First Comes Death, then The Resurrection

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.”

Cast it Aside

Many saints of God have gone on before us who are now with God in heaven. They fought the good fight of faith, they finished their course, and they kept the faith right up to the very end. And their faith proved genuine by what they did in submission to God and in obedience to his commands.

They serve as witnesses to us and as examples to us as to what this faith in Jesus Christ should look like, and what all the Christian walk of faith should entail. For, many were those who lay their lives down on the line in order to be the Lord’s servants and witnesses and to do what he told them to do.

We who believe in Jesus Christ, thus, are to lay aside (discard, get rid of) every weight, i.e., every burden, barrier, and hindrance to our walks of faith in Jesus Christ. These can be doubts and fears, false beliefs, worldliness, fleshly appetites, gateways to sinful practices, and lies, etc.

They can also be wrong attitudes or unforgiveness, bitterness, resentment and hatred held in the heart against others. They can be bad associations, worldly churches, entertainment sources, selfishness, and/or wrong concepts about God/Jesus and salvation and eternal life, too.

We are also to discard (die to) sin with Christ that we might live with Christ to him and to his righteousness. So, all sinful practices have to go. They have to be cut out of our lives. They are to have no part in the life of a follower of Jesus Christ. For, if we died to sin, how can we live in it?

Also, the Scriptures teach us that if we walk (in conduct, in practice) according to the flesh, in sinful practices, that we will die in our sins. We will not inherit eternal life with God. But if by the Spirit we have died with Christ to sin and we are putting to death the deeds of the flesh, we will live.

For God will judge us all by what we do (Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; 2 Co 5:10).

Run with Endurance

Then, and only then can we run with endurance the race God marked out for us to run. For, just like in an actual physical race, if a runner is carrying any weights or burdens, these will slow him down, perhaps even to the point of him not being able to complete the race at all.

For, sinful practices or things that lead us into sin will hinder our walks of faith. And they may end up replacing God in people’s hearts and lives, for they will become their god, instead. And if true repentance does not occur, this course of life will end in death, not life.

The gospel of Jesus Christ does not begin with the resurrection. It begins with the death of Christ, and then comes the resurrection. The same applies to us. We first have to die with Christ to sin so that we can be resurrected with Christ to newness of life in him, to be lived for his righteousness.

And then we can run the race or walk the walk that God has for us. And that includes us submitting to Jesus as Lord (master) of our lives, turning away from our sinful lifestyles, and walking in obedience to his commands. If we don’t, and we continue going our own way, we don’t know Jesus.

[Lu 9:23-26; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; Tit 2:11-14; Eph 2:10; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; 1 Co 6:9-10]

Looking to Jesus

We do none of this in our own power and strength, or of our own accord. We can only forsake sin and walk in obedience to our Lord in the power of God’s Spirit now living within us who have trusted him to be our Lord and Savior. So, we keep our eyes on him and we follow him wherever He leads us.

[Jn 6:44; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2 – our faith comes from God]

Since our faith comes from God, for he is the founder and perfecter of our faith, and we can’t even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father first persuades us to believe in Jesus, and since our faith is not of ourselves, but is God’s gift to us, then our faith will submit to Christ as Lord.

Thus, genuine faith in Jesus Christ will die with Christ to sin and live to Christ and to his righteousness. There will be no such faith which saves the sinner, but which denies Jesus Christ as Lord, and which refuses to obey him, or which refuses to leave sin behind to follow him in his path.

For, the joy set before Jesus Christ was not that we might be forgiven our sins so that we could live on in sin guilt free. The joy set before him was our deliverance from our slavery (bondage, captivity) to sin so that we could now walk with him in victory over sin and in holiness and righteousness.

For, this is why he endured the cross for us, to set us free from slavery to sin so we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness, that we might walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh, and that we might live no longer for ourselves but for him who died for us.

The Lord’s Anointed

An Original Work / December 16, 2011
Based off Isaiah 61

The Spirit of the Sov’reign Lord on me;
Anointed to preach the Good News;
Sent me to bind up the brokenhearted;
Proclaim freedom for the captives.
He sent me to preach release for pris’ners
Who are walking in sin’s darkness;
Proclaim God’s grace to all men who’ll listen;
And tell them about God’s judgments;
Comfort all who mourn;
Give crowns of beauty;
Oil of gladness and thanksgiving.

They will be called oaks of God’s righteousness,
A planting of our Savior, God,
For the display of our Lord’s splendor, and
They will rebuild God’s holy church.
God will renew them, and will restore them,
And you’ll be called priests of the Lord.
You will be ministers of our God, and
You will rejoice in salvation.
The Lord loves justice;
He is faithful to
Reward those who are seeking Him.

I delight greatly in the Lord;
My soul rejoices in my Savior, God.
He has clothed me with His salvation,
And in a robe of His righteousness.
He has given me priestly garments to wear,
As the bride of Jesus Christ.
As the garden of our Lord and Savior,
He causes us to grow in Him.
He makes righteousness,
Praise, and thanksgiving
Spring up before all the nations.

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