January 7, 2007
THE AUTHOR AND FINISHER OF FAITH
"Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which does so easily beset us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the Author (Captain) and Finisher (Perfecter) of faith; Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider (well) him Who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be wearied and faint in your minds. You have not resisted unto blood, striving against sin" (Hebrews 12:1-4).
It is remarkable that nowhere in Hebrews is the Lord referred to as "Savior" or "Redeemer." They were admonished to "look unto Jesus," the name of His humiliation, for in that humiliation as the Captain (Author) of their salvation, He was perfected through sufferings (Heb. 2:10). Thus He was enabled to be the Perfecter (Finisher), not of our faith, but perfect in His own walk of faith! They were to "look unto Jesus" away from the cloud of witnesses of Hebrews 11 and to "consider well Him," not as one atoning for sins, but as the Sufferer "enduring the cross" and "the contradiction of sinners against Himself." They had not, but He did "resist...unto blood striving against sin." His race had lead to far greater suffering than they were called to face. He shrank not, but endured!
The only other time the cross is mentioned in Hebrews is where those who would not be renewed to repentance "crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh and put Him to an open shame" (6:6). These are carnal saints, "enemies of the cross of Christ...who mind earthly things" (Phil. 3:18-19). They reject not His atonement, but want no part in "the fellowship of His suffering." The issue at risk is not their being, but their well-being, of gaining the prize! Of being overcomers, of going on to perfection in running "the race set before us."
"Every weight and the sin which does so easily entangle us..." must be laid aside. Imagine a runner foolishly carrying useless weight while running a race. Such represent riches, family ties, and even responsibilities carried beyond the need. Besetting sins are not so much "external sins," but things of the old man, the old nature, the flesh, and the carnal mind.
"Yet a little while, He that shall come will come...and will not tarry."
Ivan L. Burgener