Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2, ESV).
Throughout the pages of Scripture, we can see countless testimonies of those who trusted in the Lord and their faith being found in Him. We can read the gospels and see this clearly illustrated in the lives of those who interacted with Jesus Christ.
From the woman with the issue of blood (Matthew 9), and the prostitute who washed the feet of Christ (Luke 7:50), to the blind man healed on the road (Mark 10:52), and the healing of the 10 lepers (Luke 17:19), time and again we can see the faith of those who trusted in Jesus Christ to heal them and to save them.
We see as one author states, “The value of one’s faith does not come from the one who expresses it but from the object in which it rests.”
Hebrews 11 is a great chapter that encourages us in our faith in Christ. Many people have referred to this chapter as the hall of faith chapter. It is important for us to read this chapter before understanding Hebrews 12:1-2 in context.
Though we can easily succumb to elevating people in the Bible whose faith was in God to do things in their lives or focus on those in the gospels who had faith to be healed or saved, our ultimate focus is to be upon Christ.
Their faith and their testimonies always point back to the One who healed them and saved them. Their faith testifies to us that it is truly centered upon Christ and not ourselves, and that is good news!
The Hall of Faith
Hebrews 11 is overflowing with familiar characters in Scripture and those whose stories we know well. What I found interesting while reading this chapter was the first evidence of our faith. We believe that God created the universe by His word as the Word of God states.
This is not talking about God having faith in Himself to create, but rather our faith to believe that what His Word says took place indeed did take place. We read of Abel’s more acceptable offering and Enoch being taken up and being commended as pleasing God.
We read of Noah building the ark by faith, this ark that would save his family from the judgment of God against wickedness. We see how Abraham by faith followed the instructions of the Lord in going to the land of promise.
I love what Hebrews 11:10 says, “For he was looking forward to the city with foundations, whose architect and builder is God.” I am reminded of the passage in Scripture where Jesus says that Abraham saw His day and was glad (John 8:56), which takes us on to Hebrews 11:13,
All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth.
We can see how this is pointing back to Christ who is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). The coming of Jesus Christ to provide eternal life for those who would believe in Him as their Lord and Savior helps us to see what those even in the Old Testament desired and yet did not in their time receive.
They longed for a heavenly country and not this world. They trusted in the promises of God, pointing back to His Son in types and shadows in the Old Testament, that their faith in God would lead them to that heavenly country while being sojourners in this world.
What a great reminder for us all to remember that we are sojourners in this world as believers in Christ. Though we are in this world, we are not of this world, and our faith is set upon Him who saves us and redeems us, and our eyes are fixed on Christ in every season and in every storm that we may face in this foreign land.
We can read further of Abraham’s faith regarding Isaac, a type and shadow of Christ’s sacrifice. We see the faith of Moses and how “he regarded disgrace for the sake of Christ as of greater value than the treasures of Egypt, because he was looking ahead to his reward” (Hebrews 11:26).
Moses displays a type and shadow of what it means to suffer with God’s people as a person whose faith is in Christ.
There are so many others that we can see had faith in God to receive what was promised, which was essentially eternal life. The entire Bible is centered upon God and the redemption He provides.
We should also note that in this chapter, those mentioned who had faith in God included those who suffered persecution, mocking, flogging, and torture.
Many of these were the prophets of the Old Testament. All of those found within the confines of Hebrews 11 are witnesses to the value of faith in God.
Focused on the Perfecter of Our Faith
Hebrews 12:1-2 brings us full circle to where our focus has been all along in Hebrews 11, and our focus is upon the object of our salvation and faith, Jesus Christ. We can see from the accounts provided in Scripture where we are to look for our hope and our faith.
Jesus Christ is our focus. He is the center of our faith. How beautiful is it that verse 2 says He endured the cross for the joy set before Him? He despised the shame, reveling in the joy of fulfilling the will of the Father in redeeming His people.
There are such great promises that we have in Christ. No matter where we read in the Word of God, we can be encouraged by God’s wonderful plan of salvation and reconciliation, and we are ever reminded to focus not on the person in need of perfecting but are to fix our sights on the Founder and Perfecter of our faith.
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Dawn Hill is a Christian blogger known as The Lovesick Scribe and the host of The Lovesick Scribe Podcast. She is passionate about sharing the truth and pointing others back to Jesus Christ through the written Word as the standard of authority for Christian living and instruction while being led by the Holy Spirit into maturity. She is the author of NonProphet Woke: The Reformation of a Modern-Day Disciple. She is a wife to Nicholas and a mother to Anabel and Ephraim. You can follow her on Facebook and Instagram.