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The Daily Word of Righteousness
Our Goal Is To Be Saved, #6
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. (II Timothy 4:7—NIV)
The wicked are not able to enjoy eternal life and they do not want us to enjoy eternal life. So they fight against us twenty-four hours of every day throughout our lifetime on the earth.
We have been called to inherit eternal life. But in order to receive our inheritance we have to fight for it.
Eternal death and eternal life are always fighting for dominance in the Christian personality. The only way we can give eternal life the upper hand is by doing all that Christ and His Apostles have commanded. The moment we become careless or neglect our salvation we begin to move in the wrong direction. The currents against which we are struggling are swift and strong.
I cannot think of anything more worthwhile than to come to the end of one's life and be able to say, "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." Can you imagine how you would feel if you are able to say this when you know you are about to die? Can you imagine how pleasing it would be to the Lord Jesus to welcome home a believer with this testimony?
But to come to such an end we have to fight the good fight; we have to run the good race. Fighting and running are among the most strenuous of all exercises. They cannot be engaged in by people who have been sedentary for a period of time. Prolonged fighting and running are painful as the heart and lungs strive to provide the oxygen necessary for the burning of energy. Running a race and fighting each requires two or more adversaries. The idea is to win. We are running and fighting that we may win salvation.
What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ. (Philippians 3:8—NIV)
"That I may gain Christ!" What does that statement mean, coming as it did toward the end of Paul's life, while he was confined in the barracks of the Praetorian Guard? Was the Apostle still trying to gain Christ or is this just a nice saying?
It is time for a reformation of Christian thinking concerning how we are saved.
Do you not know in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize. (I Corinthians 9:24-27—NIV)
"Do you not know in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize?" I do not believe many American Christians realize we must run a race in order to be saved. Paul does not mean only one person will be saved. He is emphasizing that we must run to win.
To be continued.