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Read Introduction to Hebrews

4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed, striving against sin.


Some Christians overestimate their problems. They need to guard against this misconception. Hebrews 12:4–11 puts the readers’ problems in perspective so that they can get a picture of what God is doing with them. God’s disciplines are purposeful.

Having urged the listeners of Hebrews to follow the example of Christ, Hebrews challenged them to “consider” the opposition He endured for sinners (He 12:3) in their problems they face. This will help them in times of discouragement. Our Lord’s trials were greater than theirs.

4 You have not yet resisted to bloodshed,

Christians have not withstood the enemy to the point where they shed blood like our Lord Jesus. There is a big contrast between what He went through and what they face. They suffered persecution but not to the ultimate extent. The Hebrew Christians had not paid the ultimate sacrifice in their walk with the Lord.

Hebrews continues the idea of the Greek games in this verse. The word “resisted” means to stand against. The image comes from the boxing metaphor. Blows to the head bring forth blood. Blood flows when the body is punched with a vicious blow; the recipient must withstand the knocks from his opponent. This is a metaphor for a believer undergoing persecution by standing against the opponent.

striving against sin.

The word “striving” means to fight agonizingly against—there is a great clash involved in this struggle. The Christian life is a battle. Sin is something to resist. It is the adversary of the Christian. Sin will cause the believer to spare effort in following Christ. It will defeat Christian dynamics. There are casualties in the spiritual battle. Christ’s striving against sin took Him to the cross; He did not give up.


Resistance against sin is foundational to steadfast Christian living.


No Christian should deem himself free from the body-blows in the fight against sin. If Jesus fought the battle to the end, why should a believer think he is exempt from suffering (He 5:8–9)?