In Hebrews 12 we see that we are to follow Jesus as our example. The heroes of the Old or New Testament may look on, but we are not to follow them but follow after the example of Jesus who says that we will do His works and greater. If we are to do with works of Jesus, we must first receive the chastening of the Lord that aligns us with His heart and His mind? Do you believe this and is it thus evident in your life, your words and others testimony of your character in Christ?
[Heb 12:1-17 KJV] 1 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, 2 Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of [our] 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. 3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him: 6 For whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not? 8 But if ye be without chastisement, whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards, and not sons. 9 Furthermore we have had fathers of our flesh which corrected [us], and we gave [them] reverence: shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live? 10 For they verily for a few days chastened [us] after their own pleasure; but he for [our] profit, that [we] might be partakers of his holiness. 11 Now no chastening for the present seemeth to be joyous, but grievous: nevertheless afterward it yieldeth the peaceable fruit of righteousness unto them which are exercised thereby. 12 Wherefore lift up the hands which hang down, and the feeble knees; 13 And make straight paths for your feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way; but let it rather be healed.
14 Follow peace with all [men], and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord: 15 Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any root of bitterness springing up trouble [you], and thereby many be defiled; 16 Lest there [be] any fornicator, or profane person, as Esau, who for one morsel of meat sold his birthright. 17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.
After lauding the faith of the Old Testament saints in the previous chapter, they are described in v. 1 as a great cloud of witnesses cheering the New Testament believer on in the Christian race. Does this mean that our loved ones are watching over us from heaven? As Billy Graham once said God doesn’t answer all our questions about heaven, but this verse implies strongly that in fact, those that have gone on are aware of our lives here on earth. Not to base that thought on just one scripture we also reference Moses and Elijah who communicated with Jesus on the Mount of Ascension in Luke 9:30-31.
Also in Rev. 6:9-11 we see the souls of martyred saints crying out to God in behalf of the living who are suffering on the earth during the time frame we refer to as the tribulation period. The extreme form of this belief leads to the practice of praying to the saints which is not scriptural but suffice to say in this passage (v. 1) there is suggestion then that believers once departed remember their lives and associations on earth and have at least some knowledge of events taking place. The writer uses this as an encouragement to us as living believers to patiently endeavor in our walk with God so as not to shame ourselves before those who have finished their race.
In making the declaration that our departed loved ones are looking on v. 2 goes on to admonish us not to look to the saints but looking to Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. If we are looking to a departed loved one’s example, we have set our sights too low. If we use Abraham or David as an example, we are not maintaining proper focus. Jesus is the only legitimate example for us in our Christian walk. Abraham did not die for us. David did not expiate our sins as Jesus did. Mary was not virgin born or sinless either. There is no record in early Christian doctrine that suggests otherwise. We are to look to Jesus not only as our Lord and Savior but as our guide for He said Himself that the works that He demonstrated we would likewise do. To believe otherwise is to embrace defective, insipid faith. Let us remember John 14:12:
[Jhn 14:12 KJV] 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater [works] than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father.
To Be Continued Next Week
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