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
Hebrews 12:1 (NASB translation)
In this third part of our study in Hebrews 12:1-3, we will examine how laying aside the sin which so easily entangles us, will completely change the way we think, the way we speak, and the way we behave (Rom 13:12-14, Eph 4:22-23).
What is the sin which so easily entangles? To fully understand “the sin which so easily entangles us.” We need to define the phrase in two parts.
The first part, “the sin” is transliterated from the Greek word “hamartia” (NT:266). According to Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Biblical Words, “the sin” does not mean a single type of sin, instead it is the most comprehensive term for turning aside from righteousness. It is used of “sin” as a:
(a) principle or source of action, or an inward element producing acts of disobedience ( Rom 3:9, Rom 5:12-13)
(b) organized governing principle or power (Rom 6:6), that uses the will (the seat of sin) to carry out individual sins throughout the physical body (Rom 6:12-14, Rom 7:17-25, Heb 12:4)
(c) generic term (distinct from specific terms, yet sometimes inclusive of concrete wrong doing ― Jhn 8:21, Jhn 8:34, Jhn 8:46, Jhn 9:41, Jhn 15:22,24)
(d) sinful deed (Matt 12:31, Acts 7:60, James 1:15), or act, (Jam 4:17, Jam 5:15-16)
The second part, “which so easily entangles us” is the English phrase transliterated from the Greek word “euperistatos” (NT:2139). This Greek word does not occur anywhere else in the New Testament, and it means “to skillfully surround.” It is sin which ambushes or attacks from all sides, it never stops bothering the individual, and given the opportunity it will:
(a) persistently hamper forward movement in the Christian walk (Gal 5:7)
(b) doggedly hinder the course set before the Christian, tirelessly attempting to slow down the progress of GOD’s spiritual call to service for every Christian (Act 13:25, Act 20:24, 2 Tim 4:7)
(c) prevent progress to Christian maturity (1 Cor 3:1-3, 2 Tim 3:8, Heb 5:12-14)
Are there examples of this sin? Yes it will present itself in three different ways. First, it will be the unrighteous behavior habitually practiced before coming to JESUS CHRIST. It can be any combination of pride, lying, anger, skepticism, laziness, quarreling, greed, unforgiveness, jealousy, sensuality… These ungodly behaviors will repeatedly try to entangle the child of GOD, by waging war from within them (Rom 7:14-25). Second, this sin will use the lure of ungodly relationships, to ambush the child of GOD (Jam 4:4, 2 Cor 6:14-18, 1 Cor 15:33-34, Psa 14:1↔Pro 13:20). And third, it will try to entice the child of GOD to make use of things offered by men who have chosen to be alienated from GOD (1 Jhn 2:15-17, Heb 11:24-26, 1 Pet 4:1-4).
How can one lay aside that sin? Only through our Beloved LORD JESUS CHRIST! HE rescued us from the authority or power of darkness (Col 1:13), and filled us with the power of HIS Holy SPIRIT (Eph 3:16, Php 4:13, Col 1:11-12), enabling us to lay aside the old sinful self with its deeds of darkness (Eph 4:22, Rom 13:12). We are strengthened daily, by continually drawing near to GOD (Jam 4:8, Psa 73:28, Psa 36:7, Psa 63:7-8); calling upon HIS NAME (2 Sam 22:4, Psa 50:15, Isa 55:6, Pro 18:10); and putting on the righteous garments HE has given us (Isa 61:10, Rom 13:14, Eph 4:24, Col 3:10); which causes our relationship with HIM to grow (1 Jhn 1:5-7).
How does one daily put on righteous garments? By seeking to be in HIS presence (Psa 27:8), through worship (thankfully honoring GOD for WHO HE is, and all HE has done ― Psa 99:1-5), through prayer (respectfully conversing with GOD ― Ecc 5:1-3, Mat 6:5-15, Php 4:13-14), through study (thoroughly learning and acquiring understanding concerning what was learned in HIS WORD ― Ezr 7:10, Psa 119:34, Psa 119:125, Pro 4:7), through meditation (attentively reflecting upon, and intently thinking about HIS WORD ― Psa 4:4, Psa 63:6, Psa 119:15, Psa 119:48, Psa 119:148), and through obedience (carefully doing what HIS WORD says to do, and not doing what HIS WORD says not to do ― Deu 12:28, Mat 7:24-25, Luk 11:28, Eph 5:15, Jam 1:23-25).
But flee from these things, you man of GOD
And pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, perseverance and gentleness
Fight the good fight of faith
Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called
And you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses
I charge you in the presence of GOD, WHO gives life to all things
And of CHRIST JESUS, WHO testified the good confession before Pontius Pilate
That you keep the commandment without stain or reproach
Until the appearing of our LORD JESUS CHRIST
1 Timothy 6:11-14