“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it.” 1 Cor 9:24
Ask any Christian if he would like to win the prize at the end of his Christian race and the answer is “Yes!” If that is so, how come so few are running the race? Do we not realise that prizes are only given when one completes the race? The sad truth is that many think they are running the race without realising it is the rat race of the world they are running in. Honestly, I don’t remember the Lord ever calling us rats ever since we were declared new creations in Christ (2 Cor 5:17; Gal 6:15). What is the problem then? Allow me to suggest three misunderstandings:
1. Wrong Understanding of the Completed Work of Jesus
That Jesus has done it all for us upon the Cross is indeed true. That simply means there is nothing we can do to earn our salvation except to believe in Him. When we do that by faith, the race didn’t end. On the contrary, that’s when the race begins. Salvation gets us a place in the race. We will still need to run the race that we can finish it well to win the prize!
2. Wrong Understanding of Grace and Works
But what about grace? Does not running the race equate to working for salvation? Certainly not! Working out our salvation (Phil 2:12) is totally different from working for our salvation. In the reality show Amazing Race, the last couple to reach the pit-stop is automatically eliminated because they have not met the mark. As we run the race, we too do not meet the standards of God. When we stand before Him we know we deserve to be eliminated. Yet, God looks at us, sees the righteousness of Jesus imputed upon us, and by His grace declares, “This is a non-elimination round!” That’s what grace is all about. God’s amazing grace keeps us in the amazing race.
3. Wrong Understanding of the Finish Point.
I want to surprise you that heaven is not the object of the race. Heaven is only where the prize presentation is held. Our destination and goal is godliness, to be like Christ. That is why we run with endurance looking to Him as the Author and Finisher of our faith (Heb 12:2). As we run, it is the Spirit who changes us from glory to glory, into the image of the Son (2 Cor 3:18). The closer we approach this goal, the more we are transformed into the likeness of Jesus! To reflect His face is the goal of the race.
Which race are you running in? Are you being pulled by the world and struggling desperately to keep pace? Are you aiming for the prize of fame and fortune? If so, you are in the wrong race then. By the grace of God, there is still time to get back on the right track. Don’t be deceived by the get-saved-and-go-to-heaven theology. Make a decision today to work out your salvation and begin exercising towards godliness which is profitable for this life and that which is come (1 Tim 4:7,8).
Related Post: Keep the Pace