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Running the Race, Part 4

by Gil Rugh

Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God (Hebrews 12:1-2)

In verse 2 of Hebrews 12 we are told to be “fixing our eyes on Jesus.” Paul made a similar point in 1 Corinthians 11:1 where he instructed the Corinthians to “Be imitators of me, just as I also am of Christ.” We were introduced to examples of faith in Hebrews 11 but here we see that the greatest example of all is Jesus. The word translated “fixing” has the idea of turning our eyes away from other things so they can be focused on Christ.

The writer to the Hebrews goes on to say that Jesus is “the author and perfecter of faith.” The Greek word translated “author” means the one who lays the foundation for something, the one who plans and who builds it. Jesus is the one who planned our salvation by faith and established the foundation for it by His work on the cross.

Jesus is also said to be the perfecter of faith. The word translated “perfecter” means the “completer” or “finisher.” For all those we see in Hebrews 11 who trusted God and His promises, the foundation for their faith was the finished work of Christ. Their faith in God and what He promised could only be realized through the work of the one who is the author and perfecter of faith.

As the heroes of faith looked forward to the promised Messiah, we are instructed to look back at His example. Jesus lived by faith in His Father and His promises during His earthly life. He is the one who trusted God. In Hebrews 2:10 we are told, “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things, and through whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to perfect the author of their salvation through sufferings.” And then in verse 13, the words of the psalmist put into the mouth of Christ, “I will put my trust in Him.” Christ during His earthly life lived by faith in His Father and His promises and He is the perfect example of how we are to live.