Hebrews 12:1-5

Sunday, July 2nd, 2017

RUN WITH PATIENCE

THE RACE SET BEFORE YOU

INTRODUCTION:

 

In chapter 12 the fifth major section of Hebrews which began in 10:19 continues.

 

In this section it is seen that Christ has provided a better way of life, the life of faith.

 

In 10:19-25 believers were called upon to hold fast their confession; and in 10:26-39 an alternative was given for those who were wavering: it’s either Christ, or it’s judgment.

 

In 11:1-40 some Old Testament examples of faith were cited.

 

In Hebrews 12:1-17 believers are commanded that they should follow the example of these Old Testament saints and run with patience the race that is set before them; whereas, in 12:18-24 it is seen that God can be approached through Jesus.

 

Therefore, according to Hebrews 12:25-29 , these Hebrews professing faith in Christ but contemplating abandoning Christ and Christianity should not refuse God; or they will not escape.

 

In 13:1-21 some miscellaneous practical exhortations will be seen.

We see that you should –

    I.     KEEP YOUR EYES FIXED ON JESUS – 12:1-4

 

Hebrews 12:1 Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us.

 

Wherefore is understood in the sense of for that reason, then, or therefore.

 

Seeing we also are compassed about is understood in the sense of because (i.e. since or inasmuch as) we also are compassed about.

 

We also is understood with let us run with patience like the heroes of faith did who are mentioned in chapter 11. They ran with patience the race set before them, and we likewise need to run with patience the race set before us.

 

The term translated are compassed about literally means to put something on someone or to have something on. When used figuratively as it is in this verse, it means are clothed in or are surrounded by.

 

What the readers are clothed in or surrounded by is so great a cloud of witnesses.

 

So great is literally such as this.

 

Therefore, so great a cloud of witnesses is a cloud of witnesses such as this and refers to the saints mentioned in chapter 11. This cloud of witnesses is surrounding believers.

 

Based on the fact that the readers are surrounded by a great group of people who are testifying to them through their experiences in trusting the Lord, and regardless of the circumstances found in their lives, the readers of Hebrews are urged, Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.

 

Let us lay aside is understood in the sense of having rid ourselves of or in the sense of after we have rid ourselves of.

 

What the readers are urged or exhorted to lay aside or rid themselves of is every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.

 

Every means each.

 

Weight is used in the sense of burden or impediment. It is anything which would hold one back, slow him down, or hinder him in his living for the Lord.

 

Weight does not necessarily refer to something that is wrong in and of itself. It may refer to good things which are not the best things.

 

The sin that doth so easily beset us is the easily distracting sin.

 

Every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us is translated in a such a way that they may be understood as two different things.

 

However, and may instead be used in a slightly emphatic sense as even; or it may be used in a more emphatic sense as indeed, in fact, yea, verily, or certainly.

 

If and is understood in one of these ways, then the sin which doth so easily beset us is identical with the weight which hinders us. They would then be two ways of saying the same thing.

 

Although it is true that any sin would beset a believer, in this context the particular sin in view is the sin of unbelief in the promise of God.

 

In other words, the author is saying that believers need to take God at His word and keep going.

 

Some have stated that this sin which doth so easily beset us refers to any sin. This certainly preaches well; and as far as hindering one’s Christian life is concerned, any and all sin will do that.

 

However, the context demands that the particular sin to be judged here is the sin of unbelief.

 

The reader is here reminded of the particular sin referred to in Hebrews 3:11-12 as being an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.

 

Believers are not only to lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset us, they are also admonished or exhorted to run with patience the race that is set before us.

 

The race that is set before us is the course in life which God has mapped out for believers. It is pictured as a foot race. Each believer has had his own course in life mapped out for him by God. It represents God’s will for his life.

 

Patience is the word for endurance or steadfastness, and with patience suggests with (or by means of) endurance or steadfastness.

 

In other words, believers are to move on for God and remain true to Him by means of endurance, steadfastness, or perseverance. They are to stay the course God has mapped out for them by enduring, remaining steadfast in, or persevering in God’s plan for their lives.

 

That is set before us means that is lying before us and refers to the rest of his life as a Christian.

 

He is to believe what the Lord has said and to go on living for Him no matter what happens.

 

In Hebrews 10:36 the writer wrote the same truth in similar words,

 

Hebrews 10:36 For ye have need of patience, that, after ye have done the will of God, ye might receive the promise.

 

Hebrews 12:2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

 

Meanwhile believers are to be looking unto, i.e. fixing their eyes trustingly on in the sense of while looking.

 

The One unto Whom believers are to look is Jesus Who is described as the author and finisher of our faith.

 

Jesus endured much throughout the course God the Father mapped out for Him; and because of the joy that was set before Him, He is the believers’ supreme example.

 

Believers need to follow His example while keeping their eyes fixed on Him as they run the course in life God has mapped out for them.

 

Author is originator or founder and is used in the same sense as it is in Hebrews 2:10 where it is translated captain,

 

Hebrews 2:10 For it became him, for whom are all things, and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.

 

Finisher suggests perfecter or completer.

 

What Jesus is both author and finisher of is our faith. Our faith means Christianity as taught in the Bible.

 

Who refers to Jesus.

 

For the joy that was set before him refers to the result of His dying on the cross, by which many would be made righteous.

 

For is used in the sense of instead of, in place of, in exchange for, or because of, which implies that Jesus substituted the cross in exchange for (or because of) the joy which was set before Him.

 

The joy suggests the state of joyfulness (or of delight).

 

That was set before him is which was lying before Him.

 

Endured suggests submitted to or suffered. It indicates Jesus endured, submitted to, or suffered something rather than fleeing from it, and what He endured was the cross.

 

Despising means looking down upon, scorning, or treating with contempt. It is understood in the sense of because (i.e. since or inasmuch as) He despised, looked down upon, scorned, or treated with contempt. In this context it is understood as cared nothing for, disregarded, or was unafraid of.

 

Thus, Christ, after considering His options, treated the cross with total disregard.

 

He also treated the shame that would go with the crucifixion as being nothing.

 

What He despised was the shame, which refers to an experience, such as disgrace or ignominy, which comes to someone who is crucified.

 

He was to be crucified as a common criminal, and the very act of crucifixion in itself would bring all kinds of shame.

 

However, there was far greater shame in His becoming sin for believers.

 

As a result, He is set down at right hand of the throne of God.

 

And is set down is literally and sat down.

 

The same term is translated sat down in Hebrews 10:12 which says,

 

Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God.

 

The act of sitting down indicates that His work of providing an atonement for sin for all humanity was finished.

 

Where He sat is at the right hand of the throne of God, which implies that He is co-reigning with God the Father over the entire creation.

 

God is God the Father.

 

The throne of God implies the place where God the Father is seated and from which He is reigning.

 

To be seated at the right hand of a king means that the one who is seated there is ruling together with the king.

 

Hebrews 12:3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.

 

In verses 3 and following is seen an exhortation to use Jesus as an example of enduring to the very end.

 

For indicates a continuation of the thought in the sense of now.

 

Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself indicates that the believer is to take a long mental look at the Lord Jesus Christ and what He did for sinners on the cross as well as the events leading up to the cross.

 

Endured is the same word used in verse 2.

 

What He endured was such contradiction, i.e. contradiction of such a kind or contradiction such as this.

 

Contradiction means hostility or rebellion.

 

Of sinners means by sinners. Here, sinners are treated as a class or group of people. Thus, it was these sinners who caused Jesus to endure such hostility.

 

Against himself is unto Him or upon Him.

 

The hostility or rebellion of sinners was directed toward the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

Lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds is understood in the sense of in order that (or so that) you (readers of Hebrews) not become weary and faint in your minds.

 

Be wearied is become weary or become fatigued.

 

And faint means and become weary, and give up, and lose heart, or and become discouraged.

 

In your minds is in your souls and indicates where they might become faint.

 

Hebrews 12:4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin.

 

Ye is you (plural) and considers the readers as a group.

 

Have not yet resisted unto blood conveys the truth that the readers of Hebrews have not gone as far as they can in their stand for the Lord.

 

They are enduring much, but they have not yet given their lives as the Lord Jesus Christ gave His.

 

Not yet speaks of the fact that no matter how much persecution they had endured (and they had endured a great deal), they still had farther to go.

 

They needed to remember that the Lord Jesus shed His blood for their sins, and they should be following His example.

 

Resisted means placed yourselves against or opposed.

 

Unto blood implies unto death by the shedding of blood.

 

Striving is struggling or while struggling.

 

Against sin indicates what they were struggling against.

 

The occurs before sin in the Greek text and indicates either that it is a generic use of it treating sin as a general class or that it is some particular sin, such as the sin of unbelief.

 

Inasmuch as the context of Hebrews is dealing with the particular sin of unbelief, this is the better choice.

Believers should –

  II.     EXPECT CHASTISEMENT – 12:5

 

Hebrews 12:5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him.

 

Verse 5 indicates that there is something else the readers of Hebrews have done.

 

Ye is you (plural).

 

The tense of have forgotten indicates that something has taken place in the past and that its result is continuing on. Have forgotten implies that they have forgotten altogether or that they have completely forgotten.

 

They completely forgot something in the past, and they still have not remembered it.

 

What they have forgotten is the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children.

 

This exhortation is My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him. For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.

 

This exhortation, which incorporates the rest of verse 5 and all of verse 6, is a quotation from Proverbs 3:11-12 .

 

The point that the writer is making is that the readers are the Lord’s children and that the Lord is dealing with them as His children. It is not that they are lost people.

 

They are saved people; and as a normal matter in the course of life, they may expect to be chastised by their heavenly Father so that it might bring about a purity in their lives.

 

They are not being dealt with as if they were illegitimate children, but they are being dealt with as sons of God.

 

The exhortation is the encouragement.

 

Which refers to the exhortation and emphasizes a characteristic quality of the exhortation in the sense of which to be sure or which by its very nature.

 

Speaketh is speaks or preaches.

 

Its present tense denotes the idea that this exhortation always, continuously, or repeatedly speaks or preaches.

 

Unto you is simply to you and refers to the readers of Hebrews.

 

As unto children is simply as to children (or as to sons) and indicates a quality characteristic of them. It indicates that they really were God’s children or sons.

 

My son pictures the group of God’s children as a single individual, addressing him as my son.

 

Despise not is a commandment meaning to think lightly of or to make light of, and it is negated. They are not to despise the chastening of the Lord.

 

It implies that its action is already going on and must be stopped. They were already regarding the chastening of the Lord lightly, and they needed to stop doing it. They needed to start taking the chastening of the Lord seriously.

 

Chastening means upbringing, training, or instruction; and in Biblical literature it is usually used in the sense of upbringing, training, or instruction by discipline or by correction.

 

Of the Lord indicates that this chastening comes from the Lord.

 

Nor faint when thou art rebuked of Him indicates something else that the believer is not to do.

 

Nor faint means nor become weary, nor give up, nor lose heart, or nor become discouraged.

 

It likewise forbids continuing an activity already in progress. Thus, this representative believer was already fainting, giving up, losing heart, or becoming discouraged when rebuked by the Lord; and he needed to stop this.

 

When thou art rebuked of him indicates the circumstance under which he was losing heart.

 

When thou art rebuked suggests while you (singular) are rebuked, because you are rebuked, or if you are rebuked.

 

Rebuked may mean reproved or corrected, or it may be used in the sense of punished or disciplined.

 

Of Him is by Him and indicates direct agency. It is the Lord Himself Who is rebuking His child.

 

Inasmuch as the Lord always knows best, the believer should willingly submit to His correction.

CONCLUSION:

 

How are we handling whatever is going on in our lives, whether we refer to it as chastening, upbringing, training, or instruction, whether by discipline or by correction?

 

We should understand that God’s chastening, upbringing, training, or instruction is an indication that we belong to Him, that He loves us, and that He is trying to make us more and more Christlike; and we should be thanking Him for it rather than complaining about it.

 

Our attitude should be thank you, Lord. I needed this. Help me to learn from it and be more Christlike than ever before.