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Read Introduction to Hebrews

12 that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.

12 that you do not become sluggish,

The word “sluggish” means lazy or slow (He 5:11). A mark of immaturity is sluggishness. “Sluggish” is set in contrast to “diligence” of verse 11.

but imitate those

Hebrews 11 gives a list of people who lived their lives by faith. Jesus is the prime example (He 12:2). It is important to pattern our lives after mature believers.

who through faith and patience [steadfast endurance; longsuffering]

“Faith” accepts the unseen as visible. The words “faith” and “patience” form a hendiadys conveying the idea of “faithful perseverance” or “persevering faith.” Faith will allow us to persevere in the Christian life.

inherit the promises.

The faithful pursuit of these believers would guarantee their inheritance. Abraham was an example of someone who inherited God’s promises (next verse). The goal of the believer is to pursue the implications of his inheritance.


Vitality of the Christian life precludes lethargy of living.


Half-hearted Christians are a problem. There are too many needs at hand. Diligence toward divine things will obviate dullness and sluggishness of faith. Lack of spiritual production comes from sluggish indifference to divine dynamics. Indifference to God’s Word is the beginning of spiritual retrogression and the obviation of spiritual maturity. The reward of faith is the reception of what God promised.