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
For consider HIM who has endured such hostility by sinners against HIMSELF
So that you will not grow weary and lose heart
In Hebrews 12:1-3 our Beloved LORD GOD gives us six ways to increase our faith, so that it becomes greater than our fear:
1) So great a cloud of witnesses. Carefully examine all those introduced to us in Hebrews chapter 11, which bear witness that a life of faith in GOD can be achieved in any and all circumstances
2) Laying aside encumbrances. Get rid of anything that hinders our obedience to and trust in GOD
3) Laying aside sin. Abstain from or refuse to continue in those sins so freely indulged in before surrendering our lives to CHRIST
4) Run with endurance. Endure and persevere in living as a follower of CHRIST JESUS (Christian) from your innermost being
5) Fix our eyes on JESUS. Turn your focus from everything and concentrate your gaze upon on JESUS
6) Consider HIM. Look at carefully at; keep in mind; ponder how JESUS lived HIS during HIS time here on earth
So great a cloud of witnesses. Carefully examine all those introduced to us in Hebrews chapter 11 (the great cloud of witnesses who are part of the Hall of Fame of Faith). Our brethren mentioned in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, bear witness or attest to (serve as proof of) that a life of faith in GOD can be achieved in any and all circumstances. Don’t just read their names in the 11th chapter of Hebrews, prayerfully study their lives, in the Books of The BIBLE where their acts of faith were first mentioned. As you read about them, ask our Beloved GOD why HE chose them to bear witness as an example and encouragement in our lives.
For example, in Hebrews 11:4, our Beloved LORD GOD tells us that “by faith Abel offered to HIM a better sacrifice than Cain. So let us examine Abel’s faith in Genesis 4:1-10. In this passage of Scripture, we are given information about him, his brother Cain, and our Beloved GOD’s interaction. But only through prayer and careful examination, are we given insight into Cain, Abel’s faith and our Beloved GOD’s response to and communication with:
• Cain is Abel’s older brother (Gen 4:1-2)
• Cain was a tiller of the ground (gardener), and Abel was a keeper of flocks (shepherd) – (Gen 4:2)
• Cain and Abel both brought offerings, our Beloved GOD accepted both Abel and his offering, but did not accept Cain or his offering (Gen 4:3-5). Just a note for those who have been erroneously taught, “Cain’s offering was not acceptable because it was not a blood offering”. Both blood and bloodless offerings were acceptable to GOD (Lev chapters 1-7). Bloodless offerings from the fruit of the ground including grain were also acceptable for three reasons. First, when the offeror was so poor they could not afford to make a blood offering, our Beloved LORD GOD accepted grain as their offering for sin (Lev 5:1-13). Second, bloodless offerings were also acceptable as thanksgiving for HIS provision (Exd 23:16-19, Exd 34:26), and for worship (Mal 1:11). And finally bloodless offerings symbolizes our lives after salvation (we are living and holy sacrifices ― Rom 12:1, 1 Cor 6:20).
Why then would a person and their offering not be acceptable to GOD?
• When one chooses a life of sin (Pro 3:32, Pro 6:16-19, Pro 11:20, Pro 15:8-9, Isa 1:10-17, Jer 14:10-12)
• When one’s best is not offered (1 Sam 1:3, 1 Sam 2:12-17, Mal 1:6-10)
• When one begrudgingly gives (2 Cor 9:7, Deu 15:7-11, 2 Cor 8:12)
What makes a person and their offering acceptable to GOD?
• When one chooses to know, trust and obey HIM (Exd 34:13, Psa 25:4-5, Psa 119:33, Luk 3:21-22, Jhn 8:29, Eph 5:6-11, Heb 11:6)
• When one like Abel desires to give GOD their very best. Abel gave of his firstlings (Gen 4:4). Firstlings are the first of a kind, the first fruit, the first produce, or the first offspring of an animal (Exd 13:1-2).
Could Cain’s offering ever become acceptable? Yes, in fact our Beloved LORD GOD told Cain how is offering could become acceptable (Gen 4:6-7). HE told Cain “to do well” or do what is right in the sight of GOD (Act 10:35). When our heart is right before our Beloved LORD GOD so our offerings (Eph 5:1-2, Rom 12:1, Heb 13:15). And if our heart is not right toward our Beloved LORD GOD neither is our offerings (Pro 28:9).
And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence
So as to realize the full assurance of hope until the end
So that you will not be sluggish
But imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises