Keep Running! – 3

2. Lay Aside Any Weight of Sin. The second thing we must do to persevere in Christ is to lay aside every weight and entangling sin. Let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely” (HEB. 12:1, ESV). The present participle, “lay aside” (Gk. apotithemi) means, to “put off; take off” (BAGD). The picture here is of an ancient Greek athlete taking off any weight that would weigh him down in running the race.

Back in high school, I joined the 400m dash. To prepare for the race, I had to run several lapses around the race track in La Salle High School, Bacolod. I remember how some runners would wear the thinnest shorts and the lightest running shoes. I couldn’t buy the best running shoes then, so I used whatever rubber shoes I had. I finished only third place, but I have an excuse—I didn’t wear the lightest running shoes.

To endure in this race, the writer of Hebrews says that we should lay aside two things—every weight and every entangling sin. “Every weight” here for the first century Hebrew readers would be the Law and its requirements.[1] You see, some Jewish believers believed that Christ’s finished work on the cross is not enough. Some of them thought that you still need to follow the requirements of the Law. You need to offer blood sacrifices. You need to be circumcised as the Law requires. You need to follow the Sabbath religiously. You need to stop eating pork and other prohibited foods. You need to do all the requirements of the Law to be justified before God. Christ’s work on the cross is insufficient, they say.

For these Jews, the writer of Hebrews says that Christ has fulfilled the Law. Therefore, you are no longer under its yoke. You must put off every weight of the Law that pulls you down.

[1] John MacArthur, The MacArthur Study Bible (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1997), 1919.


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