“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, 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 has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. For consider Him who endured such hostility from sinners against Himself, lest you become weary and discouraged in your souls. You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” Hebrews 12:1-4.
“You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.” While this is true in America, it is not so today in Muslim countries where Christians have been all but eradicated.
Christians are persecuted or killed in countries like India, Pakistan, Southeast Asia, North Korea, all Muslim countries, and most of Africa. And they are often persecuted or silenced in many European countries as well as in South America.
It was this sort of persecution that caused the Pilgrims and the Puritans and many other Christian groups to leave Europe and establish colonies in what is now the United States.
There is no truth to myths spun out by revisionist historians that America was established by secular men, deists, and Unitarians. While these various philosophies existed in America at the time it was brought forth, none of their beliefs had any influence on those who established this as a Christian country, as many would have you believe.
While there were men like Ben Franklin, who was not a Christian, at the writing of the constitution, even he had a God honoring worldview. In fact, it was Franklin who suggested that they start each meeting with prayer after they found themselves arguing almost constantly over the contents of the Constitution.
As for Unitarianism, while it was in the country for a few years, it did not gain real traction until it was accepted as a doctrine by King’s Chapel in Boston, and preached on in 1784.
Hardly enough time to have any influence on the United States Constitution which was drafted in 1787, with the Bill of Rights being added in1791. Both documents were influenced heavily by Judeo-Christian ethics and other things like the Magna Charta. Not atheistic and unbiblical beliefs.
Historians are correct in saying that Unitarianism gained a lot of followers in New England, it is not correct to say that it rivaled Christianity in this country. This is due to the fact that it was soon proven to be heresy through the preaching of men like Lyman Beecher in Boston.
While there were a few thousand Jews in this country in those days, they became a tremendous help, not a hindrance during the American Revolution.
Muslim influence in this country was nonexistent and the abomination of Sharia law would not even occur to any sane American colonist, Christian or otherwise.
In fact there have been past leaders both here and in England who have warned against Islam.
“Qur’an… an accursed book… so long as there is this book there will be no peace in the world.” William Gladstone, British statesman 1809-1898.
Muhammad declared undistinguishing and exterminating war, as a part of his religion, against all the rest of mankind… the precept of the Koran is, perpetual war against all who deny, that Muhammad is the prophet of God.” John Quincy Adams, 1767-1848, sixth president of the United States.
Even Winston Churchill warned us of the dangers of Islam.
“[Islam] is as dangerous in a man as rabies in a dog… no stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund [not progressing; stagnant], Islam is a militant and proselytizing faith.” Winston Churchill, 1874-1965, British statesman.
Most people came to this country originally to escape religious persecution, with many Jews coming for the same reasons.
Americans have fought and died for over two hundred years to maintain our freedoms which are enjoyed by both Christians, Jews (though they have endured a great deal of prejudice here too) and moral men and women.
These folks love this country and believe that all men are created equal with the right to, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Today we have come full circle with a government filled with greedy traitors to the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution of the United States of America, none of whom keep their oath of office.
Lying and cheating, they rob Americans of their freedoms while enhancing their own power, seeking even to convene a new constitutional convention so they can tear the old one up.
And then the persecution will begin again, leaving Christians with nowhere to go this time.
Who is to blame for this? The stunning truth is that the current condition of our government is because Christians have failed to honor their heritage and do their part.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its flavor, how shall it be seasoned? It is then good for nothing but to be thrown out and trampled underfoot by men.” Matthew 5:13.
Christians seem to think that there is some sort of auto-correct in our government that puts everyone back on the right path.
Truthfully, it is the Constitution, but if enough men and women choose to ignore or misinterpret it there is little that can be done.
Do not expect sinful ungodly men to do what is right in our government, it is not in their nature.
This is where Christians have failed. God gave us a nation where we can choose those who represent us. That means that He expects us to wield the power He has given us responsibly.
Again, that is where we have failed, most voter turnouts in this nation are miserable, meaning that Christians do not vote much or at all.
If every Christian carried out his duty to be salt of the earth they would, among other things, turn out in overwhelming numbers, and vote responsibly for conservative candidates (or at least the most conservative). It is not too late in 2020, but it will be four years after that.
We have a duty to God and to our fellow men as salt of the earth, but are we alone in our struggles?
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses…” Hebrews 12:1a.
This great cloud of witnesses is composed of those who have gone on before us, many of whom are described in Hebrews 11, often called the faith chapter.
These witnesses from the Old Testament followed the God of all creation to victory or death, even death by torture.
“Women received their dead raised to life again. Others were tortured, not accepting deliverance, that they might obtain a better resurrection. Still others had trial of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented – of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth. And all these, having obtained a good testimony through faith, did not receive the promise, God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.” Hebrews 11:35-40.
Consider these verses carefully, and then notice the last sentence, even though they gave their all, they did not receive the promise because, “…God having provided something better for us, that they should not be made perfect apart from us.”
What an amazing heritage the Christian has, and all who accept Christ as their Savior will have.
Thousands of years of struggle by believers culminate in our own time, and for those who come out of the horrors of the tribulation.
“And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.” Romans 13:11-14.
These, words and those written in Hebrews 11 are written for you and me. Yes, pitiful worthless little old me and you, who sit in the back of the church, whom nobody notices, or who work a mundane job in which no one is interested.
Yes, us, the insignificant few who are helpless to help others. These words are written for us, not just the super Christian, God wants all of us to be a part of His plan of the ages.
“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10.
When it says “beforehand”, it means God’s plans were laid down for us in eternity past. All of us are significant; all of us have been in the heart of God from eternity when the Godhead designed the plan of salvation in Christ Jesus.
“Father, I desire that they also whom You gave Me may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My glory which You have given Me; for You loved Me before the foundation of the world.” John 17:24.
The “they” that Jesus is speaking of here is not just the disciples, but also everyone who accepts Christ as their Savior, including you and me.
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love…” Ephesians 1:3-4.
No longer should we see ourselves as insignificant in Christ, we have an infinite value given to us through the shed blood of Christ. In fact every person ever born has been given an infinite value by the blood of Christ.
The tragedy is that men too often reject His sacrifice and remain in sins which would have been washed away otherwise.
One man explained it this way.
Suppose a rich man told you that he had deposited one million dollars tax free in a checking account for you. This is wonderful, but until you write a check off of that account it would do you no good, you would still be impoverished.
That rich man is God who gave His only begotten Son for you. The payment for every sin you have committed and ever will commit sits in the bank for you.
Until you write that check, by accepting Christ as your Savior and the payment for your sins you will have to pay for them; for eternity.
“He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” John 3:36.
“Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us…” Hebrews 12:1.
We are told here to, “…lay aside every weight”; the every weight is composed of the time wasters in our lives. Too many hours watching television or on the computer (this can sneak up on you), too much drinking or partying or other amusements.
There may be nothing wrong with many of these things in moderation, but it is the excesses that eat away our time with the Lord in prayer or Bible study, or even the time we should be spending with our families.
Examine the weights in your life realistically, get rid of the junk, but things like vacationing somewhere do not stop you from reading your Bible and talking about the Lord with your family.
Beware; when you get rid of one weight, Satan will try to sneak another one in on you.
“…and the sin which so easily ensnares us”, most sin is fun. So when you think you have a sin under control there will come an explanation or a perceived loophole which makes it seem as though it is not so bad after all, and you are being silly. And once again you are entangled.
If sin can ensnare, it can deceive. Any sin which is practiced for a period time will deceive you into thinking less of godly things and more of your sinful pleasure.
“Beware, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God; but exhort one another daily, while it is called ‘Today,’ lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.” Hebrews 3:12-13.
“…and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us”, having set aside the weight, and the sin which load us down like a runner racing in a pair of rubber boots, let us keep our eyes on Jesus who is the forerunner and “the author and finisher of our faith.”
As you consider these things remember this, God loves to see us step out in faith in Him.
The only time we will ever be able to serve God in complete faith is right now. The day we first set our eyes on God in eternity, faith will be no more.
This is an opportunity that we should use to the fullest, just as our heritage, the cloud of witnesses who have gone before have set our example, so run the race.
“But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.” Hebrews 11:6.
Heritage taken from godisrevealed.com posted on 6-25-16, updated on 9-12-19.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version, copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission, all rights reserved.