- Heb. 10:19-13:25
Having explained why Jesus is superior to the old covenant, the Hebrew writer reminds his fellow Christians how they need to live. We need to draw near to GOD, and think about one another, how we can encourage each other to love and good deeds. And GOD wants us to continue meeting together. (It's difficult to encourage people when you don't spend time together. And remember, there is more to spending time together than regular church meetings.)
Faith is the most critical, fundamental element of Christian life. Without faith we cannot please GOD. What is faith?
1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.
(Heb. 11:1 NIV)
The Holy Spirit explains through the Hebrew writer how great men and women of the past lived by faith. Faith is tested during trials, persecutions and difficult situations. This is because in these moments, we are tempted to give in and take the easy road, which is to betray that which we believe—that there is more than this life, that GOD exists and that He will reward those who put their trust in Him and obey what He says.
Everyone faces these tests from time to time. Some people seem to face more frequent or more severe tests of faith than other people. But GOD has assured us that all who live godly will face persecution. Given this, what is our calling? Here's what the scripture says:
1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
(Heb. 12:1-3 NIV)
We all have a race to run. The race is our course through life, that is, our days that make up our life on earth. While we run, we must throw down anything that slows us down or distracts us, looking ahead at Jesus all the way. If we keep our focus on Jesus, we won't stray from the course and we'll reach our destination, which is heaven. That is what determines if we win the race. It's a long race—a marathon—and not a quick sprint. The winners are the faithful.