Example of Christs’ Endurance
Verse 1 – Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witness, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us,
Verse 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.
The apostle is telling Christians to remove anything that would hinder or obstruct their focus on Christ. Too many compromises; too many get tangled in things of this world; and far too many allow people in their lives that pull them away from their faith.
Because Jesus is the source and perfecter of the Christian faith, we are to keep our eyes on Him. Just as Jesus endured the cross and despised the shame in order to attain the joy of rejoining the Father on His throne, so should we continue in our faith as if running a race.
Verse 3 – For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Him, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls.
No opposition of sinners ever turned Christ from the original plan; no argument or expression of scorn, ever caused Him for a moment to deviate from His course.
Then there’s the warning: There is a danger of being hardened and wearied by opposition which will come in trials. Trials are just what “trial” means – trials of our faith, but keep your focus on the Savior.
Verse 4 – You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.
These readers of Hebrews were facing difficult times of persecution, but none of them had died yet for their faith, but soon, many would.
Verse 5 – And you have forgotten the exhortation which speaks to you as to sons: “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor be discouraged when you are rebuked by Him:
Verse 6 – for whom the LORD loves He chastens, and scourges every son whom He receives.”
Trials are designed to get our attention, showing that they are necessary for training into a mature Christian. The same goes for chastening, it is proof of the Father’s love for us.
We are not to despise chastening as if it is a small matter or trivial. This verse pertains to “training up a child.” The idea here is that, God will and does correct bad behavior with calamities in order to bring us back to Him. He will not suffer them to wander away un-rebuked and unchecked.
We know when we are straying, so we also know if we don’t correct our behavior on our own, God will step in. Just as a parent will correct bad attitudes and behavior, God corrects us, but still loves us. Always keep in mind, “God is a good God,” and He doesn’t do things in our lives out of cruelness, God is love.
What kind of child would you rather be around, one who is disciplined, or one which is not? Which kind of Christian would you rather be around, one who is disciplined and in self-control or one who does as they please at other’s expense?
Verse 7 – If you endure chastening, God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom a father does not chasten?
God will deal with His own in a loving manner.
Verse 8 – But if you are without chastening, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate and not sons.
If you never meet with anything that is connected to correction like subduing your temper, straying off, or your attitude, then you are illegitimate – not His.
Verse 9 – Furthermore, we have had human fathers who corrected us, and we paid them respect. Shall we not much more readily be in subjection to the Father of spirits and live?
Verse 10 – For they indeed for a few days chastened us as seemed best to them, but He for our profit, that we may be partakers of His holiness.
There is a contrast in the dealings of earthly parents with those of God. One of the circumstances is that, the corrections of earthly parents had a much less important object than those of God. They related to “this life” – a life so brief that it may be said to continue but a “few days.” So, we should be much more willing to submit to our heavenly Father’s discipline which is designed to extend benefits throughout eternity.
Verse 11 – Now no chastening seems to be joyful for the present, but grievous; nevertheless, afterward it yields the peaceable fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.
There are several responses a Christian can have when chastened: (1) we can accept it but are in self-pity, thinking we don’t deserve it; (2) we can get angry and resentful toward God, or (3) we can accept it and change, knowing it came from a loving Father.
Verse 12 – Therefore strengthen the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees,
Verse 13 – and make straight paths for your feet, so that what is lame may not be dislocated, but rather be healed.
“Hands which hang down” – maybe from weariness and exhaustion. Make a new effort to bear trials that come by drawing on Christ’s strength.
“Make straight paths for your feet” – upright, removing obstacles out of your way, so that we don’t stumble or fall.
“But rather be healed” – whatever is defective in our lives, we should endeavor to restore, rather than keep doing harm which will increase the pain. Whatever is feeble in our faith and hope; whatever evil tendency there is in our lives and in our hearts, we should endeavor to strengthen and amend, lest it become worse, and we entirely fall!
Verse 14 – Pursue peace with all men, and holiness, without which no one will see the Lord:
Verse 15 – looking diligently lest anyone fall short of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up and cause trouble, and by this many become defiled;
Sin blocks our vision of God and His goodness, so if we want to see God in our lives, renounce sin and obey God.
Bitterness is a root that will sometimes be caused by a great disappointment or a hurt. If we continue to let it grow, it becomes resentment and a grudge. Bitterness brings with it jealousy, dissension, and immortality. I think bitterness is one of the hardest things for people to admit they have. However, others know they are bitter by what comes out of their mouth about the subject or the person.
Verse 16 – lest there be any fornicator or profane person like Esau, who for one morsel of food sold his birthright.
Verse 17 – For you know that afterward, when he wanted to inherit the blessing, he was rejected, for he found no place for repentance, though he sought it diligently with tears.
Even repentance and forgiveness do not always eliminate sin’s consequences. We have to consider and evaluate the long-range effects of our decisions and actions.
Verse 18 – For you have not come to the mountain that may be touched and that burned with fire, and to blackness and darkness and tempest,
Verse 19 – and the sound of a trumpet and the voice of words, and so that those who heard it begged that the word should not be spoken to them anymore.
Verse 20 – (For they could not endure what was commanded: “And if so much as a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned or thrust through with an arrow.”
Verse 21 – And so terrifying was the sight that Moses said,”I am exceedingly afraid and trembling.”)
The apostle is telling the contrast between them approaching Mount Sinai and Mount Zion. The people could not ever touch Mount Sinai. They waited for Moses to speak what God had spoken. Man nor beast could touch it without being put to death.
Verse 22 – But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels,
Verse 23 – to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect,
Verse 24 – to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.
The apostle addresses all who are Christians, under the new dispensation. We come to Mount Zion in the revelation through the gospel. The approach to God was opened through the blood of Jesus Christ.
“To the general assembly and church of the firstborn”: Those who were firstborn had special privileges. The writer is talking about the patriarchs, prophets, and martyrs, all are now united with the church.
The blood of Jesus speaks better things more than Abel did. Abel’s offering was a “type.” The object here is to compare the Redeemer with Able, not in the sense that the blood shed in either case calls for vengeance, but that salvation by blood is more clearly revealed in the Christian plan than in ancient history.
Verse 25 – See that you do not refuse Him who speaks. For if they did not escape who refused Him who spoke on earth, much more shall we not escape if we turn away from Him who speaks from heaven,
Verse 26 – whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised saying, “Yet once more I shake not only shake the earth, but also heaven.”
Do not turn away from Him who has addressed you in the new dispensation, and called you to obey and serve Him. God speaks by every message of mercy, by every invitation, by every tender appeal. He speaks by the Holy Spirit, and by all His calls and warnings in the gospel. If they who heard God under the old dispensation rejected Him, how greater the punishment under Christ?
Verse 27 – Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Verse 28 – Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Verse 29 – For our God is a consuming fire.
Eventually this world will crumble, and only God’s kingdom will last. Those who follow Christ are part of this unshakable kingdom and they will withstand the shaking. Our faith in Christ is a “for sure” solid foundation.
“God is a consuming fire,” means, only that which is connected to God through Jesus Christ will last!