The author offers one final warning against impenitent unbelief by quoting a prophecy of the final judgment found in Haggai 2:6. The final judgment of God upon the nations, unbelievers, and all creation should serve as an encouragement and solace to believers who face hostility and affliction at the hands of unbelievers. The final judgment of God is a terrifying reality to all without a Savior. An exposition of Hebrews 12:26-27.
Hebrews chapter 12. We’re going to begin reading at verse 25. We’ll read through the end of verse 29. Hebrews 12 verse 25:
25 See to it that you do not refuse Him who is speaking. For if those did not escape when they refused him who warned them on earth, much less will we escape who turn away from Him who warns from heaven.
26 And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.”
27 This expression, “Yet once more,” denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
29 for our God is a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:25–29 NASB)
Everything that can be measured or experienced by your senses is destined to pass away. Everything. Everything we touch, everything you taste, everything you feel, everything you smell, everything that is otherwise experienced physically in this world will pass away. It is passing away because nothing around you that you interact with is eternal, unless we’re talking about the spirits of the just made perfect, other believers. But physically speaking, everything in this world and about this world is going to pass away. And sometimes that is hard for us to grasp because we tend to think that the things that we experience in this world are everlasting. They seem everlasting to us because as long as we have existed, these things have existed. They were here before we got here, and they’re here while we’re here, and then when we are gone, they’re here after we’re gone. So if something has existed for as long and the entire duration of our existence, then what could be more eternal and everlasting than that? Something that preceded us, something that will go on after us, and something that is here the whole time that we are here. If they existed before we were here, then it kind of looks to us like they will exist for as long as anything exists after we are gone. And so we are deceived in a sense by our senses into assuming, or at least acting in some cases, as if everything in this world is everlasting and eternal and will always be here when in fact it won’t.
All things have a beginning. That by the way is the definition of a thing, something that has a beginning. God is not a thing because God didn’t have a beginning. If God had a beginning, He would be a thing, but God is not a thing, therefore He has no beginning. God is the creator of all things. And all things have a beginning. And all things that have a beginning also will have an end. Kings will come and kings will go. Nations will rise and nations will crumble. There was a time when Babylon was not, and then Babylon was, and now Babylon is not again. So all things come into being, all things go out of being. The same can be said, not just of Babylon, but also Edom and Moab and Persia and Greece and Rome and hundreds of other nations. And if you were born at the height of the Babylonian Empire and you had been there to experience and live your entire life under the military genius of Nebuchadnezzar and the financial success of that, the world’s greatest kingdom at the time, you would have thought, “Well, Babylon was here before I got here, and now I am enjoying all of this, and certainly it’s going to last forever. I mean, who in the world could possibly conquer Nebuchadnezzar and take all that he has built? Who could subdue Babylon, mighty Babylon?” In fact, that’s what Nebuchadnezzar said, right? Right before his sanity was taken away from him? “Look at this, this Babylon that I have built.” He had visions of grandeur.
Charles Spurgeon said this:
Looking back through history, you will observe many periods of very tremendous shakings, the records of which are indelibly engraved upon human memory. An empire has been piled up by conquest and cemented by policy and power. Monarchs of gigantic mind have been sustained by armies of indomitable valor, and great dynasties have been established whose reign promised to be as enduring as the sun, but God has shaken, and the diadem has fallen, and the kingdom becomes desolate.
Babylon sat as a Queen and said, “I shall see no sorrow,” but she became desolate and her palaces crumbled into a heap of ruins. The power of Persia wore the aspect of permanence, and proudly claimed universal dominion, but the iron rod of Alexander broke it in pieces as a potter’s vessel. Nor could the Macedonian Empire long continue, but soon gave place to the mightier power of Rome, which, with all its valiant legions, lasted but its time, and then, like a bowing wall, fell headlong to the ground. Even as a moment’s foam dissolves into the wave that bears it and is lost forever, so dynasties, republics, empires, all pass away. As a dream, when one awakes, their image is gone forever.
We want to believe that the American dollar will always be the reserve currency of the entire world and it will be as valuable tomorrow as it is today. We all want to believe that our investments are always secure, that they will always increase in value, and that when we retire they will be there to provide for us the standard of living to which we have always wished to become accustomed. We want to believe that our borders will always be drawn in the exact same place that they are today, that borders will mean something, and that this country that existed when I was born will exist long after I die and pass away from the scene. We all want to believe that there are things in this world that cannot be shaken, that cannot be undone, that cannot be destroyed, that there are things in this world that are not subject to the topsy-turvy turmoil that plagues all of creation. That’s what we want to believe. But the promise of Scripture is that eventually it will all pass away. It’s all going away. That’s not just a hopeful reflection on the future. That is a promise that God has made. It will all pass away. The coming cataclysmic judgment that will fall upon this world will bring an end to everything that is not ultimately eternal. And that is the result of God’s final future judgment. Everything that can be shaken will be shaken. Everything that is not eternal will be taken away so that only that which is eternal remains.
And that is the subject of our passage here in Hebrews chapter 12. In verse 25, we saw that God’s past pattern of judgments against sin and disobedience is a motivation for obeying Him now. God has a pretty good track record. What He has done in the past, He will do in the future. So verse 26 and 27 speak of God’s final future judgment against sin and disobedience. God continues to judge sin, and He will do so in the future. And ultimately all of His past judgments against sin and all of the present judgments against sin, they will all ultimately culminate in one final shaking, one final judgment that will destroy everything that is created and consume all of it by fire so that you and I who have trusted in Christ may be ushered into and receive an unshakable kingdom, a kingdom which cannot be shaken. That is what our passage is teaching us.
We looked at verse 26 last week and noted that that is—the caps there in your verse, in your translation—a quotation from the book of Haggai. And we spent our time going through the prophecy of Haggai to see its significance for the author of Hebrews and the parallels there with the condition of these original Hebrew readers of this Epistle. Verse 27 is a commentary on verse 26, as he is explaining what verse 26 in Haggai is referring to. So let’s read together verses 26 and 27. This is the promise of God’s future judgment. Verse 26: “And His voice shook the earth then”—that’s referring to Sinai, mentioned in verses 18 and 21.
26 His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, “Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.”
27 This expression, “Yet once more,” [notice he’s offering a commentary on a citation in verse 26] denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things, so that those things which cannot be shaken may remain.
28 Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe;
29 for our God as a consuming fire. (Heb. 12:26–29 NASB)
There are three features of this coming judgment that are described in this passage. First, it is promised. Second, it is final. And third, it is cataclysmic. It is a promised, final, cataclysmic judgment. Now we are speaking, or I am speaking, I should say, today. You’re listening, I’m speaking, just to be clear, but I’m speaking of the final judgment that is to come. These are eschatological issues dealing with issues of the end time, the events of the end times. So I know that going into this we have some postmillennial and amillennial people here who do not necessarily share my eschatology. So I will give you grace as you hold your nose through most of this sermon as we do deal with the order and nature of end-times events. I will give you grace as you hold your nose for this. I ask the same in response to you. I ask that you give me grace as I teach you biblical eschatology. So plenty of grace to go along. I show you grace, you show me grace, and we’ll all get along.
OK, the judgment that is described here is promised. Verse 26: “And His voice shook the earth then, but now He has promised, saying, ‘Yet once more I will shake not only the earth, but also the heaven.’” This is a promise of God. It’s given in the Old Testament in the book of Haggai. And because it is something that God has promised, it is an unalterable promise, meaning that God’s very reputation is on the line as to whether or not He keeps or doesn’t keep that promise. If God does not judge all of creation and all sin, then He would be unjust. He would be unrighteous. There’s not a single sin that has ever been committed that will not be judged either on the sinner who commits that sin or on the head of the Substitute who stands in the place of the sinner to bear that wrath on the sinner’s part. But all sin will be judged. Every last crime that has ever been committed is going to receive the full justice that is due to it because God’s character, His nature, is on the line. He must judge sin. “Righteousness and justice are the foundation of [His] throne” (Ps. 89:14). Isaiah 45:23 says, “I have sworn by Myself, the word has gone forth from My mouth in righteousness and will not turn back, that to Me every knee will bow, every tongue will swear allegiance.” Every last person will swear allegiance to Jesus Christ. Not every last person will be saved, but every last sin will be judged. There will be a thorough vetting and a thorough undoing of all of creation as sin is dealt with in its entirety because sin cannot ultimately triumph. Wickedness and evil cannot ultimately triumph. God’s reputation is on the line. Every word of God shall come to pass. No promise of His will fail. Not the ones we like and not the ones we don’t like. We’re familiar with the promises we like. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Josh. 1:5). He “will supply all your needs according to His riches . . . in Christ Jesus” (Phil. 4:19). If you have believed in Him, you will never perish but have eternal life (John 3:16). Those are the promises we like. Those are the promises that fill us with the warm fuzzies. Those are the ones we stitch on the pillow that we put on the couch and we put on the calendar that we hang on the wall. Those are the promises that get there. But how about the ones that say, “I will judge every last sin. I will shake all of creation.” That the present heavens and the present earth—this is what I would like to see. I would like to see a calendar with a beautiful picture of some sunset and then written across the bottom of it 2 Peter 3:7: The present heavens and the present earth are being kept by the word of God for the day of the judgment upon wicked men, and then it will all be consumed with fire. We should do that as like a fundraiser or something. Create those, that kind of calendar.
The same virtue in God’s character that has secured your salvation is the same virtue of God’s character that ensures the damnation of the wicked. Because He is just, He will not punish you for your sin if you have trusted in Jesus Christ. His justice will not allow it. It would be unjust for God to pour out His wrath upon His Son so that He pays the penalty for your sin and then for God to turn around and take all that wrath and pour it out on your head. It would be unjust for God to condemn a single sinner who has trusted in His Son. One sinner for whom Christ has died, it would be unjust for God to throw that sinner into hell if Christ, his surety, his substitute, his wrath-bearer, his sin-bearer has been punished in his stead. That would be a violation of God’s justice for God to do that. Likewise, it will be a violation of God’s justice if He allows one sinner who has no substitute to escape the damnation that is due to them for their sin. That would be unjust. God would be unfaithful if He were to not save the one who has trusted in His Son since He has promised that all who trust in His Son will not be turned away, will not perish, but that He will save them and sanctify them and secure them forevermore. So God would be unfaithful to His Word if He were to cast even one believing and trusting one who has trusted in His Son into damnation, just as it would be unfaithful for God, it would be unfaithful to His Word, for Him to not punish the wicked for the sins that they have committed. So every last sin must and will be punished.
The promise of full and final judgment upon this creation is as certain as any other promise that God has made, and it would be easier for you to put out the sun with water balloons than it would be for you to keep God from fulfilling His promise to judge this world. It is that certain. It must and it will happen, and it cannot happen otherwise.
Haggai 2 verse 6: “Thus says the Lord of hosts, ‘Once more in a little while, I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea also and the dry land.’”
Haggai chapter 2:21–22: “Speak to Zerubbabel governor of Judah, saying, ‘I am going to shake the heavens and the earth. I will overthrow the thrones of kingdoms and destroy the power of the kingdoms of the nations; and I will overthrow the chariots and their riders, and the horses and their riders will go down, everyone by the sword of another.’”
And by the way, this is intended to be a comfort and consolation to the believer. The judgment of God should console us. It should comfort us. When you read in Psalm 37 that the wicked will not inherit the land, but instead the wicked will perish, they will be judged, and they will go away, and their memory will be forgotten, but the righteous will inherit the land, that is intended to comfort you. When you read in Psalm 73, when Asaph asked, “Why do the wicked prosper?” and the answer to that is God gives the wicked those riches not as a blessing, but as a curse, because He is lifting them up so that their fall may be greater and their destruction may be more severe and their judgment more demonstrable. That is why God is doing that. When you read that, that is not intended to make you feel sorry for the wicked. It is intended to comfort you. The imprecatory Psalms that speak of God turning the design of the wicked back upon themselves so that they receive the judgment that they try and inflict upon other people, that is intended to comfort believers.
The Exodus judgments that fell upon Egypt, that was a comfort and a source of praise to the Israelites, and they sang God’s praises for the judgments that fell upon Egypt. I remind you what we read earlier, Exodus 15:9: “The enemy said, ‘I will pursue, I will overtake, I will divide the spoil; my desire shall be gratified against them; I will draw out my sword, my hand will destroy them.’” That is the wording of Pharaoh. It is the enemy who said this. “You blew with Your wind, the sea covered them; they sank like lead in the mighty waters. Who is like You among the gods, O Lord? Who is like You, majestic in holiness, awesome in praises, working wonders? You stretched out Your right hand, the earth swallowed them” (Exod. 15:10–12). And they praised at that.
When Paul wanted to comfort the Thessalonians for the affliction that they were enduring, here’s what he wrote to them, 2 Thessalonians chapter 1:
3 We ought always to give thanks to God for you, brethren, as is only fitting, because your faith is greatly enlarged, and the love of each one of you toward one another grows ever greater;
4 therefore, we ourselves speak proudly of you among the churches of God for your perseverance and faith in the midst of all your persecutions and afflictions which you endure.
5 This is a plain indication of God’s righteous judgment so that you will be considered worthy of the kingdom of God for which indeed you are suffering.
6 For after all it is only just for God to repay with affliction those who afflict you,
7 and to give relief to you who are afflicted and to us as well when the Lord Jesus will be revealed from heaven with His mighty angels in flaming fire,
8 dealing out retribution to those who do not know God and to those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
9 These will pay the penalty of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power,
10 when He comes to be glorified in His saints on that day, and to be marveled at among all who have believed—for our testimony to you was believed. (2 Thess. 1:3–10 NASB)
This was a comfort to the Thessalonians. Paul says to them, “It is only right, it’s only just, it’s only appropriate that God would afflict those who afflict you.” So how are the Thessalonians to respond to that? Paul’s reminder, those who are persecuting you, who are afflicting you, who are seeking to destroy you, God is going to destroy them in eternal fire, in eternal flame. It’s only the just thing for God to do. Those people who are afflicting you, He will afflict them. They will get what is coming to them. How are the Thessalonians to respond to that? You see, this is precisely the point at which possibly well-intentioned but certainly virtue-signaling Christians want to clutch their pearls and say, “Oh, that wouldn’t be right for us to rejoice at such news.” Paul intended them to rejoice at that.
How do you comfort those who have endured a great conflict of sufferings, have been imprisoned for their faith, and had their possessions seized as these early Hebrews had? We find that out at the end of chapter 10. How do you comfort them, except to remind them that one of these days God is going to shake all of creation, and He is going to destroy the wicked, and He is going to usher His people who have trusted in Him into an eternal and unshakable kingdom, and you will receive the reward. We don’t clutch our pearls and say, “I can’t take joy or delight or comfort in that.” Instead, we say, “Praise be to God.” For when He judges the wicked, we will give Him praise and honor and glory, and it will not be in the least bit begrudging.
Now this does not mean that we should hate the wicked. This does not mean that we should seek to do them harm. It does not mean that we should laugh at their destruction or take personal joy from their pain, but it does mean that we can glorify God for His just judgments. It means that we can rejoice when His justice is vindicated and His name is made great and the wicked perish. When God destroys the wicked from amongst society, it should be the natural inclination of the believing child of God to say, “Thank you, Lord, for Your just judgments.” I would long for that wicked person to repent and come to faith in Christ. Yes, that is true. I would long for them to do that in order that they may stop doing their wickedness. But if my two options are the wicked persist in their wickedness or God judges them and stops their wickedness by ending their life, I will choose the second option. That is better for all other people. It is better for human flourishing. It is for the glory of God’s name. That is the type of judgment that is promised, and you and I can rejoice in it because we are rejoicing in the vindication of God’s holiness and His righteousness. And it is even appropriate, I think, to pray imprecatory prayers where we are asking God to end what is wicked, even if that means destroying the wicked among us, as He would do in His justice and His perfect timing, so that the innocent may be spared and that righteousness may flourish and that the wicked may take notice. Those are appropriate and holy sentiments.
Now second—this judgment is promised—second, the judgment described here in verse 27 is final. You see that phrase in verse 27: “This expression, ‘Yet once more,’”—the author quotes what he just quoted back in verse 26—He says it “denotes the removing of those things which can be shaken, as of created things.” So when the author says, “Yet once more,” he is not saying that there is only going to be one more divine judgment after the Babylonian exile. Remember, that was the context in which Haggai was writing. They had come out of exile, and they were back into the land. Then Haggai is reminding them, “Look, there’s coming a future judgment. And He [God] says, ‘Yet once more, I will shake not only the earth but also the heaven.’” So the author quotes that and then says this “Yet once more” is signifying that the destruction that Haggai was talking about was not just one random judgment that was to come sometime in Israel’s future. He is describing not just another judgment but the final judgment. It’s “Yet once more” in the sense that yet one final time there is going to be a shaking, and this shaking is going to be the greatest shaking ever. There would be not one more judgment after Babylonian exile but many more judgments, and there have been other judgments by the hand of God. The destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70 was a judgment from the hand of God. Jesus said that, but that’s not what Haggai was talking about. There are going to be tribulation judgments, but that’s not going to be the final judgment. There have been more judgments between Haggai’s time or the Hebrews’ time and our time. There will be more judgments after our time before the end time and before the final judgment.
There is a sense in which God’s judgment is continual and ongoing. We sometimes think of God’s judgments as being these episodic events in human history that are magnificent and demonstrable like the flood and Sodom and Gomorrah and the Tower of Babel and the Babylonian exile and the Assyrian exile, that these are the judgments of God. You look through history and say, oh, there’s one, there’s one, there’s one. That’s the wrong way to think about the judgment of God. “The wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men” (Rom. 1:18). So always God is judging sin. Always. When you do something sinful and the consequences flow from that, God is judging sin. God is judging sin in all the nations all of the time. Nations going to war with one another is a judgment from God. Wicked rulers are a judgment of God. Yes, these massive episodic events in human history where we see these destructions and these things happening on a global or a national scale, those are the judgments of God. But listen, when a congresswoman who has defended every kind of evil imaginable and has leveraged all of her wealth, all of her power, and all of her influence to promote every form of ungodliness imaginable in the land, her doing that is a judgment upon those who have voted for her. And then when God ends her life after she’s been in congress for 150 years, and God ends her life and casts her into eternal destruction and then pours out His wrath upon her forevermore, that is a judgment of God. And God killing her, ending her life, is a judgment from God. So it’s not just the massive events. Sometimes God’s judgments are national, sometimes they’re global, sometimes they catch your attention, sometimes they make the headlines, sometimes they go unnoticed. When the little old lady across the street who is an atheist, who makes cookies for everybody in the neighborhood, dies without Christ, her death is a judgment of God upon her, and when she goes into a Christless eternity, the judgment of God falls upon her. Reported in the headlines? Nope. God is always indignant with the wicked every single day. This whole world is under judgment. This nation is under judgment. Though there may be many and varied judgments that precede the final judgment, that final judgment against sin will be creation-wide. It will be worldwide. It will be universal. And every judgment, small and great, that has ever happened in human history, has been a reminder of the judgment to come, a preview of what is to come, a seal on what is to come, a warning of what is to come. And the righteous and the wise will take notice and receive the warning that is intended.
So this judgment that is to come is promised. It is final. Third, it is cataclysmic. Verse 27, it’s going to affect all created things because all of creation groans under the curse. Everything is dying. Nothing is eternal. Nothing is lasting. Everything is decaying. Everything is perishing. Everything is running down. It is all temporary. And this judgment that is being described, it will purge all of creation. Just as God’s Word created everything out of nothing, so, by God’s Word, He will decreate, uncreate, and undo everything that exists. And He will do it by fire. Second Peter chapter 3, verse 7—this is the one that belongs on a calendar—“By His word the present heavens and earth are being reserved for fire, kept for the day of judgment and destruction of ungodly men.” Second Peter chapter 3, verse 10:
10 The day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up.
11 Since all these things are to be destroyed in this way, what sort of people ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness,
12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be destroyed by burning, and the elements will melt with intense heat!
13 But according to His promise we are looking for new heavens and a new earth, in which righteousness dwells. (2 Pet. 3:10–13 NASB)
This is not global warming that Peter is describing. Yes, the world is going to get hot. All of creation is going to get hot. Intense heat. But this judgment has nothing to do with your carbon footprint. It has nothing to do with how much you recycle, how much gas you burn. This world is a temporary world, and it is intended to be used up because it is not going to last forever. God does not intend it to last forever, and that is a biblical worldview of creation. This world is a disposable world. It is not the last world. Therefore, yes, we should take care of it. I shouldn’t throw trash into my neighbor’s yard, not just because I don’t like him throwing trash into my yard, but because I appreciate the beauty of what God has given to us and I ought to be a steward of this thing. But I ought not to be afraid of consuming resources and using resources for the betterment of mankind either. This world is disposable. John MacArthur once said if environmentalists get all upset with what they see us doing to the environment, wait till they see what Jesus is going to do. He’s going to consume the entire thing with heat and with fire. This world is not going to end because you and I burn too much gas or we use plastic straws or because we use our air-conditioning too much. It’s a resilient creation that will last exactly as long as God intends it to last. There is a mass extinction event coming where the world will burn. Everything will be consumed, and there will be a worldwide judgment, and that judgment is not just going to be on earth, but heavens and the earth, all of it is going to be shaken. Just as worms will consume and destroy your body, and yet it will be raised up in a glorious, new, and immortal body, so it is true that fire will consume this entire creation, every atom will be dissolved, and it will be recreated into a new and glorious creation.
“Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth passed away, and there is no longer any sea. And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, made ready as a bride adorned for her husband” (Rev. 21:1–2). That is His promise, a new creation. Christ will return, and He will judge the world, and He will judge the nations. He will establish His kingdom and fulfill His promise that He made to David. That will last for a thousand years here, and then after that final judgment when this entire creation is consumed by fire, He will recreate a new heavens and a new earth, and that same kingdom, that same king, and those same subjects will continue into the new heavens and the new earth, and it will go on forever and ever and ever, and there will be no end to the increase of His reign or of His kingdom forever. And Daniel 7:18 says, “The saints of the Highest One will receive the kingdom and possess the kingdom forever, for all ages to come.” And there will be no nation rising against nation. There will be no crime in the streets. There will be no wickedness. It will be a creation in which only righteousness dwells. That is what we have been promised.
Spurgeon said, “This world is . . . a mere revolving ball as to human life . . .; and hopes founded on it will as surely come to nothing as will card houses in a storm. Here we have no abiding city, and it is in vain to attempt to build one. This world is not the rock beneath our feet that it seems to be.”
The coming judgment is promised, it is final, and it will be utterly cataclysmic. And every judgment that falls upon one sinner or thousands of sinners between now and that judgment is a reminder and a warning that that judgment is coming and it cannot be escaped. And so I ask you, wherein lies your hope? Wherein lies your hope? In things which can be shaken and are passing away, things destined to the flame, in a world that is ripe for judgment, in the pleasures and treasures of this world? Or does your hope rest in things which are unshakable, blessings that belong to the souls of the righteous made perfect, things like your adoption, your forgiveness, the righteousness of Christ, the merits of His life and death, your standing before God, the seal of the Holy Spirit, the indwelling of the Spirit, the intercession of Christ for you, your treasure in Heaven which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, the church of the firstborn, the redeemed saints, the kingdom that is to come? These things cannot be shaken, these things cannot be undone. And however the nations rage and whatever happens around us and whatever the headlines read tomorrow morning when we all wake up, whatever destruction has been wrought in whatever corner of the globe that is highlighted tomorrow morning, we have this for certain and this we know, we will receive an unshakable kingdom. After it is all shaken and everything temporary, everything created, is destroyed by fire in that final judgment, you and I will be ushered into an eternal and final and unshakable kingdom. That is your comfort, that is your hope.
And so I say to you, believer, fix your eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of your faith who for the joy that was set before Him ran the race and endured the cross and has sat down at the right hand of God, and remember the encouragement from Hebrews 12, verses 1–3. He sits at the finish line even now, and He tells you to fix your hope on that, to fix your eyes on that, and to lay off every sin and incumbrance which so easily entangles you and run your race with diligence and with faithfulness, knowing that you will receive an unshakable kingdom.