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.”
When you are reading the Scriptures, does the Lord Jesus ever put a visual in your mind of what the Scripture is talking about, like a picture illustration? Sometimes he does that with me, and he did just that this morning. In this visual I saw a woman riding piggyback on a man, and both the woman and the man were slender in stature. And the woman was clinging closely to the man, and a man is often a symbol of the flesh (Adam, our sinful nature).
Only for the visual to fit with this passage of Scripture, the woman, in this case, represents sin. I thought for a moment of the harlot riding the beast and she was full of adulteries. Since she was on the man, clinging closely to him, she was definitely an added weight on his back just like this passage talks about. So, I believe I am to see this sin which clings so closely as sexual sin (adultery, more specifically), which is rampant in America.
The idea of the woman riding piggyback on the man (mankind, the flesh) was that of someone (or something) that is closely attached to or linked to the one she is riding, as well as she could be harassing, badgering, or provoking, which is something that sin does. Well sin is closely attached and associated with the flesh of mankind for sure. So someone who is still walking in the flesh is going to have that weight of sin on him.
The woman was on the man, and the word “on” can mean “happening, scheduled, proceeding, arranged, continuously, and never-endingly.” And so what that brought to mind is the image of addictive sin which is still active in the life of a person, which has a hold on that person’s life, which is premeditated (prearranged) and which is continuous and never-ending. This is a picture of someone who is trapped in sin. Sin still has control over him.
And then if you look up the word “slender,” one of the meanings is “small” which can also mean “mean, nasty, unkind, cruel, callous, uncaring, malicious and despicable.” Both the woman (the harlot, the sin) and the man (the flesh of man) are cruel, callous, and uncaring. For when a person allows sin to cling to him, and he allows sin to ride him, and to influence him, and so he continues in habitual, deliberate, and premeditated sin, that is mean (cruel) to God who created him, and it is mean to those who he sins against.
And this is what they both are in stature, in standing, in status, i.e. it is the position both are holding on to, which obviously sin does that. This person (represented by the man, the flesh) is holding on to that position, he is established in it, is fixed in it, and he is immovable. So this is a picture of someone who does not want to forsake his sins, who does not want to throw off that weight, but who wants to remain in his sinful practices. So sad!
But what is even sadder is that so many people professing faith in Jesus Christ are right there with sin attached to them, in particular sexual sin (adultery), but they don’t want to let go, either. And so they believe a lie instead of the truth, for the lie allows them to keep that weight on their shoulders and to not throw it off while the lie promises them salvation, forgiveness of sins, and a guaranteed place in heaven when they die.
Looking to Jesus
Let’s talk about faith for a moment. So many people are “believing” in Jesus, or so they think, and they are being told that all their sins are now forgiven and that they can never be held against them (not even future sins), and that heaven is now guaranteed them when they die, so their sins no longer matter to God. So they are being given carte blanche to continue in deliberate and habitual sin with the promise of heaven when they die.
And this is what the majority of people, at least here in America, are believing is the gospel. Even if they do teach repentance and obedience, which few do anymore, they are not teaching them as necessary components of believing faith but more as add ons which are optional. So people feel they are “saved” and going to heaven, and so many of them are continuing in addictive and deliberate sin because they believe they can.
But the Scriptures do not teach that. The flesh of man teaches that. The Scriptures teach that we must throw off sin which clings so closely so that we can run with endurance the race God has marked out for us to run. And what is that race? It is life, but not just life in general, but life in the Spirit. And life in the Spirit is a life which has died with Christ to sin, is still daily putting sin to death, and which is walking in obedience to the Lord according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh (Rom 6&8; Eph 4:17-24).
Also, please notice with me what it says about Jesus here. He is the author and the perfecter of our faith, but not man-created faith which does not submit to Christ as Lord, which does not honor God, which does not turn away from (throw off) sin, and which does not obey the Lord. But it is God-given faith which honors Christ as Lord (Owner-Master), which submits to him and to his will, which obeys him in practice, and which does throw off that weight of sin in order to run the race God has for us to run.
[Lu 9:23-26; Jn 6:35-58; Jn 15:1-11; Rom 6:1-23; Rom 8:1-17; Eph 4:17-32; 1 Pet 2:24; 1 Co 6:9-10,19-20; 2 Co 5:10,15,21; Tit 2:11-14; Jas 1:22-25; Rom 12:1-2; Eph 2:8-10; Heb 12:1-2; Jn 6:44; 2 Pet 1:1; 1 Co 15:58; Php 2:12-13; Col 1:21-23; 1 Co 10:1-22; Heb 3:1-19; Heb 4:1-13; Heb 10:26-27; Rom 2:6-8; Gal 5:16-21; Gal 6:7-8; Eph 5:3-6; Col 3:5-17; 1 Jn 1:5-9; 1 Jn 2:3-6; 1 Jn 3:4-10; Matt 7:21-23; Rev 21:8,27; Rev 22:14-15]
If our focus is on Jesus and not on the flesh, and if we are walking by the Spirit and not according to the flesh, we can indeed throw off that weight of sin never to pick it up again, and we can walk in holiness and in righteousness in the power of God and in his strength, according to God’s will and purpose for our lives. For Jesus Christ died on that cross to put sin to death in our lives so that we will now be delivered from our slavery (addiction) to sin and so we can walk in obedience to his commands.
Now, one more thing. Jesus Christ (God the Son), 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. And what was the joy that was set before him? Our freedom from slavery to sin so that we can now walk in his holiness and righteousness in obedience to his commands and no longer under the control and weight of sin which so easily clings to the flesh.
When in The Stillness
An Original Work / September 26, 2011
When in the stillness of this moment,
Speak to me, Lord, I humbly pray.
Be my desire, set me on fire,
Teach me to love always.
Help me to walk in fellowship with You,
Listening to You; sit at Your feet.
Whisper Your words to me,
Oh, how gently, guiding me in Your truth.
While we are waiting for Your blessing,
Lord, in our hearts be King today.
Help us to live for you ev’ry moment,
List’ning to what You say.
May we not stray from your word within us,
Help us obey You, Lord, in all things,
Walking each moment, Lord, in Your presence,
Our offerings to You bring.
Help us to love You, Lord, our master;
Be an example of Your love,
Helping the hurting, lift up the fallen,
Showing them Your great love.
Teach them to love You, follow You always,
Bearing their cross and turning from sin;
Walking in daily fellowship with You,
Making You Lord and King.