Last week we spent a few days in Hebrews chapter 11, the Old Testament hall of faithfulness. The writer, having reminded his audience of their own example (chapter 10), reeled off a list of faithful people from Israel’s history as further examples to emulate. Each one gave up something in their present existence in order to take hold of something far greater in the future, which God had promised. They lived as foreigners and strangers (like the Jewish-Christian minority being addressed), they rejected the trappings of status and citizenship of their earthly cities, and they accepted all kinds of mistreatment as the people of God, because they had faith that God had something far better in store.
He says, in light of all that we’ve heard in chapter 11,
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