During the 2021 London Marathon runner Angie Hopson suffered what she thought was a muscle strain during training, but the pain became much worse during the race. She managed to complete the course in just over six hours raising money for Parkinson’s UK in memory of her mother. However, after attending a minor injuries unit the following day she was told her leg was broken. Yes, she ran the London Marathon with a broken leg. Ouch!

The book of Hebrews tells us to address the danger of carrying unhealed injuries and hidden fractures in our Christian journey. Sadly, the consequences of unaddressed issues and overlooked failings in Christians are all around us, and in us! Yet many of us are well able to keep up appearances and keep our own ungodly thoughts and sinful habits under wraps. Undoubtedly, we fear the shame of our imperfections being exposed and the prospect of cancel culture writing us off. Or even of others using our weaknesses to manipulate or control us.

Tragically a journey that begins with us throwing ourselves heart and soul on the grace and mercy of Jesus winds up with us attempting or pretending perfectionism and hiding our flaws. We trade the appearance of godliness for the reality.

Or as Robert Farrar Capon put it:

‘Paul never said: “While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us, on the condition that after a reasonable length of time, we would be the kind of people no one would ever have had to die for in the first place.”’

The writer to the Hebrews is keen for us to know that Jesus is like an Old Testament High priest but infinitely better! In offering himself as the full and final offering for sin we can be absolutely confident that our failings, past, present and future are fully and completely covered. He is the sacrifice, through his crucifixion, that all the practices of the Israelite priests prefigured and the act of God that underwrote their efficacy. This is where we can put our trust.

We can be assured that when we fall down in the race of life when we are injured or injure others, there is in Jesus full and comprehensive cover for all sins, no small print, no loopholes or technicalities.

Our sin, as believers in Jesus, does not, of course, undo our salvation but it does impede our growth, damage others and tarnish our fellowship with God.

Hebrews 4:14-16 reminds us that our failures are not final. Jesus is concerned for us, understands that we are weak and summons us to rapid repentance and confidently approach God for grace in our time of need.

May you and I be quick to grab the grace and forgiveness he gave himself to obtain for us and get back in the race.