Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This Race is Fixed

 I have good news and bad news about the race that is life. First, the bad news. "The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few." Jesus never claimed it would be easy. "If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, take up his cross, and follow me." "When Jesus Christ calls a man, He bids him come and die." (Dietrich Bonhoeffer) Not very many win the ultimate race that is life and achieve "that which is life indeed." I Timothy 6:19
Now the good news--for those who accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior--we win. "These things I have written to you who believe in the name of  the son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life." I John 5:13
I am reminded of a short conversation in Andrew Greeley's book "All About Women". A Mother and her young son are talking about God, Satan, heaven, and how life is a battle. Ths son asks, "But Mom, who wins?" The Mother wisely answers, "We do, but only on the last play of the game." So the game must be played.
The race is fixed. Jesus defeated Satan and all the powers of hell on the cross. That is why Paul says, "We are more than conquerors through Him who loved us so."
And it gets better. Paul continues, "He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all, how will He not also with Him freely give us all things?" All things. Can you imagine what that encompasses? Not some things or a few things but all things. And I would imagine God's all things covers a lot of  ground. No wonder we call it good news.
So we have assurance as a child of God in this race we are running: we win. But we have to finish the race. Paul always goes a step further after establishing who we are in Christ. He then tells us how we should then live--how we should run the race.
"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. "Let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, fixing our eyes on Jesus..." (I Corinthians 9:24, Hebrews 12:1-2)
So although truly the race is fixed, paradoxically we still have a race to run. And John exhorts us to remember how we are to conduct ourselves as runners. "And everyone who has this hope fixed on him purifies himself, just as He is pure." I John 3
The love of Christ controls us, knowing that "this momentary, light affliction produces for us an eternal weight of glory." II Corinthians 4