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Bible Commentaries
Hebrews 12

Box's Commentaries on Selected Books of the BibleBox on Selected Books

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-- Heb_12:1-29 --

Heb_12:1-29 is the chapter that really begins to make application of what has been learned concerning the priesthood of Jesus. This chapter provides motivation to run with perseverance the Christian race. Now that we have learned what saving faith is all about, we must make application of those teachings to our life.

The Old Testament worthies of Heb_11:1-40 are listed as "witnesses" to encourage these brethren to faithful service to God. The Hebrew writer points these brethren to Jesus as the greatest example of one who was faithful to God. Christians can also look to Him for help to persevere in the Christian life. Christ bore all the trials and temptations which came His way. He remained faithful to God, faithful even to His death on the cross.

Jesus did what these Hebrew brethren had not done. He "resisted unto blood, striving against sin." ( Heb_12:4 ) He wanted them to understand that their trials and chastisement would work out for their own good. These sufferings should bring them closer to the Lord. These were God's sons and He was trying to help them reach their goal -- Heaven. Thus, they should bear their trials, with patience, as they wait for that heavenly reward.

Faithfulness should mark every Christian life. Those who fail are like Esau. When Esau had lost the blessing it was impossible to recover it, though he sought it earnestly with tears. We should persevere because of the nature of the dispensation that we live under. This new dispensation is designed to encourage and to win the heart of mankind for God. What a privilege we now enjoy! It would be a horrible thing to renounce Christ and His gospel and thus turn back. This is true because, our "God is a consuming fire." ( Heb_12:29 )

Verses 1-3

Run the Christian race -- Heb_12:1-3 : This great chapter begins, "wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us." ( Heb_12:1 ) These Old Testament heroes of faith ( Heb_11:1-40 ) provide encouragement for the Hebrew Christians, and for us to stand up and be men for God.

"Lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us" is one of the great Bible statements dealing with Christian living. As applied to Christians, it means that they should remove all that would obstruct their progress in the Christian race. Christianity is a race set before us by God. It is our duty to faithfully run this race.

"Every weight" refers to anything in the world that would hinder our faith, worship or service to God. These hindrances could be riches, honors or pleasures. We cannot allow the world to influence our mind in any way that would pull us away from our faithfulness to God.

"The sin that doth so easily beset us" likely refers to the sin that we have the greatest struggle with. We must avoid circumstances and conditions that would make that sin available. Therefore we must lay aside both external and internal hindrances. Get your heart right and stay away from anything that would hinder your Christian growth and service. Let us run the Christian race with endurance, looking unto Jesus.

Verses 4-17

Run with endurance -- Heb_12:4-17 : Christians must be faithful, even during the worst of suffering. Christ suffered, even unto death. His sufferings are contrasted with the sufferings of the Hebrew Christians. The statement that they had not "yet resisted unto blood" was a warning of more severe trials ahead.

The writer wanted these brethren to understand that their sufferings were grounded in the love and benevolent purpose of God. "For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth." ( Heb_12:6 ) He does not overlook any of His children in giving the chastisement that is needed.

Some who run get beaten down. The faithful must help them be able to run with endurance. "Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed." ( Heb_12:12-13 )

Those who fail to endure are like Esau. They are profane. A profane person is the opposite of one who endures in the Christian life. A Christian who turns back is giving up something even more valuable than Esau's birthright. The person who fails to run with endurance is giving up his eternal salvation.

Verses 18-22

Run to the heavenly Jerusalem -- Heb_12:18-22 : The goal of the Christian is not Mount Sinai. That mountain is not our goal, even though at that mountain there was an awesome demonstration of God's power. ( Exo_19:1-25 ; Exo_20:1-26 ) Even the sound of God's voice was so powerful that the people begged God to speak only to Moses, and not to them, directly.

In contrast with that old law, think of the wonderful blessings believers enjoy through Christ and His gospel. We are come to "Mount Zion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels." ( Heb_12:22 ) The church is "the city of the living God." The church is a place of safety, honor, peace and hope. Let us never stop running the Christian race. If we do turn back we become unfit for the heavenly reward.

Verses 23-29

Run till the race is over -- Heb_12:23-29 : The great motivation to run is that we are: (a) A part of the general assembly, (b) Members of the church of the firstborn, (c) Part of an immovable kingdom, and (d) Serving our God who is a consuming fire.

Why would anyone turn from Christianity back to Judaism? Christians are God's regenerated. They are the ones who have been born again. These are the ones who have their names registered in heaven. Just as the firstborn under the Law enjoyed special blessings, even more so, God's firstborn today have many glorious privileges.

The fact that Jesus is the Mediator of the new covenant is one of many encouragements to perseverance in the gospel. Christ is the Mediator. His work was and is to bring man back to God and to keep them together. The ultimate goal of our Mediator is to bring God and His people together in heaven. Christians are taught perseverance based on the heavenly nature of the gospel and the church produced by that message. The gospel has its power and the church has its meaning because of the precious blood of Jesus Christ.

Christians are blessed to be a part of this general assembly of the first-born. We belong! We assemble together. We run the Christian race till life is over. We never stop running because one day we will stand before God the Judge of all. God will judge both Jew and Gentile according to the law that they lived under. We must never turn back because, "our God is a consuming fire."

If you are not a Christian you should become a Christian today. ( Act_2:36-41 .) If you are a Christian be faithful to the Lord in daily Bible study, in your commitment and daily living.

Bibliographical Information
Box, Charles. "Commentary on Hebrews 12". "Box's Commentaries on Selected books of the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/box/hebrews-12.html. 2014.
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