Lay Aside Every Weight and Sin

Charles Pogue

Following the chapter of Hebrews, chapter 11, understood as the great chapter on faith, Chapter twelve begins with these words:

Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, 2Looking 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 is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.

The reference to running a race is one of those indications the likely writer of Hebrews is the apostle Paul in so much as he made a comparison of living the Christian life to the running of a race in 1 Corinthians 9: 24-27. In both passages, the writer warns against encumbering himself with such things as would hinder his running the race.

In Hebrews 12:1,2, learning from the great cloud of witnesses discussed in the previous chapter, the Hebrew Christians endanger of leaving Christ and returning to the law of Moses were cautioned to not be hindered by two things. The first of these was to lay aside every weight. The weight here is in reference to an encumbrance. The encumbrance is one the runner is responsible for laying upon himself. In the course of his training and in the actual running of the race he does not hoist upon himself anything which would slow him down. When many of those who train for a race do so with weights tied around their ankles, but when it comes time to run the race the weights are removed. The Christian dare not load upon himself anything which would slow him down or divert him from the course of living the Christian life. The key is to remove from himself the things of this world, which John describes in 1 John 2:15-17 as lust and the vainglory or pride of life. Those who put the things of the world above God the Father and Christ will be severely hindered, yea, prevented from running the race.

The second thing the writer admonishes Christians to lay aside is sin which so easily besets us. The devil is skillful in his use of those things which he can cleverly disguise to the point one may not recognize it for the sin it is. Any sin, though, whether it be one the person readily identifies as sin or is somewhat camouflaged by Satan to enhance its deception must be left behind to run the race of life successfully to the end.

Let us further notice the use of the word “every” by the writer. It is not sufficient to lay aside some or even most of the weights and sins which beset us, we must leave them all behind. This was the intent when we arose from the watery grave of baptism (Rom. 6:3,4). It would be futile to say, I have not committed murder only adultery, for the same Lord exposed them both as sin, and James tells us if one keeps the whole law yet offends in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10). That is, he is guilty of violating God’s law.

We are not left without assistance in laying aside such weights and sins, and verse 2 of Hebrews twelve identifies it. “Looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.” If we keep our eyes on the cross Jesus endured on our behalf, glorying in His immeasurable love for us with the cost of His life He is there with His example and His Word to help us do the right and leave the wrong behind.

Hebrews 12:1,2 are wonderful words not only because they follow the great chapter of faith, but because they are in and of themselves a marvelous recipe for running the race with confidence and completeness that as Paul reminded the Corinthians, he did so to receive an incorruptible crown.

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Author: bible

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