In this part of the book, Paul presses us to a constant exercise of FAITH and PATIENCE under trial, chastisement, affliction, or whatever God, in His purpose, calls upon us to endure.
(Vs. 1) This "great cloud of witnesses" are the men and women of faith who have borne witness or testimony to the truth. Let us lay aside everything that is a hindrance to running the Christian race worldly cares, riches, worldly companions, and involvements that take our interest and concern from Christ. When a runner is in a race, he does not wear heavy clothes and shoes which only serve to slow him down. Let us lay aside THE SIN which clings to us! This may be a particular sin that a person may be inclined to more than other sins, or it may be the sin of UNBELIEF. But if our goal is to win Christ and be found in Him, then let us pursue this goal with patient endurance and active persistence.
(Vs. 2) We must look AWAY from all that would distract us and look TO our Lord Jesus. We don't look to Him with the natural eye but with the eye of faith (John 6:40; Isa. 45:22).
1. He is JESUS, our Saviour, Who was appointed and sent by the Father to be our redeemer, our representative, our ransom, and our mediator (Matt. 1:21-23).
2. He is the AUTHOR of our faith. It is not in us to believe (Rom. 8:29-30). By His grace and Spirit, He led us to believe! We do believe Him (Eph. 2:8-9).
3. He is the OBJECT of our faith (II Tim. 1;8-12).
4. He is the FINISHER of our faith or the One Who brings it to maturity and gives us that which is the goal of faitheternal life and the salvation of our souls (Eph. 2:4-7).
Christ, for the joy of redeeming His people, endured the cruel death of the cross, treating the shame and humiliation of it with contempt. He ignored the shame and was victorious. The proof of His success is that He is ascended and is on the right hand of God. This is our example; for the joy that is set before us, throughout eternity, let us endure trial, ignore the mocking and humiliation, and continue in the faith of Christ! (I Peter 5:10-11.)
(Vs. 3) When you are discouraged and grow weary, just think of Christ and the grievous opposition and bitter hostility He endured and consider that in the light of your own trials and afflictions (Rom. 8:18).
(Vs. 4) Our conflicts against sin, the enemies of grace, and the trials of life have cost us very little. One thing we can say; we have not resisted to the shedding of our blood. Our Lord did, and so did many of these who have gone before.
(Vs. 5) I would remind you also, lest you forget, the Word of God in Prov. 3:11-12 which says, "My sons, despise not the chastening of the Lord; neither be weary of his correction: for whom the Lord loveth he correcteth; even as a father the son in whom he delighteth." Do not think lightly of or refuse to submit to the correction and discipline of the Lord. Don't lose your courage and give up when you are corrected or disciplined by Him (James 1:2-4).
(Vs. 6) The Lord corrects, disciplines, and teaches by trial, by affliction, and by tribulation everyone whom He loves. The Lord had only one Son WITHOUT SIN: He has none WITHOUT SUFFERING (I Peter 1:6-7; John 16:33; II Cor. 1:7; Rom. 8:17; Phil. 1:29).
(Vs. 7-8) All true believers must take part in and endure God's discipline, work of correction, and providential dealings; for God is dealing with us as sons. He is working in us the graces of humility, love, patience, and faith and is weaning us from the world. He is making us like Christ. If you be without this corrective discipline, you are not a child of God.
(Vs. 9-10) Our earthly parents corrected and disciplined us, and we respected them and yielded to their wisdom. Shall we not much more yield to our heavenly Father? Our earthly fathers disciplined us for a short period of time according to their limited wisdom; but the Lord, FOR OUR ETERNAL GOOD, disciplines and corrects us in His perfect wisdom, that we may be like Christ (Rom. 8:28).
(Vs. 11-13) No trial or suffering is pleasant, nor does it bring joy at the time. It is difficult and painful; nevertheless, after it is over, it yields the peaceable fruits of righteousness and godliness to those who have patiently endured it. Joseph is a good example of this (Gen. 50:20).
So then be courageous, be faithful, and be of good cheer under the providence of God (Psalm 27:13-14). Depart not from the path of faith. Love and help one another. Let the fallen be restored and the weak encouraged (Gal. 6:1-2).