Who For the Joy

Hebrews 12:1 ESV

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…”

In Hebrews chapter 11 we read about many of the heroes of the faith of old who believed in God, in Jesus Christ, and whose faith was proved genuine by what they did in obedience to their Lord.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain. By faith Noah, in reverent fear constructed an ark for the saving of his household. By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go to a place that he was to receive as his inheritance.

By faith Moses, when he was grown up, refused to be called the son of Pharaoh’s daughter, choosing rather to be mistreated with the people of God than to enjoy the fleeting pleasures of sin. By faith, the people crossed the Red Sea as on dry land, and the walls of Jericho fell down, etc.

James (in the book of James) taught that faith apart from works is useless. He said that faith is active along with works, and that faith is completed by works. He said, “For as the body apart from the spirit is dead, so also faith apart from works is dead” (See: James 2).

What works was he speaking of? Not the works of the flesh. He spoke of the works of the Spirit which God commands us to do under the New Covenant. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2:10).

All throughout the New Testament we are warned against trying to earn our way to heaven via our own good works, of our own choosing – works that God never required or that he no longer required (Eph 2:8-9).

Nonetheless, our salvation is not absent of works, but they are the works of the Spirit. We must die with Christ to sin. We must walk in obedience to our Lord. We must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh. And we must do what pleases our Lord and not live to our flesh.

For, we are all going to be judged one day by our works (all of us). So, if we sow to please the flesh, from the flesh we will reap destruction (death). But if we sow to please the Spirit, from the Spirit we will reap eternal life.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10, 15]

Hebrews 12:1-2 ESV

“…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.”

Since we have such examples of what faith looks like from these saints of old, we are to also put our faith into practice, and we are to follow our Lord in obedience to his commands (New Covenant).

We are to lay aside (to forsake) everything that is weighing us down which is preventing us from following our Lord in obedience to his will for our lives. And that can be good stuff, too. For, if we are so busy doing what we want that we don’t have time for what God wants, then that must go.

Jesus Christ is to be our number one priority, and from him all else should flow. He is not satisfied with us reserving a few minutes a day to have devotions, or to listen to Christian music, or to hear sermons preached. He wants it all! He wants us fully surrendered, holding nothing back.

If what we are doing is preventing us from being fully surrendered to our Lord, ready and willing to be who he wants us to be, to do what he has called us to do, and to say what he commands us to say, then we need to throw it off. We need to let it go.

When we believe in Jesus with genuine God-persuaded faith, we die with Christ to sin, and we are resurrected with Christ to newness of life in Him, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness. But it doesn’t end there. We must daily die to sin and self and walk in obedience to our Lord.

If we don’t, we are not going to be able to run with endurance the race that God has set before us to run, for sin and the flesh and the self-life will drag us down and hold us back. They will prevent us from moving forward, and they will send us backwards.

So, instead of us having our focus on what we want out of life, or on our plans, or on entertaining ourselves and having fun, our focus needs to be on Jesus Christ and on what he has planned for our lives, which we can read all about in the New Testament.

And what was the joy Jesus had set before him? The salvation of our lives from slavery to sin so that we might now become slaves of God and of his righteousness, for this is why he died that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Rom 2:6-8; 1 Co 6:9-10; 2 Co 5:10, 15]

A Believer’s Prayer

An Original Work / July 31, 2012

With my whole heart, Lord, I pray
To be Yours, and Yours always.
Lead me in Your truth today.
May I love You, and obey.
Lead me in Your righteousness.
When I sin, may I confess;
Bow before You when I pray;
Live for You and You always.

Love You, Jesus, You’re my friend.
Life with You will never end.
You are with me through each day,
Giving love and peace always.
You will ne’er abandon me.
From my sin You set me free.
You died on that cruel tree,
So I’d live eternally.

Soon You’re coming back for me;
From this world to set me free;
Live with You eternally.
Oh, what joy that brings to me.
I will walk with You in white;
A pure bride, I’ve been made right
By the blood of Jesus Christ;
Pardoned by His sacrifice.

4 thoughts on “Who For the Joy

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