Posted by: Bill Hornbeck | May 3, 2020

“Run in such a way that you may win.”

Today’s devotion comes from 1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

“Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize?  Run in such a way that you may win.  Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.  They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.  Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim;  I box in such a way, as not beating the air;   but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.”  1 Corinthians 9:24-27.

—————-

There are two components to winning a race.  First, you need to know the rules of how to win (such as stay in your lane, competitor must run on his or her own without any outside help, and first one to cross the finish line wins).  Second, you need to have discipline to comply with the rules.

First, there are those who know the rules, but they do not have the discipline to comply with the rules to win.  They know the truth of the gospel, but they do not have the discipline to exercise and grow in moral virtues.

In this regard, Paul states:  “Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things.” Verse 25 and “I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.” Verse 27.

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.  Therefore, brethren, be all the more diligent to make certain about His calling and choosing you;  for as long as you practice these things, you will never stumble;  for in this way the entrance into the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ will be abundantly supplied to you.”   2 Peter 1:5-11.

Likewise, we read the following in the Canons of Dordt in the section titled “FIRST HEAD OF DOCTRINE Of Divine Predestination”.

Article 13.  The sense and certainty of this election afford to the children of God additional matter for daily humiliation before him, for adoring the depth of his mercies, for cleansing themselves, and rendering grateful returns of ardent love to him, who first manifested so great love towards them.  The consideration of this doctrine of election is so far from encouraging remissness in the observance of the divine commands, or from sinking men in carnal security, that these, in the just judgment of God, are the usual effects of rash presumption, or of idle and wanton trifling with the grace of election, in those who refuse to walk in the ways of the elect.

Second, there are those who have the discipline, but they do not know the rules.  They have a zeal for God, but they do not know the truth of the gospel. 

In this regard, Paul stated:  “For I testify about them that they have a zeal for God, but not in accordance with knowledge.  For not knowing about God’s righteousness and seeking to establish their own, they did not subject themselves to the righteousness of God.”  Romans 10:2-3.

In summary, Paul himself who had reason to boast and to coast to the finish line, so to speak, said:  “although I myself might have confidence even in the flesh. If anyone else has a mind to put confidence in the flesh, I far more:  …  But whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.  More than that, I count all things to be loss in view of the surpassing value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them but rubbish so that I may gain Christ, and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith, …

Not that I have already obtained it or have already become perfect, but I press on so that I may lay hold of that for which also I was laid hold of by Christ Jesus.  Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet;  but one thing I do:  forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 3:4 and 7-9 and 12-14.

“Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:8.

“For I am confident of this very thing, that He who began a good work in you will perfect it until the day of Christ Jesus.”  Philippians 1:6.


Categories

<span>%d</span> bloggers like this: