Lay Aside Every Weight
Hebrews 12:1 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.”
We have the examples of the prophets of the Old Testament, the Old Testament saints, the New Testament apostles, and the New Testament saints who have gone before us to teach us how to live for the Lord and to do his will. Not one of them was perfect, though, so we can also learn from their failures regarding what not to do.
What many of them taught us, both in the Old and in the New Testament, is that we are to forsake our sins to follow our Lord in obedience to his ways. That message has not changed. The message taught by the prophets of old is basically the same message taught by the apostles in the New Testament, that we must repent of our sins, obey our Lord, and submit to him as Lord.
Therefore, if we want to be the Lord’s disciples, and if we want to be saved from our sins and to have eternal life with God, we must forsake all sin (which clings so closely) so that we can run with endurance the path our Lord has laid out for us to take. And this includes getting rid of every hindrance to our walks of faith or anything that might be leading us into sin.
A weight can be anything which is weighing us down, which is preventing us from walking as we ought. Or it can be something which is leading us into sin and thus is a hindrance to our walks of faith. Many people professing faith in Jesus Christ who are still living in addiction to sin are still entrapped by sin because they will not remove what is leading them into sin.
So, they leave the door wide open to continue on the same path they had been on before, and then they act surprised when they keep falling into sin. And then they will make excuses for their sin by stating that a “back door” got them or that something came at them “from the side” they weren’t expecting. But they know better. They just won’t do what they need to do.
Therefore, we can’t ignore those back doors and side doors into sin and think we won’t fall for them again. We must get rid of them! We must be proactive in our fight against sin by removing all obstacles to our walks of faith. Or we are tempting fate, and we are making ourselves vulnerable to going right back to what we have done before with the same results.
Looking to Jesus
Hebrews 12:2 ESV
“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.”
Jesus Christ, when he walked this earth, was both fully God and fully man (human). He was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. And he suffered like we suffer, for he was despised and rejected of men, a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief.
Jesus lived a pure and holy life, fully righteous, in full surrender and obedience to God the Father. He is our example to follow for how we are to live our lives. And through his death on that cross, he made the way for us to be delivered from our slavery to sin so that we could be slaves of his righteousness. We just have to take the way he provided for us.
His grace, which brings us salvation, trains (instructs) us to say “No!” to ungodliness and fleshly lusts and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives while we wait for his soon return. His grace is not free license to continue living in sin only now without guilt, punishment, or remorse.
For, Jesus died on that cross that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died that we might no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. And he shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now be God’s possession and so we would now honor God with our lives (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20; Tit 2:11-14; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).
So, the joy that was set before Jesus was our deliverance from slavery to sin so that we would become slaves to God and to his righteousness. It was that we would no longer live to sin but to righteousness. And it was that we would revere, respect, honor and obey him as our Lord (owner-master).
Therefore, since Jesus Christ is the founder and the perfecter of our faith, our faith will align itself with his will and purpose for our lives. If our faith is from God, founded in Jesus Christ, and perfected by him, we will submit to Christ as Lord, forsake our lives of sin, and we will follow Jesus in obedience to his ways, with our lives surrendered to him to do his will.
If we don’t, then we don’t have saving faith, and we will die in our sins.
Hebrews 12:3 ESV
“Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”
If you have forsaken your sins to follow Jesus Christ in obedience to his ways, and you are walking not according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit, and you are sharing the truth of the gospel with others so that they can also believe on him and die with him to sin and live to his righteousness, you will face the same kind of hostility Jesus faced from sinful humans.
You will be hated. You will be falsely accused of what you did not do, or you did not say. Your words will be twisted. You will be mocked, ridiculed, made fun of, called names, attacked vehemently, and attempts will be made to try to trick you, to trap you, and to trip you up. And people will be angry with you for no reason other than their own bitterness of spirit, too.
So, don’t let them get to you. We need to remain strong in our faith and not give in to enemy attacks. We must not be frightened by those who oppose us or afraid of what they might do to us or say about us. But we must persevere in our walks of faith and in continuing to share the truth of God’s word with all who will listen, and let God be our strength and help.
Praise the Lord
Lyrics by John Kempthorne (1775-1838),
Music by Lowell Mason (1841)
Based on Psalm 148:1-2
Praise the Lord! ye heav’ns adore him;
Praise him angels, in the height;
Sun and moon, rejoice before him;
Praise him, all ye stars of light.
Praise the Lord! for he has spoken;
Worlds his mighty voice obeyed;
Laws which never shall be broken
For their guidance he has made.
Praise the Lord! for he is glorious;
Never shall his promise fail;
God has made his saints victorious;
Sin and death shall not prevail.
Praise the God of our salvation!
Hosts on high his pow’r proclaim;
Heav’n, and earth, and all creation,
Laud and magnify his name.
Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
Lord, we offer unto thee;
Young and old, thy praise expressing,
In glad homage bend the knee.
All the saints in heav’n adore thee,
We would bow before thy throne;
As thine angels serve before thee,
So on earth thy will be done.
Hallelujah! Amen. Hallelujah!
Amen, Amen, Amen.
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