’s workmanship created in Christ Jesus for good works which God prepared in advance that we should walk in them (Eph 2:8-10).
All of this is done in the power and strength of our Lord as we yield control of our lives over to him and as we cooperate with him in his work of grace in our lives. We fix our eyes on Jesus, not on ourselves, and we let him do what he does through us for his glory and praise.
For, we are mere jars of clay in the Potter’s hands and we are allowing him to mold us and to make us into his likeness. So, we yield to his working in our hearts and lives, and we keep our focus on him, and not on ourselves, and we follow him in obedience in doing whatever it is he asks us to do.
So, if he leads us to share a Scripture, or a song, or a poem, or a word of encouragement, or a devotion, or a testimony with whomever he leads us to share these, we do it, not worrying about what others are going to think about us or fearful that they might reject us, but trusting God to work in our hearts and in other people’s hearts for his glory and praise. Amen!
Songs in the Night
An Original Work / December 18, 2013
“About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them.” Acts 16:25 NIV ‘84
Lord, I praise You forevermore.
You, my Savior, I now adore.
Hope in heaven awaiting me,
Because You died at Calvary.
I have been forgiven,
And I’m bound for heaven.
Jesus set me free from
All my sin, I say.
I will praise Him always!
Lord, I love You for all You’ve done:
Overcame death, my vict’ry won!
Jesus saved me, and now I’m free!
I rejoice in His love for me.
I will walk in vict’ry!
My sin is but hist’ry!
I am free to please Him
With my life today.
I will love Him always!
Lord, I thank You for giving me
A new life bought at Calvary.
Loving Jesus, I meet with Him.
Tender mercies now flow within.
Lord, I am so thankful;
Through my Lord, I’m able
To sit at His table;
Fellowship with Him.
I will thank Him always!