29 By faith the people passed through the Red Sea as if it were dry land, but when the Egyptians attempted to do so they were drowned. 30 By faith the walls of Jericho fell after they had been encircled for seven days. 31 By faith Rahab the prostitute did not perish with those who were disobedient, because she had received the spies in peace. 32 And what more should I say? For time would fail me to tell of Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, of David and Samuel and the prophets– 33 who through faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, 34 quenched raging fire, escaped the edge of the sword, won strength out of weakness, became mighty in war, put foreign armies to flight. 35 Women received their dead by resurrection. Others were tortured, refusing to accept release, in order to obtain a better resurrection. 36 Others suffered mocking and flogging, and even chains and imprisonment. 37 They were stoned to death, they were sawn in two, they were killed by the sword; they went about in skins of sheep and goats, destitute, persecuted, tormented– 38 of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. 39 Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith, did not receive what was promised, 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us, be made perfect. 1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely, and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2 looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the sake of the joy that was set before him endured the cross, disregarding its shame, and has taken his seat at the right hand of the throne of God. [NRSA]
By Faith: By faith
We think we know how the story of the saints should go:
Yet all these, though they were commended for their faith,
did not receive what was promised,
The punchline is not that got their reward, even those who have gone before are waiting for New Heaven and New Earth.
Our loved ones are with Jesus, but they too are awaiting Christ’s return to give us the new Jerusalem, and be join together.
Hear the Good News: 40 since God had provided something better so that they would not, apart from us,
be made perfect. 1
Preventing Grace, Justify, Sanctifying, Perfecting Grace
Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses,
Imagine being an Olympic racer with the world cheering you on in a race. We have all the saints, prophet, loved ones, and more cheer us.. to
- let us also lay aside every weight and the sin that clings so closely,
- and let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us, 2
BUT HOW? How do we have faith greater than beliefs. Difference in believing what Jesus can do, and in trusting what Jesus will do in, with, through, for me and you.
looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith,