Disciples are assured because of the work of God in Christ. There is now no condemnation or separation from God’s love because of Jesus work on the cross and his resurrection. So when we struggle we look at Jesus and are assured. But that assurance leads us to persevere as we keep on looking at Jesus.
Chapter 11 of Hebrews gives us a gallery of faith. Men and women who’ve lived lives of faith, not perfectly but faithful to the end. Trusting God’s promise, believing in the coming Messiah and his kingdom and fighting sin and playing their part in the kingdom coming. (39)“All these were commended for their faith.” They were all saved by faith but their faith wasn’t passive it was active, fuelled by hope they lived lives of faith.
And now in 12v1-3 we see the application. It’s not let go and let God. It’s not tuck your ticket to glory in your back pocket or wallet and keep it safe while you wait. It’s not look back fondly to date you believed or were baptised. But “let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus.”
We are secure in Christ. God assures us that if we have faith in Jesus nothing will condemn us or separate us from God’s love. But from our perspective we’re called to persevere in running the race of faith, to pursue Jesus secure in his love. Jesus is the pioneer he’s trailblazed the way and we’re to follow him. Disciples pursue Jesus, that’s how we begin life as a disciple and it’s how we live everyday as a disciple. We know he loves us and we want to be with him because we love him so we pursue him.
How do we do that? Practically we throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. We persevere by fighting sin so it doesn’t trip us up and leave us sprawling not running. We throw off everything that hinders our following Jesus. It may be a good thing that slows us down, that chokes our joy, but we give it up because we want to pursue Jesus.
We also need to recognise the course we’re running. It’s life long. It’s a daily following Jesus, it’s marked out for us by those who have gone before, who’ve lived by faith.
Thirdly we fix our eyes on Jesus. We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. We follow where our eyes are looking. Have you ever tried teaching a child to ride a bike, you have to keep saying look up, look straight ahead, but they naturally look at you beside them and what happens they turn that way and wobble and fall off. We need to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, on what he has done for us at the cross, on his being at the Father’s side interceding for us, on his love for us. Longing for the joy that he longed for of being with his Father. Considering Jesus so that we don’t grow weary and lose heart and give up.
Disciples persevere, assured of God’s love and forgiveness again and again as we look to Jesus. Disciples follow Jesus daily. Discipleship is a long obedience together with the church following Jesus.