Hebrews 12 speaks about discipline and sin. The writer is clear – we need to put off sin. “Lay aside every weight and sin which clings so closely and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”. We see the pattern here to deal with sin. We need to put off sin – to put it aside and replace it with something good. In this case it is to focus on the race of achieving God’s will for our life. We also learn here that our sights need to be focused forward: “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”. We need to keep your eyes on Jesus. As we put aside sin – we need to change our focus to be on Jesus. We need to lock onto Him – to realize that He has been there and dealt with sin – and He has not only won the victory over sin by refusing its temptation – He also has died on the cross and despised the ridicule and shame and has been elevated to His place in eternity next to God. He won the war and paid the price – now it is up to us to resist and put our energy in following Him.
We are challenged to “not grow weary or fainthearted”. Sometimes we give up – it is too hard to resist sin. But the writer reminds us that “you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood”. We often think life is not fair and too tough. Remember what Jesus went through for us. We haven’t even come close to paying that price. We are also reminded that “the the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives”. If you think your walk as a Christ Follower will be without some discipline to clean up things – you are wrong. God “disciplines us for our good, that we may share His holiness”. Discipline has a purpose – whether we like it or not – and that is to make us holy. We are going to have to endure some pain so we become more like Jesus. God wants us to “yield the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it”. There is a purpose – God is focused on getting us on track.
So how should we respond? We are given a list of ways here:
– “lift your drooping hands
– strengthen your weak knees
– make straight paths for your feet
– Strive for peace with everyone
– See to it that no one fails to obtain the grace of God
– no “root of bitterness” springs up
– no one is sexually immoral
– See that you do not refuse him who is speaking
– let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe”
We have much to be thankful for. God loves us enough to discipline us and help us move toward the holiness He demands. He is in the business of helping us become like Jesus. His discipline is a blessing – although that is not how we often look at it. But without it we would wander aimlessly in sin and fail to become what He desires.
So what lies ahead for us in eternity? The writer here gives us a glimpse as he describes “Mount Zion and the city of the living God”:
– “heavenly Jerusalem
– innumerable angels in festal gathering
– assembly of the firstborn who are enrolled in heaven
– God the judge of all
– spirits of the righteous made perfect
– Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant
– sprinkled blood that speaks a better word”
Here is what we will find when we go to heaven. God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit – the Trinity – assembled with the angels and those who have made Jesus Savior and Lord. It will be a wonderful place. Are you sure you will be spending eternity there? Have you taken the step of faith in Jesus so your sin problem is overcome? There is no other way. Jesus is the way, the truth and the life – no one comes to the Father except through Him. Don’t miss your chance to clean up sin, respond correctly to God and His discipline, and look forward to eternal life with Jesus!