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Lay Aside

By Pastor Chad

Hard work is good! A good work ethic is essential to being a person of integrity. If one wants to achieve excellence in life, hard work will be a necessary component. Protestant evangelicals are known for being hard workers. We’re doers! We are not afraid of work and we tend to get the job done. This idea has led to the term Protestant work ethic. The term emphasizes the Protestant belief that one should labor to support oneself and one’s family. 

It is this hard working mindset that makes Hebrews 12:1-2 so difficult to grasp. In this passage, the author of Hebrews tells the believer to “lay aside the weight and sin that so easily ensnares,” so one may run the race of the Christian faith “with endurance.” But how? How do we lay aside the sin that so easily ensnares? 

In my message on Sunday, I stated that the author of Hebrews answered that question in verse 2: by “looking to Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.” See, we don’t overcome sin in our lives by focusing on the sin. We overcome sin in our lives by focusing on Christ. 

The Christian faith is far more about focusing on Christ than it is about avoiding sin. Many erroneously think the Christian race is one big obstacle course: the Christian runner must constantly navigate obstacles of sin in order to know Jesus. But that isn’t the proper way to view the Christian walk. The Christian life is more about following Jesus than avoiding sin. I’m not saying we shouldn’t avoid sin, we should, but that should not be our main focus in the Christian life. In fact, it is almost counterproductive to living as we are called.  

To our evangelical Protestant ears, this seems backwards. Surely, if we want to overcome some sinful obstacle in our lives, we must confront the sin head-on, grab the sin by the horns, and destroy it through sheer human will power. Such a mindset highlights a fundamental misunderstanding of sin. Sin is more powerful than we are. We cannot overcome it on our own. To overcome it, we must rest in the grace of God. Another way of saying it, to overcome sin, we walk with Christ. 

All who are with Christ are walking away from sin. Why? Christ is the holy Son of God. All who are with Him are by extension not in sin. To lay aside our sin, we must walk with Christ. The Christian life is a journey. And it is a constant struggle between the Spirit and the flesh. But the battle is not won through mere human effort. The battle is won by being with Jesus. He has already overcome sin on the cross. He is the spotless, sinless Lamb of God. He is the only one that can truly overcome sin. He has the power not only to avoid sin in His own life, but He has the power to destroy your sin as well.   


To hear the full sermon, click here.


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