That Ugly Three Letter Word… Sin

Hebrews 12:1 "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us."


Running has never been my passion, even when I was a kid and in better shape than I am today. Don’t get me wrong. There are times when I have run. I’ve run because someone was in danger, or I didn’t want to miss something that I loved. I’ve also run if there was a chance that it could help me win.

While I am not a runner at heart, I do understand how crazy it would be for a runner to intentionally carry extra weight while running in a race.

The Bible uses a race as a metaphor to describe the Christian life. The writer of Hebrews encourages the believer to get rid of every weight and especially any sin as we run this race. But the age-old question is: “Why?”

Sin Besets

In part, the answer is found in Hebrews 12:1. Not only are we exhorted to lay aside, or as other New Testament writers put it, “mortify” or “cast off” sin, we are told why we should do this as well.

In short, sin “besets” us. This word beset implies the exertion of tight control. Controlling tightly. Not only does God’s word tell us what we are to do with sin, but it also informs us of what sin does to us. Just as a runner doesn’t want to be constrained by anything he would put on, we don’t want to be constrained by sin. Sin has the ability to control us.

Christian, Christ’s victory on the cross has claimed the victory over sin’s penalty for us. He now gives us the ability to lay aside the sin which so easily controls us. Paul put it this way in his first letter to the Corinthians:

1 Corinthians 15:57 “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."

It’s Not Worth It

So, if we know that sin has the potential to control us tightly, and we know that through Jesus we have the ability to say no to sin, why then do we struggle with sin? Because in the moment, sin is pleasurable. But this pleasure is short lived. Instead of helping us, sin leads always to our harm.

This destructive nature is why scripture is emphatically against sin. It’s a problem that goes back to the beginning of the Bible. Adam and Eve believed Satan’s lie and desired what sin could do for them. They saw “that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise.” They failed to see what this sin would do to them, and the rest of humanity.

Friend, may we by God’s grace “lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us.” May we be free to “run with patience the race that is set before us.” God desires this for us! May we experience His best as we run this race!

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