Hebrews 12:1 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

In chapter 11, the author of Hebrews gave an honor roll call of heroes of the faith who have gone before us. He reminds us that men like Abraham believed God’s promises. He counted God faithful, and he stayed the course of faith, even when he didn’t see the fulfillment of the promise. The men and women of the Old Testament were waiting for something beyond a promised land. They were waiting for something beyond an earthly kingdom. These Old Testament saints died with the faith that God had something better in store for them. In their lifetime they did not see the final promised blessing of the redeemed.

They were people on the way. Hebrews 11:6 says, “They were longing for a better country, a heavenly one. Therefore, God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them.” They had an unwavering hope. What a heritage for us today. We find ourselves on the other side of Jesus’ death and resurrection, but that does not mean that we don’t need faith. Their faith rested on what Jesus would come to do, and our faith rests in what Jesus has already done. And yet, we too must press forward and look ahead to His second coming. We too, have not see the fulfillment of everything God has promised yet.

We believers today must persevere in faith and trust in God, even when we do not see all of God’s promises fulfilled in our lives. The faith that God approves of is a faith that is able to surrender God’s promises back to Him for their fulfillment according to His will. We have a faith built on an unshakable hope, not a hope that is wishing for something that might happen, but a hope that is believing for something we know will happen. To the writer of Hebrews, faith is absolutely certain that what it believes is true and that what it expects will come.

What is our hope?

1. Belief in God against the world. It is better to stake everything on God than to trust the rewards of the world. As believers, we hold to the truth that there is a God, and He has created this world and everything we see. Not only has He created this world, but He is actively involved it. We are here on purpose and for purpose.

2. Belief in Spirit against the senses. The Spirit tells us that there is something far beyond just living for the moment. We who live by the Spirit, know that there is more to life than what we see. We are controlled by the Spirit of God living inside of us and not controlled by every fear, anxious thought or whim that comes into our mind. We have learned to walk by the Spirit and fall in step with His leading.

3. Belief in the future against the present. We must take the long view. That which hurts and causes pain in the moment, may bring joy in the long run. We have hope that we will see fruit come from the moment we are in.

The heroes of the faith lived on this principle. Every one of them refused what the world calls greatness and staked everything on God. And history proved them right! “This Christian hope is such that it dictates all a man’s conduct. He lives in it and he dies in it, and it is the possession of it which makes him act as he does” (William Barclay, 128-129).

Our great cloud of witnesses show us the way to navigate this life. They show us how to walk by faith. We are living in the now and the not yet. For us, the kingdom of God has come, but not fully yet. And so, while we see the kingdom of God moving and working among us, we also are still involved in a battle. The battle feels long, and the battle is hard at times. The author of Hebrews would encourage us to not get weighed down with the heaviness of the battle.  Just as the men and women of the faith persevered to the end of their lives as they walked this earthly journey, so we too are called to persevere and not give up our faith. How do we do this? We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. This is how we hold firmly to our faith…what the author of Hebrews has been ever pressing since the beginning of his letter. We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus. This is how we remain people “on the way.”