Yesterday across the world believers celebrated an empty tomb because we serve a risen Savior. The writer of Hebrews listed dramatic examples of God’s use of faith. This included references to personal examples of faith, such as Abraham (Heb 11:17-19), as well as some of the amazing feats which Old Testament believers were able to achieve (Heb 11:30-35). And yet, this discussion also included mention of the hardships faced by these faithful ones (Heb 11:35-38). Amazingly, God’s love for us—those who are still able to hear and respond to the gospel today—is the reason He has waited to fully deliver His ultimate victory over sin and suffering (Heb 11:39-40).
So what shall we do with the awesome information and testimony of faith discussed in the previous chapter? The proper response of a Christian, given all of the “witnesses” to godly faith, and their success despite their hardships, and in light of God’s loving patience, is to purposefully shed our sins and selfishness and “hold fast” as we strive to fulfill the plans God has in store for us. All we know of God’s former work should inspire us to complete, dedicated devotion to His will.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, 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, 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.” (Heb 12:1-2)
As Heb 12:2 remind us, the ultimate example of this is Christ Himself. Not only did Jesus exemplify how we ought to live our lives (Heb 2:10-11), He did so by resisting all of the temptations we face (Heb 4:15), and with a firm understanding that His suffering was part of God’s plan to “work together for good” everything for His glory and our benefit (Rom 8:28; Phil 2:8-11).
The end goal of Jesus’ obedience was to establish the purpose we should be striving for: the “city with foundations” (Heb 11:10), our ultimate victory and reward in God (Heb 11:13-16; Rev 21:1-14).