For the Joy Set Before Us

Hebrews 12:2-3 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. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted.”

Looking to Jesus

If we are true followers of Jesus Christ, our eyes are to be fixed on him, but this is not speaking of just our physical eyes but of our spiritual eyes (judgment, discernment, perceptiveness, and wisdom). We are to be looking to Jesus for our wisdom, understanding, guidance, direction, and decision making, and we should not be looking to our own flesh or to the thinking and counsel of the people of this sinful world.

For, Jesus is the founder and the perfecter of our faith. Our faith comes from God, it is founded in Jesus Christ, it is perfected in Jesus, and it is gifted to us by God, and it is not of ourselves lest we should boast. We cannot even come to faith in Jesus Christ unless God the Father draws us to him, unless he persuades us as to his holiness and righteousness, as to our own sinfulness, and as to our need to repent of sin and follow Jesus in obedience.

Therefore, if our faith is genuine, we have died with and are continuing to die with Christ daily to sin and to self (to deny self) and to follow our Lord Jesus in obedience to his commands, and in obedience to his leading in our lives and to his calling upon each one of our lives individually. Our lives are hidden in him and not in ourselves. Our desires are now for him and not for the lusts of our sinful flesh.

And we are not still following the course of this sinful world so that we obey the lusts of our sinful flesh as a matter of practice (of habit). We are no longer living in slavery to sin for Jesus Christ delivered us out of our bondage to sin so that we would now be slaves of God and of his righteousness. So, if we are still living in sinful addiction, then we are not genuine believers in Jesus Christ, and we don’t have eternal life with God.

[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-24; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10, 19-20; 2 Co 5:10, 15; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Gal 5:16-21; Eph 5:3-6; Gal 6:7-8; Rom 2:6-8; Matt 7:21-23; Heb 10:26-27; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10]

The Joy Set Before Him

Jesus Christ died on a cross one day in order to put our sin to death with him so that we might die with him to sin and live to him and to his righteousness. He died on that cross so that we would no longer live for ourselves but for him who gave his life up for us. He shed his blood for us on that cross to buy us back for God (to redeem us) so that we would now honor God with our bodies (1 Pet 2:24; 2 Co 5:15; 1 Co 6:19-20).

This is the joy that was set before Him, our deliverance from bondage to sin so that we could now live for him and for his righteousness in his power and strength. He endured all that he went through for you and for me, but not just so we could be forgiven of our sins and have heaven as our eternal destiny. He didn’t die just to save us from our sins, but he died to transform us and to make us into his likeness (Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17).

And Jesus didn’t do what he did for us just for us, but it was for his glory and praise and that we might also be for his glory and praise. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” He “gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works” (Eph 2:10; Tit 2:14).

So, a lot of people today are teaching this cheap grace gospel which teaches that Jesus does it all and that nothing is required of us at all and that “works” are to be avoided and discarded, and that we are not to obey Jesus or forsake our sins or submit to him as Lord, for they call that “works-based salvation.” They teach that our salvation is all for us and it is nothing for God, but that is not what the Scriptures teach.

We are His workmanship. We are His possession. We belong to Him. We are to be for His glory and praise. We were created in Him for good works, which are the works of God He prepared in advance that we should do. He is to be Lord (Owner-Master) of our lives. We are to serve Him with our lives and not ourselves. And we are to walk in obedience to His commands or we don’t know him, and we don’t have eternal life in Him (1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10).

Jesus, Our Example

Jesus Christ is our example for how we are to live our lives. And if we are following him with our lives, and if we are obeying his commands, as a matter of practice, we are also going to be hated and persecuted as he was by those who are enemies of the cross of Christ, by those who choose not to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ but who choose to continue living according to the ways of their sinful flesh, whether or not they profess him as Lord and Savior of their lives.

We are to resist the devil as he did, and we are to flee temptation to sin as he did, and we are to walk in holiness and righteousness, and in obedience to God the Father, as he did, in the power of God’s Spirit living within us. And when persecuted for righteousness’ sake, because we are following the Lord in obedience to His word, we are not to grow weary or fainthearted, but we are to put our lives in the hands of God and trust Him with the results.

And it is for the joy set before us that we are also to endure from sinners hostility against us, but hostility because we are actually following the Lord in obedience to his teachings, not because we are acting in our flesh in ways which are injuring other people. And that joy set before us is the same as it was for Jesus, and that is for the salvation of human lives from their bondage to sin so that they can now live to God and to his righteousness.

Lord, Move Me

An Original Work / October 16, 2011

Be my desire, my heart set on fire,
Lord, move me to worship You only, I pray.
Fill with Your Spirit, my heart overflow.
Lord, may I long for You; Your word to know.
Teach me to walk with You, Lord, in Your power,
And may I serve You, Lord, right now in this hour.

Lord, how I want to obey You forever.
Help me to hear You, Lord, so I will not stray.
Teach me to love You; adore You always.
Envelope me, Lord, with Your grace today.
Meet me in my need, and show me Your mercy.
Forgive me for all things, as I humbly pray.

Counsel me, lead me, direct me, and guide me,
So I follow You, Lord, where’er You lead now.
I love to hear You speak Your words to me.
I am so grateful that You set me free.
Wash me, and cleanse me, and make me like You, Lord,
And I will live with You for eternity.

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