ImmerseMessiah NLT - Page 396


But others were tortured, refusing to turn from God in order to be set
free. They placed their hope in a better life after the resurrection. Some
were jeered at, and their backs were cut open with whips. Others were
chained in prisons. Some died by stoning, some were sawed in half, and
others were killed with the sword. Some went about wearing skins of sheep
and goats, destitute and oppressed and mistreated. They were too good
for this world, wandering over deserts and mountains, hiding in caves and
holes in the ground.
All these people earned a good reputation because of their faith, yet
none of them received all that God had promised. For God had something better in mind for us, so that they would not reach perfection without us.
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to
the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially
the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race
God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him,
he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place
of honor beside God’s throne. Think of all the hostility he endured from
sinful people; then you won’t become weary and give up. After all, you
have not yet given your lives in your struggle against sin.
And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his
children? He said,
“My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and don’t give up when he corrects you.
For the Lord disciplines those he loves,
and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.”
As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you
as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined
by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children,
it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all.
Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we
submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live
For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they
knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might
share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s
painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for
those who are trained in this way.

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