Keeping the Faith

The author of Hebrews encourages us, in light of the many testimonials to God’s faithfulness, to “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.” (Hebrews 12:1, 2a, ESV).

Rather than waiting for God to do something, it appears as if (to mix metaphors), the ball is squarely in our court. That’s part of what makes the spiritual life so challenging, and for many, so frightening.

They have been taught a “let go and let God” theology. They are constantly bombarded by a culture which undermines their will to choose righteousness.They are being reminded of the spirit of our age, which questions our ability to know anything for certain, and so they live in a sort of paralysis.

But Hebrews is a book not only of warning, but encouragement. God is reminding us that there are things we can do, not to earn salvation, of course, but to further our spiritual lives and move beyond merely coping with life. What are we to do? Just in these few words our author reminds us that. . .

1. The spiritual life is a discipline, a race that demands training and the will to win.
2. The spiritual life is a competition. We are running, not against others, but against ourselves, Satan, and the world, all of which would best us if they could.
3. The spiritual life is a choice. We do make choices which insure either our victory or defeat. Note the imperatives, which imply that we must decide.
4. The spiritual life is God’s will. The course is “set before us,” not one chosen by us.
5. The spiritual life is won by resources and resourcefulness, not our own, but those of Jesus.
6. The spiritual life requires setting aside distractions and our sins.
7. The spiritual life requires us to “stay at it.”

This is not works salvation, but it is a salvation which works. It is not bad news, as if it is some added burden, but good news, clarifying what it is to be a follower of Jesus. Are you stumbling, off track, or falling? Remember that Jesus has run before you in The Grace Race. Even now He runs beside you, and is the Resource for whatever you need to win.

“One thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize. . .”
Philippians 3:13, 14

Leave a Reply