Imagine running a marathon while holding a duffel bag full of rocks. (You won’t find me running 26.2 consecutive miles at all ever, but anyway.)
As you trudge past mile marker 9 with your rock bag, the founder of the marathon steps out from the crowd and gives you permission to set the duffel down and finish running. Why would you continue running with the extra weight when you don’t have to? Of course, you toss it aside and press on until you reach the finish line.
In Hebrews 12:1-2, the author describes a similar spiritual race we are called to run: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith…”
It is a wise and spiritually healthy practice to regularly lay aside sin that’s weighing us down by repenting before God. Just as it’s foolish to run needlessly with a duffel bag of rocks, we don’t have to cling tightly to our sin. Not only is it a weighty burden, it’s also constantly causing us to trip. Lay it down, my friend! Lay it down.
Depending on the Bible translation, Jesus may be referred to in Hebrews 12:2 as the “founder,” the “author,” the “finisher,” or the “perfecter” of our faith. The Greek word for “perfecter” only appears this one time in the New Testament and it means “completer” or essentially bringing to its full conclusion.
As we lay down our heavy burdens, the instruction given in Hebrews is to run our race with endurance and do it with our eyes fixed on Jesus. He is the author of our faith which empowers us to live with a clear purpose; our founder is worthy! He is the perfecter of our faith which means our faith will be brought to completion when we see Jesus face-to-face. We will not live perfect lives on earth, but rather, we’ll possess a faith that Jesus will sustain and refine until faith becomes sight.
The end of Hebrews 12:2 reads, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God.”
It was his joy to endure the cross for your sake. He is now seated in glory at the right hand of the Father, and as you run your race, He’s calling you to lay down your sin. Repent and look to him, the founder and perfecter of our faith, and your race will be well-run.