“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect. Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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.” – Hebrews 11:39—12:2
Alright, tonight we wrap up Hall of Faith. Hebrews 12:1-2 is actually one of the more popular verses. Many of us probably remember memorizing it as a theme verse for a race-themed VBS or other church event. But did you ever take the time to understand what this closing chime is wrapping up? Notice the following as the author of Hebrews wraps up his non-exhaustive list of commendables from the Old Testament:
“And all these, though commended through their faith, did not receive what was promised, since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect.” (v. 39-40).
These people who did all these faithful things didn’t live to see their faithfulness come to full fruition. Abraham didn’t get to see his many nations. Moses didn’t get to enter the Promised Land. Joseph and Jacob didn’t see the results of their blessings.
- The faithful do not always benefit directly from their faithfulness!
So why do it then? Why go through the suffering and persecution that’s promised for the sake of “nada”?
“‘But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.’” – Matthew 6:33
Jesus says that the worldly things we value so much mean nothing in the long run and very little in this life. The temporary is not what we must seek. We must instead seek His Kingdom. So we throw away our affliction and our sin. We toss aside the things that hinder us, and we run with endurance, with a steadfastness and patience that surpasses all understanding (cf. Phil 4:4-8, Jas 1:2-4. We fight for faith, we strive for the Kingdom. And when we do this, we will surely please the Lord, and He says we store up treasures in Heaven.
So what’s keeping you from joining the Hall of Faith? Because that same power that rose Christ from the dead is inside you. Go and run that race, brothers and sisters!
“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing.” – 2 Timothy 4:7-8
“If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” – Romans 8:11