Disciplined Commitment

KEY VERSE: “Let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith.” —Hebrews 12:1,2


IN THE Greek text, the thought of the word looking is ‘to consider attentively’. Throughout Hebrews 11, Paul has given careful consideration to the manner in which faith brought victory in the lives of the Ancient Worthies, and now he reminds us of the crowning example of faithfulness, even Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith.

The word translated author in this instance is one which means ‘chief leader’. It is translated ‘captain’ in Hebrews 2:10. While we can and should follow the examples of faithfulness we see in the Ancient Worthies, we should ever keep in mind that Jesus is our chief leader, for it is in his footsteps that we are walking. (Ps. 89:51) He is the finisher or perfecter of our faith. Jesus’ faithfulness furnishes the assurance that despite our imperfections we can finish our course victoriously, and win a crown of life.—Acts 20:24

The Heavenly Father gave Jesus an incentive to faithfulness. The Apostle Peter informs us that the prophets testified not only concerning the sufferings of Christ but also of “the glory that should follow.” (I Pet. 1:11) It was these promises of the glory which would follow his suffering that enabled Jesus to endure the cross and despise the shame. (Heb. 12:2) This was not a selfish joy, for although he would delight in the prospect of again being personally present with his Father, he knew also that this position of glory would enable him, during the thousand years of his kingdom, to bestow blessings of life upon all the families of the earth.—Gen 12:3; Gal. 3:29

As Paul declares, because Jesus faithfully endured he is now at the right hand of the throne of God. (Heb. 12:2) The apostle admonishes us to consider Jesus, to consider him in the sense of making a comparison between what he suffered and the much less trying experiences through which we are passing. The “contradiction of sinners” (Heb. 12:3) led Jesus to his death. He was the Son of God, but his enemies contradicted this, charging him with blasphemy. He was a king, but this was also contradicted, so he was charged with treason, and crucified.

When we compare his sufferings with our own we will discover that there is no occasion for our becoming “weary of well doing.” (Gal. 6:9) The word wearied seems to be descriptive of a condition of mind in which one is about ready to give up the good fight of faith. But if we compare our lot with the sufferings of Jesus, we will realize that there is no occasion for an attitude of this kind.

Paul’s statement that we have not yet resisted unto blood (Heb. 12:4) can be understood properly only in the light of the divine plan, particularly as it relates to the church’s share in the “better sacrifices” of the Gospel Age. (Heb. 9:23) Paul is not here especially emphasizing a Christian’s struggle against his own personal sins, although such a struggle is most essential. However, such struggling does not lead to death—“unto blood.”

Jesus did not die as a result of striving against sin in his own body, for he was “holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners.” (Heb. 7:26) It was sin that caused his death, however—the sin of others—the sin of the whole world. His striving against sin was in the fact that he laid down his life as a sin-offering. It was his faithfulness unto death for the eradication of sin that is described by the expression unto blood. This observation by Paul is linked to his admonition to consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself. When we make this comparison, we realize that although we may have suffered a great deal, we have not yet fully been planted together in the likeness of Jesus’ death.—Rom. 6:5

Throughout the epistle, Paul endeavors to explain why the true followers of the Master should expect to suffer. The Captain of their salvation was perfected for his position in glory by suffering (Heb. 2:10), so the many sons who attain to glory with him must also expect to suffer before their faith is fully tested and finished “Be thou faithful unto death.”—Rev. 2:10

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