Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great cloud a of witnesses, let us also 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. Heb. 12:1-2
Dear Lord Jesus, I praise you for the gift of another day, and the opportunity to remember every good thing you’ve accomplished for us by your life, death and resurrection. Open the Scriptures to us and us to the Scriptures. Continue to give us eyes to see you everywhere in the Bible. Continue to rescue us from old “tapes”, grace-less sermons and incomplete teachings we’ve received through the years.
This much loved text is a great example. I used to think the “cloud of witnesses,” referred to in this passage, was a huge crowd of spiritual giants peering down from heaven onto the earthly playing field of Christianity—cheering us on in the righteousness race—pulling for us to make it across the finish line. Noah, Abraham, Moses, King David, the apostle Paul, all winners now motivating me to do more and try harder, sweat more and finish strong.
Lord Jesus, all that led to was pride in my performance or despairing of my failures, depending on the day or season. But the main thing Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, and Paul all had in common was their sinful hearts, abject brokenness and consuming need of your grace—which you freely gave them. Somehow, I missed that in my earliest days of following you.
But today—a day celebrated by a huge part of Christendom as All Saints Day, I fix my gaze on you—the true and only Saint; the set-apart-One for our salvation; the author and perfecter of our faith. I’m only a saint because the Father has hidden my life in yours, Lord Jesus. My only garments of holiness are garments of grace. It is your righteousness, plus nothing, that has made me a righteous man—able to stand before the Father this day and the great Day to come.
I will run and finish the race because in you, Jesus, I live, move, and have my being. I will make it to heaven not because of my efforts but because of yours. God is not one bit impressed with my works, but he’s thoroughly satisfied with yours on our behalf. What wondrous love and eternal inheritance is this, indeed!
And it is with great joy that I remember the true faith-saints you’ve woven into my story—the gospel heroes you’ve given me. The men and women whose humility makes the gospel believable and beautiful to me and others; those gentle, often fragile, jars-of-clay who give off an aroma of grace and life; models of repentant faith, not endless strivings; precious friends who make me hunger and thirst to know, love and serve you, with my whole being and my every moment.
Increase their tribe, and make me that kind of saint, Lord Jesus. Make me a conduit of your endless mercies and sufficient grace, even today. So very Amen I pray in your holy and loving name.