Summary: I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy 4:7 Our life in Christ on earth is a journey and a race. It is not won in a moment but in a life-time of walking with the Lord, obeying the will of God and suffe ..
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. - 2 Timothy 4:7
Our life in Christ on earth is a journey and a race. It is not won in a moment but in a life-time of walking with the Lord, obeying the will of God and suffering against sin. Salvation and eternal life is offered freely (Ephesians 2:8) in a moment but the walking out of this grace is every moment of our life on this earth. What greatly matters is how we finish in the Christian life not just how we begin. We are in a cosmic battle (Ephesians 6:12). Throughout Church history believers have always esteemed and looked to those who finished well. Those who either finished their course faithfully through suffering or ended a martyrs death not denying the Lord. When someone died in this way they were looked to as a "sure saint" meaning it was not doubtful in anyway that they are in the heavenly kingdom. These were also looked to as examples of faith, commitment and courage in Christian life. These ones who had "finished the race" were the hero's of the early Christian Church. When we speak of being "born again" (John 3:3) this is not the ending but the very beginning of our spiritual journey. It is in following Jesus Christ faithfully to the end that is willing to embrace suffering.
We are not alone in this contest of life, we run with the diligence and strength of the Lord within us (Galatians 2:20). Jesus became the victor in finishing the work he was called to do (John 17:4). When he ascended it was his Coronation Day in heaven for the victory and race he finished. Ignatius records for us that Paul was martyred: "With Paul, the holy, the martyred, the deservedly most happy, at whose feet may I be found, when I shall attain to God; who in all his Epistles makes mention of you in Christ Jesus." Eusebius shares also: "It is, therefore, recorded that Paul was beheaded in Rome itself." Paul ended well, finished the race, and fought the fight. Paul competed and won the crown of righteousness, through the victory and blood of our Lord. He ran and finished his course. Sadly some do not finish the course well and scripture accounts of these who were heretics, opposers of the gospel, one's who sought after the world like Demas. Paul joins the crowd of holy martyrs who finished well, ended with the triumphant cheer of holy angels. We can now look to ones such as these and know that we can finish well also, the race has been run before and won.