Jesus: Author and Perfecter of Faith
“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith” Hebrews 12.2
We are to follow the examples of past men of faith, look to the promises before us, lay aside the weights of this world and the sins of the flesh which easily entangle us, and pursue enduring faith, carrying the burdens and responsibilities that God gives us as His people, and suffering the hardships that come with belonging to God.
Fixing Our Eyes The Exclusive Focus is Jesus
-Turning eyes away from and toward something; to turn the mind to a certain thing. Matthew 14.28-31
The Author of Faith The Object and Reality of Faith
1) New Covenant faith is based on the death and resurrection of Christ. Jesus is the object of true faith. Hebrews 2.10; 5.9. Firstfruits, Firstborn
2) New Covenant faith is made real in my life in Jesus.
The Perfecter of Faith Conformity to Christ
-Faith is required to please God.
-In Christ we are strengthened in enduring faith. Hebrews 4.16
-God seeks to conform us to Jesus Christ.
Fix your eyes and your mind on Jesus Christ the author and perfecter of your faith.
Jesus: The Founder and Perfecter of Faith Hebrews 12.1-2
We have been working our way through this year’s theme verse, “let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus”. What we have learned so far is that it is through enduring faith that continues to trust God and obey God no matter what the circumstances, that we will receive what God has promised us. We are to persevere in the faith at all costs to ourselves right to the end.
We are responsible to put aside those activities and relationships, and those sins which so easily cling to us, so we can live with enduring faith.
God has given to us many examples of enduring faith in the saints in the Word of God. God has put joy and hope in our hearts by the indwelling Holy Spirit and promises us fullness of joy to come. God also promises us future glory in the presence of God in order that we might endure in faith.
We are to exert ourselves in enduring faith until we reach the end of the course that God has set before each of us. We will fail and we will fall, but we are to get back up and recognize afresh our justification in Christ and the love of God for us. After we get up we are to determine with new resolve to trust and obey God in all our circumstances and continue on to the end of the road. From the perspective of eternity the course that God sets before us is short so let us give ourselves completely to God. It will be worth it in the end.
This morning I want us to study together this most important phrase, “looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith”. In Jesus we find both the origin of our faith and the perfection of our faith. We can have a multitude of examples of enduring faith. We may listen to all the commands to put aside hindrances and sins. We may set our wills to trust and obey God. But if we do not have the life of God in us, the indwelling Holy Spirit in us, the faith that comes from a relationship with Jesus Christ, we will not live by faith. We may be religious and put ourselves under strict rules and morals, but we will not have genuine enduring faith without the life of God in us. We may say we are a Christian but we will not have genuine enduring faith unless Jesus is in us by the Holy Spirit. Biblical enduring faith finds is source and strength in a relationship with Jesus Christ. Faith begins when we come to Christ, and faith is sustained in our union with Christ. Looking to Jesus is essential to enduring faith.
Both the NIV and NASB begin this phrase with the words, “fixing our eyes on Jesus”. “Fixing our eyes” is a good translation of the Greek word used here. The word means “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something”. The word also means “to turn the mind to a certain thing”. What the author is calling for is an exclusive and focused look to Jesus, along with an intense concentration of the mind on Jesus. Jesus is to be the focal point of our attention in the walk of enduring faith.
When I read this definition in the dictionary, “to turn the eyes away from other things and fix them on something”, what came to mind was the story of Peter walking on the water. The disciples saw Jesus walking on the water and Peter said, “Lord, if it is you, command me to come to you on the water”. Jesus said “Come”. So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus. Then we are told “when Peter saw the wind, he was afraid, and beginning to sink he cried out, ‘Lord save me’”. And Jesus immediately reached out his hand and took hold of him. (Matthew 14.28-31)
Peter took his focus off of Jesus and focused on the circumstances around him and immediately began to sink. When Peter saw his circumstances and momentarily forgot about Jesus he was swallowed up by his circumstances. We are not to be swallowed up by our circumstances but we are to stand up under them. To do that we need to fix our eyes on Jesus.
Jesus is the author of faith. Jesus is the author of faith in two ways. 1) First through the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and his resurrection from the dead, new covenant faith was made possible for all people. Hebrews 2.10 says, “For it was fitting that he, for whom and by whom all things exist, in bringing many sons to glory, should make the founder of their salvation perfect through suffering”. Then Hebrews 5.9 follows up with, “And being made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey him”. Jesus is the founder and source of eternal salvation. All the past animal sacrifices offered to God for sin pointed to Jesus the one and only true sacrifice for sin. Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s purpose to save mankind from sin. By his death and resurrection Jesus became the object of faith to which God calls each of us for salvation.
2) Second. When I ask God to save me from my sin through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, new covenant faith is made real in me. By his death and resurrection Jesus enabled true faith and when I ask God to save me in Jesus Christ faith is made real in my own life.
By his life and death and resurrection Jesus pioneered the way of faith and has led millions into true faith. Jesus is called the firstfruits of a large harvest, the firstborn of many sons, and the cornerstone of a living temple. In Christ God’s plan of salvation by faith was fulfilled and offered to everyone. Jesus is the author of faith.
Today, God offers all of you eternal salvation in Jesus Christ. God asks that you believe his assessment of you as a sinner who cannot save yourself, and calls you to believe that Jesus paid the penalty for your sins. God calls you to put your faith in Jesus to save you from sin and hell. Tomorrow might be too late for you to ask God to save you from your sin. Don’t put off answering God’s call to you to come to Him and be saved from your sin.
Jesus is the perfecter of faith. When God saves us, He puts His Holy Spirit into our lives and we begin to love the Word of God, the people of God, and the truth of God. If you do not love God’s Word and God’s people, and have not seen any change in your lifestyle since you started telling people you are a Christian, then you should doubt that you are a Christian. You need to find out if you truly are a Christian. When we become a Christian God begins to teach us how to live by faith, and how to have an enduring faith. Without faith it is impossible to please God.
In all our circumstances Jesus is to be the object of our faith. Jesus Christ is almighty God, our Savior, and our brother. He is God’s appointed high-priest, the advocate that stands before God on our behalf, the Good shepherd. In all of these functions Jesus is able to help us in all of our circumstances to walk in enduring faith. God invites us, “with confidence to draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4.16).
God’s ultimate purpose is to conform us to His Son Jesus Christ. The circumstances that God sets before you and I are designed to accomplish that purpose. Let me remind you of Romans 8.28-29, “We know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, in order that he might be the firstborn among many brothers.” “All things working together for good” means conformity to the image of Jesus Christ. God calls us to enduring faith in all our circumstances so that He might perfect our love and trust in Him in line with the love and trust of His very Son, Jesus Christ. Why are you in those very discouraging circumstances that you feel you cannot bear much longer? So you can learn to be more loving and patient and giving and become a greater worshiper of God. Why are you suffering in that trial or sickness? So you can receive the comfort of God and learn to be a comforter to others. Enduring faith is not just to get us to the end of the course to receive the prize. Enduring faith is also to deepen our fellowship with our Father and to conform us to Jesus along the way. Our hearts are still in great need of the grace and mercy and restoration of God. As we focus on Jesus, the one who rose from the dead so we could have faith, the one who gave each of us faith, the one who strengthens us in our faith, and the one who seeks to perfect our faith, we can have an enduring faith which conforms us to Jesus Christ.
Let us fix our eyes and focus our minds on Jesus the author and perfecter of our faith. We need his direction and his strength for enduring faith that will bring us to the full promises of God.