Pastor Randy’s Top 66 – Hebrews
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author finisher of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God…”. Hebrews 12:2
If I had more time and I didn’t feel the pressure to write and finish this before midnight I would say a whole lot more about the Book of Hebrews itself, but I really can’t – I’m tired. I will say this much, Wow, what an amazing Book! It’s hard to just read a ‘verse or two’ without reading an entire chapter, then another chapter, and then another chapter! It’s that rich! I’ll also say that most of the Book of Hebrews shows the Jew and/or the Jewish believer how Jesus Christ is the Perfect fulfillment of the Old Covenant laws regarding sacrifices, the duties of the High Priest, the purpose of the tabernacle/Temple, etc. Jesus is our High Priest; Jesus is our Perfect Sacrifice; Jesus is our Temple; Jesus just is….
So, let me get right into this wonderfully encouraging verse from the twelfth chapter. The unknown writer starts chapter twelve by summarizing the eleventh chapter – the Faith Chapter – which listed a vast army of faithful Old Testament saints who trusted/had faith in the Lord – by telling us that we are historically and spiritually ‘surrounded’ by this great cloud of faithful witnesses, and for that reason we throw off every weight of sin that would slow us down.
I like this athletic metaphor. The saints of Old are in the grandstands cheering us on, and because the faithful have already run their race, they are an example to all of us to continue in the race to glory that we have been chosen to run in. It helps a runner run faster if he is carrying the lightest load possible: super light shoes, flimsy shorts and a light running shirt – that is all the runner needs. If he’s carrying around the heavy burden of sin, godly sorrow, unforgiveness, bitterness, etc., it is going to slow them down. So, we are to cast those sins and the results of sin off and give them to Jesus.
Now we come to the race itself in verse two. We are told to fix our eyes on Jesus. He is at the finish line – He IS the finish line, but we do not have to run this race on our own. Remember, our life is Christ’s life (Galatians 2:20); and also remember that since we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, we can be encouraged because the Lord God has prepared them in advance for us to do. In other words, we have to step out of the boat in order to walk on the water, but the Lord is not only giving us the ability to walk on the water, but since He’s the One calling us out upon the water to be with Him, He will enable us to complete what He has called us to do. So yes, we are to run the race, but Christ has already run and won the race for us – that’s why He’s at the finish line – but in order for us to grow and become more Christlike – a better runner – we need to run the race that is marked out before us.
And here’s another beautiful aspect of this race that we are running with Jesus for Jesus: this second verse goes on to say that Jesus is the author and finisher (or perfecter) of our faith. Many think that faith – the ability to believe or trust in Christ – is something that we all have within us and God’s grace sparks it to life, but then we have to walk in that faith on our own in order to believe. Well, that’s just not the case at all. Ephesians 2:8-9 tells us that even our faith – even our ability to believe and trust Christ – is a gift given to us.
So that’s why this second verse and first say that Jesus Christ is the author of that faith. As I have pointed out in a number of my previous Top 66 verses, it is the Lord who initiates our salvation. He’s the One who speaks spiritual life – Christ’s life – into our dead bodies once He has crucified, buried, or taken out of us our spiritually dead spirit (Romans 6). I love what Philippians 1:6 begins to say (I’ll complete the verse when I get to the end of this insight) “….being confident of this, that He who began a good work in you…”.
What could that possibly mean other than the good work is our salvation, and it is the Lord who begins that good work of salvation within us. We didn’t, we couldn’t, we wouldn’t begin the good work of salvation within ourselves because we are spiritually dead; we are disobedient; we hate God; and we really don’t see any need for any ‘life to start within us’!
Back to Hebrews 12:2, Jesus is not only the author of our story – the author of our salvation – but He is the finisher or perfecter of our salvation. Again, this simply means that the Triune God started the work of salvation by speaking His resurrected life into us; and the Lord will finish the job. He doesn’t just make the watch, wind it up, and then let it go to survive on its own. Our Father, the Son Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit will stay with us through thick and thin to get us to the point at which time we are glorified in Christ. This takes us back to the last half of Philippians 1:6. Here’s the entire verse:
…being confident of this, that he who began a good work
in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.
This is just like what we are reading in Hebrews 12:2. The Lord begins the good work of salvation by saving us; and He is faithful to carry that work on to its completion. What the Lord starts He finishes. This reminds me of Romans 8:30,
And those He predestined, He also called; those He called,
He also justified; those He justified; He also glorified.
We are all familiar with this verse but have you really – I mean REALLY thought for a moment what it is saying? Forget the part (if that was possible!) about predestined and called for now – that’s another beautiful story – and just think about the next part. Those He called (to salvation – those in which Christ’s life has been spoken into) He also justified. Let’s stop there for a second. What Paul is saying is that if we are spiritually called by the Spirit to salvation, then we will absolutely be justified – saved – made right before the Lord – ‘just as if’ we’d never sinned. This person is a born again child of God.
But then it goes on to say, “those He justified (saved), He also glorified.” Now, did you catch it? If you are justified – if you are born again – then you WILL BE GLORIFIED – you WILL absolutely get to Heaven to be with Jesus. It doesn’t say “some who were justified will be glorified” although that’s what a lot of Christians think. They think that Christians are indeed justified when they come to faith, but since (these Christians think) a real Christian can sin and thus lose their salvation, then they won’t be glorified, and that’s why their version should read, ‘some who were justified will be glorified because some of the justified lost there salvation.” BUT THAT IS NOT WHAT IT SAYS! It tells us that those He justified He also glorified. This is why Jesus is the AUTHOR and the FINISHER of our faith, and that is very, very encouraging to me – and I hope it is to you as well.
And to just quickly finish off the verse, before I fall asleep at my keyboard, Jesus who authored and who will finish our faith looked to the cross with great joy, despite how horrific this experience upon the cross will be, because He knew what His sacrifice would pay for – our salvation! He endured the pain and it’s scorn – JUST SO WE COULD BE SAVED AND FOREVER SIT AT HIS TABLE AS ONE OF HIS CHILDREN!! And when His work was done on the cross and out of the tomb, He sat down at His rightful seat of authority – at the right hand of the Father – where He will forever rule and reign sovereignly over His creation. And I for one am so glad that my God is the Author and Finisher of my faith! How about you?