Summary: Distinct experiences that the apostle had that got him to the point where he could say "I have fought the good fight..."
I want to be like Paul and get to the end of my life and can honestly make a staetment like he did in this passage. For Paul to reach this point in his life some very significant things must have happened along the way. There must have been some spiritual road markers that he could have looked back on and said that was very important to lead me to this point. Here is what I believe the Bible says were a few of them:
-----He met Christ
-----He Grew in Grace
-----He became aware of inbred sin
-----He was filled with the Spirit
-----He grew in grace
Ther was a time when the apostle did not know Christ and there was a time when he did. For us to lreach the end of our life and have a good testimony we must know that we know that we know that we know. There came a time when I met Him. There came a time when I was saved. If you know that time has come in your life, no one or no situation can every take that away from you.
Paul also grew in Grace. It seems in Gal. 1 that God took Paul of to the desert for some discipling. It was the time that he took out the stinking thinking and put Godly thinking in. It was the time when Paul matured and grew up in the faith. We are a baby Christians when we are born again. We need to mature. For me to reach the end of the way with a good testimony I need to grow up in Christ.
As we grow up we become aware of inbred sin. Paul does in Romans 7. Pauls says there is a principle in me that keeps me from being all God wants me to be. Only the Christian that has been on the road of discipleship will get to this point in life. The carnal nature must be repented of. Wesley calls this second repentance. Becoming aware of the sinful nature brings us to our knees and to a realization that we need a deeper work of God if we are to be all that he wants us to be. A good definition of the sinful nature is one that I heard from Dr. Millard Reed. "The delusion of our own soveriegnity"
In the first 17 verses of Romans 8 Paul mentions the Holy Spirit 14 times. What is the answer to the Romans 7 struggle?---a life lived in the fullness of the Spirit. A life lived that is fully conscreated to God. A life that is entirely under God’s lordship and direction. No matter what your theological position on this matter, the evangelical world talks about this second time when I surrender all. No one knows the extent of God’s demand on our life when we are saved. It is the realization that God wants control of every part of us that brings us to the point where we need his grace at a deeper level.
There is much growing in grace left to do even have one is completly conscreated to God. Paul says for us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. We must be growing in Christ until the day we die.