Laying Aside Our Sin
Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who has endured such hostility by sinners against Himself, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart. (Hebrews 12:1–3 NASB)
As we were driving to Church on Sunday, Karie opened up her Bible and began to read from Hebrews chapter 12. As she read, I was struck by a few things, one of which I will share today. The Lord wants us to run the Christian faith with endurance. One of the things that is suppose to motivate us to run well is the faith of those who have ran before us. We might commonly call the folks mentioned in Hebrews 11 the hero’s of the faith. They are the hall of famers that have shown us what endurance looks like.
The striking thing to me was this theme of endurance that seems to be coming up in the midst of our current trial. Hebrews tells us that sin hinders, and entangles us from running the Christian race. It tells us to lay aside every encumbering sin that stunts our keeping on. James tells us to:
Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing. (James 1:2–4 NASB)
Hebrews 12 then goes on to say:
You have not yet resisted to the point of shedding blood in your striving against sin; and you have forgotten the exhortation which is addressed to you as sons, “MY SON, DO NOT REGARD LIGHTLY THE DISCIPLINE OF THE LORD, NOR FAINT WHEN YOU ARE REPROVED BY HIM; FOR THOSE WHOM THE LORD LOVES HE DISCIPLINES, AND HE SCOURGES EVERY SON WHOM HE RECEIVES.” It is for discipline that you endure; God deals with you as with sons; for what son is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Furthermore, we had earthly fathers to discipline us, and we respected them; shall we not much rather be subject to the Father of spirits, and live? For they disciplined us for a short time as seemed best to them, but He disciplines us for our good, so that we may share His holiness. All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have been trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness. (Hebrews 12:4–11 NASB)
After Karie finished reading, she said “discipline seems to be connected with sin doesn’t it?”
“Why yes it does,” I said. I then asked her if there was any particular sin she thought she was suppose to lay down. She slapped me strait upside the face and said “no,” as my glasses tumbled on to the floor.
I am kidding about that part, it just seemed funny to say.
She did indeed mention something she has been struggling with, and thought it may be the thing she was suppose to lay down. I asked her if she wanted me to make a tee shirt with the word LEGITIMATE written across it. She laughed.
In a previous post, I was wondering if this trial we are facing was a result of God punishing us. I don’t think that punishment is the right kind of word to use because Jesus has been punished in my place already. I do however know that God disciplines us through our trials. There is mystery here indeed. I do not think that there can always be a particular sin that connects to particular trials. I do not think that every trial is a direct result of my sin, yet I do know that I will never be free from sin this side of eternity. So in one sense, there will always be sin that needs to be removed by the scalpel of suffering.
Please don’t misunderstand me as thinking that our trial is a result of the sin that came to my wife’s mind when I asked her. I do not believe that to be true at all. What I do believe is that every son or daughter of God will be disciplined. The Hebrews text above makes it clear that if you are never disciplined, you are more then likely illegitimate. I think that every trial is an opportunity for personal reflection. There is personal sin that has come to my mind since the news of Mercy as well. Was there an interaction between God and the devil in heaven where the Lord said, “have you considered my servant Scott?” I have no idea. It is beyond my ability to know such things. It was even beyond Job’s ability to know that such a thing occurred.
Sin hinders me and you from running the Christian race with endurance. God disciplines us one way or another out of love so that we will drop the weight and run more swiftly. What might you need to lay down this day?
P.S. Ali passed her drivers test! Thanks to those of you who prayed for her. She did great! We even went out driving last night.