“The Race Marked Out for Us” ( Hebrews 12:1, NIV-UK ) by Carley Evans


Since the author of Hebrews compares our walk with Christ as a race with clearly marked lanes and an easily identifiable finish line, I feel perfectly free to use the same analogy. (Paul often uses the same racing analogy, after all. And yes, that’s assuming he did not author the epistle to the Hebrews.) Here is what the author of Hebrews writes:

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

The “great cloud of witnesses” are the patriarchs and matriarchs of Israel; they show off what real faith looks like! Since we have so many excellent examples of working faith, the author calls us to “throw off everything that hinders.” Whatever hinders our faith, we should dispense with. Then the author encourages us to throw off “the sin that so easily entangles.” Whatever sin remains in our day-to-day walk with Christ, we are to do our utmost to disentangle ourselves! Then, we are to “run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

Notice the author does not call upon us to cross into the running lanes of other racers. He does not command us to grab ahold of our neighbor and drag him or her along with us in our running lane. Each person runs his or her own race in a lane “marked out” especially for him or her. We aren’t able to give someone else our “perseverance.” We have to trust that God provides for each racer as need arises.

We see this in the history of Israel. Each individual saint stands or falls based upon his or her own perseverance and the power that God provides within each person’s situation. Each saint must disentangle himself or herself; each saint must throw off sins that entangle him or her; each saint must run his or her own race and reach the finish line alone (and yet, together with other members of the body of Christ Himself).

“Let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”

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“You Too Were Chosen Out” ( Ephesians 1: 3-14, KNOX ) by Carley Evans


Recently I’ve had more difficulty with the idea that some will spend eternity in hell. Always bothered me that a god with infinite power to save would then allow some to perish. I know there are Christian sects ( cults? ) that believe all will be saved. After all, God so loved the world – the whole world, it seems. Yet, the Word clearly teaches the reality of a hell, of an eternal separation from God.

I also believe the Word teaches that God ultimately is the one who decides. This is so obvious to me I find it hard to understand how others push against this truth. God chose Abel over Cain, Joseph over his brothers, Abram and Sarai over every other couple ( and this despite their age! ), Moses over Pharaoh, Jacob over Esau, Mary over every other young woman in all of human history. That God chooses specific individuals is clear. Yes, I hear you. You argue that God chose these people for specific tasks. I argue God just chose them, period.

Paul writes so eloquently of God’s sovereign desire to save.

3Blessed be that God, that Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us, in Christ, with every spiritual blessing, higher than heaven itself. He has chosen us out, in Christ, before the foundation of the world, to be saints, to be blameless in his sight, for love of him;marking us out beforehand (so his will decreed) to be his adopted children through Jesus Christ. Thus he would manifest the splendour of that grace by which he has taken us into his favour in the person of his beloved Son. It is in him and through his blood that we enjoy redemption, the forgiveness of our sins. So rich is God’s grace, that has overflowed upon us in a full stream of wisdom and discernment, to make known to us the hidden purpose of his will. It was his loving design, centred in Christ, 10 to give history its fulfilment by resuming everything in him, all that is in heaven, all that is on earth, summed up in him. 11 In him it was our lot to be called, singled out beforehand to suit his purpose (for it is he who is at work everywhere, carrying out the designs of his will); 12 we were to manifest his glory, we who were the first to set our hope in Christ; 13 in him you too were called, when you listened to the preaching of the truth, that gospel which is your salvation. In him you too learned to believe, and had the seal set on your faith by the promised gift of the Holy Spirit; 14 a pledge of the inheritance which is ours, to redeem it for us and bring us into possession of it, and so manifest God’s glory.

We are God’s possession. We have the promised Holy Spirit. We are washed clean and blessed by His Son’s blood. We are chosen out from before the foundation of the world to be saints!

Everything is summed up in Christ, all things in heaven and on earth.

“A Better Thing” ( Hebrews 11: 39-40, GENEVA 1599 ) by Carley Evans


The author of Hebrews delineates the champions of faith from the time before Christ, then says that although their faith allowed them to “obtained good report;” nevertheless they “received not the promise.”

“these all through faith obtained good report, and received not the promise,

40 God providing a better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect.”

In order to obtain perfection, these Old Covenant saints needed us. What do we have that they don’t? The author says they have faith. What are they missing that is found in us? It isn’t as if God did not forgive sins during the Old Covenant times, it’s that it required the repetitive sacrifice of bulls and goats and lambs and doves – it required a great deal of shed blood.

What we have that the OC saints did not is – of course – the shed blood of Jesus Christ, the one and only sacrifice. His sacrifice is the promise we obtained; the promise they only looked for as through a glass darkly. The OC saints yearned for a better country – perhaps we should say – a better time, a better thing.

“God Forgets; God Remembers” (Hebrews 6: 10, HCSB, ESV, KJV) by Carley Evans


“For God is not unkind, unjust, unrighteous.”

He remembers your works. He does not ignore them; He does not forget them. Only, your works — for God or for the saints — do not save you. They do not make God love you. Rather, God remembers your faithfulness to Him. He cherishes your loyalty. He honors your obedience.

God forgets your sins, but He remembers your works.

Yes, it is that simple!

“A Sign Of Deliverance” (Philippians 1: 29, HCSB) by Carley Evans


A gift of God Himself is our deliverance through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ. A portion of that gift is suffering for Him.

Reading of the lives of Christians recognized as “saints” either by the Roman Catholic Church or by the many Protestant Churches, we understand that some of us suffer more than others. Some only suffer the slight derision of family and friends. Others suffer torture and death.

One saint – recognized by the Roman Catholic Church – is placed in a cage with a wild boar three times, each time being wounded and near to death but not dying. After the third attempt to persuade the man to deny his faith in Jesus Christ, the tormentors tie a stone to his ankle and throw him into the sea where he drowns.

Hard to imagine that this man’s tormentors and murderers are not convicted as they watch him sink to his physical death.

Therefore, Paul tells us to “live [our] lives in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ… not being frightened in any way by your opponents. This is a sign of destruction for them, but of your deliverance — and this is from God.” (Philippians 1: 27, 28)