Chain Breaker

Chain Breaker

Hebrews 12:1-2

“Therefore, since we also have such a large cloud of witnesses surrounding us let us lay aside every weight and the sin that so easily ensnares us and run with endurance the race that lies before us, keeping our eyes on Jesus, the source and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that lay before Him endured a cross and despised shame, and has sat down at the right hand of God’s throne.”


                This great section of scripture that is quoted above is coming on the heels of something that is very important and really makes this section that much better. In chapter 11 of Hebrews, God lays out for us some of the heroes of the faith. People like Abraham, Noah, Isaac, and Moses. And what he does in that chapter is not talk about all the great things that those people we look back on and think that they are some sort of super human for having such a close relationship with God, but instead he shows us the faith that those people exhibited in their lives, and how it was their faith and not their works by which they received salvation.

                I bring all of that up because I believe that it makes what we read above that much more relevant. I don’t know if you are like me, but when I read names like Noah, Abraham, and Moses, I think of men who did great things for God. Noah built the ark, Abraham patiently waited for a son and then was going to sacrifice him, and Moses helped free the Israelites and stayed with them for 40 years. What I am getting at is I think about what they have done, but what I believe that Hebrews chapter 11 and the verses above from 12 are trying to tell us is that it has nothing at all to do with what those men did. Their works did not earn them their salvation. In fact if you think about it those men did some pretty messed up stuff. Noah got drunk after getting off the ark and got naked, Abraham pimped out his wife, not once, but twice to try to save himself. Moses murdered an Egyptian and buried him in the sand. These are the model citizens that we make them out to be.

                What made these men special was the faith that they had in the coming Lord Jesus. They had faith that there was going to be one to come that was going to crush the head of the serpent as promised in Genesis 3:15, and those are the witnesses that we have to look to in Hebrews 12:1. The verses above are not pointing us towards good works to get us to heaven, but instead are pointing us to faith in the finished work of Christ. That is why it says that we should keep out eyes on “Jesus, the SOURCE AND PERFECTER of our faith.” We don’t find rest in how many Sundays we attend church, or in teaching Sunday school, or taking people to church. While those are all good things, they are not where we find our identity at. We find our identity as Christians in the crucified Christ that rose from the dead.

                And what is this talk about the weight and sin that ensnares us? I believe we can easily become entangled in our own works and what we have done and we stop looking at what Jesus has done for us.  We look at the accomplishments in our lives and we believe that since we have lived good moral lives that our kids should turn out good, or because we have gone to church for 30 years that we don’t deserve the illness we have been diagnosed with. We get into this “God owes me” attitude where we believe that because in our own eyes we see ourselves as law abiding citizens and good church members that God owes us good lives, good health, good kids, and good jobs. But that’s not the case. Jesus has given us all that we will ever need in the fact that he was 100% God, 100% man, lived a perfect life for us and died the death we should have died, and rose again on the third day. Our lives don’t have to be perfect because the life of Jesus was already perfect for us.

                Lastly, we easily bind ourselves up with the chains of sin. We fall into sin and we struggle for a lifetime with it, or maybe just a season, but because of that sin we get to the point that we no longer see ourselves as children of God but we categorize ourselves by the sin that we struggle with. This once again is an area where we take our eyes off of what Jesus has done and we put our eyes back on ourselves.  Just like the life, death and resurrection frees us from thinking that we are owed something, it also frees us from the bondage of sin. Christ has died for your sins so that you can be free to love and trust in him for forgiveness so that you don’t have to be known by your sin but by your relationship to God.

                God is in the business of breaking chains like self-entitlement and the entrapment of sin, all we have to do is allow him to come into our lives and break those chains.