Posted by: cindybythesea | February 11, 2014

Closing in on the Finish Line

If you’re like me, you have been watching the Olympics the past few days.  The competitors each doing their best to secure a place in Olympic history. Months and years of training all coming in to focus for this one moment in time. The Bible speaks much about running the race and for those of us who study and watch the unfolding of Bible prophecy, we are aware that the finish line is now in sight. The question I have for myself and perhaps for you, is this – with the finish line now so closely in sight, what kind of finish will I have? What kind of finish do I want?  Am I competing at all?

In 2 Timothy 2:5, the apostle Paul says:

“…if anyone competes as an athlete, he does not receive the victor’s crown unless he competes according to the rules”.

In other words, an athlete may be the best in the world but if they fail to follow the rules and regulations of the game, they will never receive the crown or in this case the gold – in fact, they would be disqualified.

Because salvation is a gift which can never be earned, what then is Paul driving at?

One of the first thing that comes to mind for me is the training that goes on behind the scenes. Months and months, if not years of dedicated training that brings these athletes to this one moment in time. But, what good is training if one never enters the race. In order to win, one must first compete.

As believers, we have all entered the race. The starting line is Jesus and the course that is set  is the Christian life. But, how many for lack of training, lack of will and lack of dedication make much progress towards the finish line. It’s there alright, but, for lack of training many will never see it. Instead, like untrained athletes they spin out of control, coming dangerously close to crossing the boundary lines and never make any real progress toward the strong finish that God desires for all of us. The victor’s crown.

I don’t know about you but, I would like to be able to finish the race strong. In the last moments of any race it is tempting to slow down as weariness sets in. But, then suddenly the finish line is in sight and fresh stores of energy propel the body forward to do what it was trained to do. To receive the victor’s crown.

Brothers and sisters, press on. The finish line is clearly in sight. May 2014 be remembered not for the athletes that competed at Sochi but for those running the race for Jesus Christ.

“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem they shall prosper who love thee” Psalm 122:6

Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus!  Cindy

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. Cindy, how strange…I was reading your commentary and had to reread the last paragraph 3 times to make sure I understood what you wrote. I thought it said Brothers and sisters, press on. The finish line is clearly in sight, May 2014. How odd. that that is how I read it. Could that be the month given what’s coming down the pike? We’ll see. Thank you for your ministry, it truly blesses me.

    [Thanks Nancy! I have been studying the blood moons which I believe are significant. Lending to the fact that the finish is now indeed in sight! C]

  2. Haha, I also read the “May”, and had to re-read it for the same reason as Nancy. MAYbe so! Looking up with all of you, He is with us always, press on!

    • Cindy, I did the exact same thing! I kept rereading May 2014 until I understood it as intended. Come quickly, Lord Jesus!

  3. Perhaps the more pertinent question for Christians is if we become disqualified or fail to finish the race; what then? Do we merely fail to receive rewards or do we forfeit our salvation? Like in any other contest, one must understand the goal and its rules in order to compete and finish the race. I think many have become confused as to the goal and as a result do not know how or even why they should finish well.

  4. The definition of disqualified: To make unfit or unqualified; incapacitate; to make or declare ineligible; take a right or privilege away from, as of further participation of a sport, for breaking rules.

    Stu, I have been asking myself this very question of late. It always seems to take me back to Matthew 25, the parable of the ten virgins because we are talking about born again believers whose lamps have been lit. Those who make it to the finish line are the ones who are filled with the added annointing of the power of the Holy Spirit. We must have enough oil in our lamps to withstand the storms of the peak (midnight) hour AND this effects the quality and efficiency of light emitted by Christians. Sadly, many do not have enough oil, as they have only the initial level, and that is why they can’t make it to the finish line. They simply cannot withstand the storms AND their quality of light is so very dim. They do not stand out in a dark world; they blend in. They become disqualified as the Bride of Christ because they are not ready when the Groom returns. Would love to read what others have to say about this. Good question, Stu.

  5. Hi Nancy – I agree with your interpretation. Allow me to introduce another definition:
    Synecdoche – A figure of speech in which a part is used for the whole (as hand for sailor), the whole for a part (as the law for police officer), the specific for the general (as cutthroat for assassin), the general for the specific (as thief for pickpocket), or the material for the thing made from it (as steel for sword).
    I think that the type of gospel invitation most often preached today resembles a synecdoche. When evangelism occurs we emphasize that people just need to “believe” in Christ’s atoning sacrifice. While that is certainly true, belief only represents a part of the whole gospel message. Other parts of the good news include obeying and persevering (but you don’t often hear that preached). For example in Heb 5:9 we find “and, once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who OBEY him.” Salvation is never promised to the disobedient. In 1 Tim 4:16 we are commanded to “Watch your life and doctrine closely. PERSEVERE in them, because IF you do, you will save both yourself and your hearers.” We are saved only “IF” we persevere. All of these conditions factor into our salvation – not just belief. To put it another way, our inward belief is manifested by our outward obedience and perseverance. That is why Jesus specifically calls us to make disciples; not just converts. Converts may run out of oil and not finish the race but true disciples wisely make preparation for the long journey and persevere until the end.

  6. Stu, to many Christians they would respond to you with…”but that’s all works based – obedience and discipline. My God, is a God of love, mercy and grace.” So many “professing” Christians DO NOT understand the sovereignty of God. This is no small matter. They confuse Romans 4:5. For Paul, justification is by faith. For James, justification is by a faith that works – by a genuine faith that manifests itself in post-conversion works. We know that works play no part in the salvation experience, James retorts that the kind of faith that does not produce works (fruit of the Holy Spirit) is not saving faith. It is because of obedience and discipline that we grow in our sanctification. This is exactly what an athlete must go through in order to win the race. Much is sacrificed in this process. These athletes stay focused on the prize, and for the Christian – that prize is Jesus Christ. This is all tied into the added annointing of the Holy Spirit. Obedience and discipline allows us to grow and develop into mature Christians (through the power of the Holy Spirit), who are not only focused on the prize, but are able to endure and persevere until the end. That in and of itself is a reward! Those Christians who are on the narrow path, are there because of obedience, discipline AND the power of the Holy Spirit in their lives. To God be ALL the glory!!!!!

    • Nancy – Somehow “works” has gotten a bad rap today even though we were created in Christ to do good works. No where in all of Scripture is our obedience equated to works based salvation. People err when they point to Rom 4:5 and claim that all of their sins – past/present/future – are automatically forgiven because the righteousness of Christ was imputed/transferred to them at the cross. Rom 4:5 is based on Psalm 32 where David in a penitent state is confessing of his sins before the Lord. Based upon his repentance, God forgives him which is also consistent with 1 Jn 1:9 where it states that God cleanses us from sin IF we repent of it. Therefore no repentance = no forgiveness and our sins are not automatically forgiven.
      Paul echoes this same thought specifically to the brethren living in Rome where he issues this stern warning to them: “For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”
      I think you & I agree that we are not to take our salvation for granted but to work it out with fear & trembling through the grace and enabling of the Spirit.
      From what I see & read, most of what passes for Christian discipleship is based upon the premise that a believer is eternally secure so discipleship is essentially so that one can mature and gain additional heavenly reward and reach their God-given potential when they cross the finish line. If on the other hand crossing the finish line means attaining to the first resurrection of the dead and ultimately one’s salvation, then suffice to say, a vast difference exists. If it is the latter, which I believe to be the case, then I think believers would see the necessity and importance of being a disciple and following Christ for it’s not about how we start but about how we end up.

  7. Stu, Amen! Thanks for sharing.


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