Brief Notes

We All Have
a Race to Run

9 December 2023

The lives of Paul and of
the Lord Himself show us
that, to gain the prize
of reigning with Christ,
there is a race that
we must run

The Apostle Paul had a very clear sense that, as a believer in Christ, he was running a race to follow Christ and win the prize of reigning with Him in the coming age, the 1,000 years of His kingdom upon this present earth.

One famous passage in which he expresses this thought is in his first letter to the Corinthian believers:

Do you not know that those who run in a racecourse indeed all run, but one receives the prize? So run that you may lay hold! And everyone who struggles in the games exercises self-control in all things. Now they indeed do it to obtain a corruptible crown, but we, an incorruptible.
— 1 Corinthians 9:24-25

The apostle said this in one of his earlier letters. Later, while he was in prison, he declared that he was still running this race:

I press on that I may lay hold of that for which also Christ Jesus has laid hold of me. Brothers, I do not consider myself to have laid hold, but I do one thing: forgetting the things which are indeed behind, and stretching forward to the things which are before, I pursue toward the goal for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
— Philippians 3:12-14; cf. 2:16

And as he was on the way to Jerusalem he testified that

…I do not account my life as dear to myself, so that I may finish my course and the ministry I have received from the Lord Jesus, to solemnly testify of the gospel of the grace of God.
— Acts 20:24

Only at the end of his life, in his very last epistle, written as he was awaiting his martyrdom, did he have the assurance and the boldness to declare that he had finished his race and had won the crown:

I have fought the good fight; I have finished the course; I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, with which the Lord, the Righteous Judge, shall recompense me in that day—and not only me, but also all those who have loved His glorious appearing.
— 2 Timothy 4:7-8

But Paul not only felt that he had a race to run; he was clear that all of us as the believers in Christ have to run the race as well. Even in the word to the Corinthians quoted above, he exhorts the believers to “run in such a way that you may lay hold” of the prize.

And to the Galatian believers, who had been distracted from the faith to try to keep the law, he writes,

You were running well; who hindered you that you would not be persuaded by the truth?
— Galatians 5:7; cf. 2:2

In the same way the writer of Hebrews also exhorts us to follow the example of Christ so that, like Christ Himself, we may also win the crown:

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 besets us and run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking away unto Jesus, the Author and Perfecter of our 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

Saints, just as the Apostle Paul before us, and even the Lord Himself, we have a race to run today, so that we may win the prize of reigning with Christ in the coming age; we all need a very sober realization regarding this matter!

May the Lord grant us, by His mercy, to be faithful to run the Christian race as we should.

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— 9 December 2023 —