Sometimes, we need to take a break from serving to be refreshed and renewed. But then we need to get back in the race. Of course, we never should take a break from walking with the Lord. We need to get out of our heads that the Christian life is all glory and effortless bliss. There is joy, but there also are many trials that require endurance Acts He was referring to the truth of the gospel, the core doctrines of the Christian faith.
When Paul says that he has kept the faith, he means that he has carefully guarded the truth about Jesus Christ that God had entrusted to him. He had not bought into any of the many errors about Christ that were circulating in his day. His life and his teaching had held to sound doctrine. So sink down some roots in sound doctrine.
Know what you believe so that you are not tossed around by all of the winds of false doctrine. Thus Paul could finish well because he could look at his present: He could look at his past: But he also looked to the future:. Paul could finish well in spite of his dismal circumstances because he had secure hope for the future. You may think that that sounds more like dread than hope!
While there ought to be an element of awe and fear when we think of standing before the Lord, the prevailing emotion that we should have is expectant hope. The world, if they even think about standing before the righteous Judge, should be filled with dread. But Christians should love His appearing. If your trust is in Jesus Christ as Savior, you do not need to fear the final judgment. The reason that you will not be condemned on judgment day is not because you have earned it by being a good person. That hope of meeting the Lord, the righteous Judge, who will welcome us into heaven on the basis of His perfect righteousness, should help us now to run the race with endurance.
Or, is it the reward of eternal righteousness, given to all believers, who have already been justified by faith? Not all received this crown, but only those who won 1 Cor. Some will have their works burned up, because they were not founded upon Christ, but they will be saved yet so as through fire. Others will receive a reward for their works 1 Cor. In this sense, it would be parallel to the crown of life that is given to all who love Christ James 1: If Christ has saved you by shedding His blood for your sins, you long for the day when you will see Him. Clearly, he lived in view of that day, when he would stand before Christ.
The fact that we will stand before the Lord, the righteous Judge, on that day should motivate us to live righteously on this day. I read of a journalist who was in charge of the obituaries. He then found himself writing his own obituary: I have contributed to a number of worthy causes.get link
I have left a reputation of absolute integrity. My friends are many. Perhaps your circumstances seem pretty dismal today. From his dungeon, the aged apostle calls out to you: You can finish well!
- Kay Warren: How to Finish Well in Life and Ministry.
- Gnadenlos: Warum Menschen morden (German Edition);
- Desiring God 2007 National Conference.
- How to Finish Well.
You can reproduce yourself in others to carry the torch after you. View your life as a sacrifice to God. Your death will be a departure to be with Christ. You will be able to look back and say that you engaged in the struggle for the cause of Christ. You guarded the truth of the gospel.
Soon you will stand before the Lord, the righteous Judge, vindicated by His grace. Live in view of that day! A Healthy Transition Deuteronomy Book Review -- Love as a Way of Life. Book Review -- Sacred Marriage. Paul could finish well because he had reproduced himself in others.
Paul could finish well because he viewed his life as an offering to God. Additionally I was struggling with some interpersonal relationship issues. And every Monday night as I drove home, Satan would attack me with accusations of my sin. Out of desperation I began to resort to the gospel. That is why I list this practice as one of the four essential elements. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. In verses 15—17 Paul speaks of our being justified four times.
Clearly in this entire passage, verses 15—21, he is talking about the subject of justification. The reason I make a point of that is because I want to call your attention particularly to the last sentence of verse Now this raises an apparent problem or question. That is, we know that justification is a point-in-time past event. At the time you trusted Christ you were at that precise moment declared righteous by God. The life that I now live today I live by faith in the Son of God.
The answer to that question is one of the most important truths we can learn about the gospel. For the apostle Paul, justification was not only a past event ; it was also a present reality. This is where so many Christians miss it. They can look back to the day that they trusted Christ.
Four Essentials to Finishing Well
In their mind they have reverted to a performance relationship with God. We want to pay our own way. Paul looked outside himself and saw himself clothed in the righteousness of Christ. He saw himself declared righteous. Your sins have been forgiven. You stand before God today clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ. But what about from the time of our conversion until the time we go to be with the Lord?
That is why we need a daily appropriation of the gospel, because it is our nature to drift toward a performance relationship. Going back to those days of crossing the Pacific Ocean and getting those navigational positions twice a day, if we did not get those we would drift slowly off course. And if you do not daily appropriate the gospel, you will drift toward a performance relationship with God. And when you do that, you lead yourself in one of two directions. And what resolves that tension is the gospel, which reminds us that our sins are forgiven and that we are clothed in the righteousness of Jesus Christ.
At the same time, that which keeps us from spiritual pride is the gospel, because again the gospel is only for sinners. And we are now called saints , separated ones. But we still sin in thought, word, deed, and most of all in motive because we often do the right thing for a wrong reason or for a mixed reason. We want to please God, but we want to look good in the process.
And I see myself standing before you clothed in his righteousness. That will get you out of bed in the morning. That will get you excited about the Christian life, when you see yourself daily clothed in his righteousness. And that will keep you from loving the world.
So a daily appropriation of the gospel will keep you from getting off course. About a hundred years ago a great theologian by the name of B. Warfield, who was a professor at Princeton Theological Seminary, wrote these words: Then he continues, and this is important: It is just as true after we have believed. It will continue to be true as long as we live. Warfield , [Baker, ; reprint ], 7: One of the sins I struggle with frequently is the sin of anxiety; not anxiety in general, but anxiety over delayed luggage on airplane trips.
I have had so many bad experiences with my luggage not arriving with me on the same flight that I no longer assume my bag will arrive with me. Every time I go to the baggage claim area I have to pray against the sin of anxiety. Part of that chapter is the account of Jesus and the disciples caught in a great storm on the Sea of Galilee.
As I pondered that scene the thought came to me, Jesus was asleep in the boat for me. By that I mean that all that Jesus did in both his sinless life and sin-bearing death, he did as our representative and substitute. His perfect obedience as well as his death was all on our behalf.
In contrast to my sin of anxiety over missing luggage, Jesus was never anxious.
Jerry Bridges (1929–2016): Five Lessons from a Remarkable Life of Faith
In far more desperate circumstances than mine, he fully trusted his Heavenly Father. And I get the credit for it. By his death he paid for the sin and guilt of my anxiety.
And by his perfect trust he clothed me with his righteousness. So I left my time with God that morning not feeling guilty because of my persistent struggle with anxiety but feeling encouraged because I knew my sin was forgiven and instead I had been credited with perfect obedience in this case, the perfect trust of Jesus.
So I went out into my day not only encouraged but determined that by his grace I would fight against my anxiety. God sees us clothed in the righteousness of Christ, and he wants us to see ourselves clothed in the righteousness of Christ, so that we will come to him on that basis and seek to relate to him through the merit of the Lord Jesus Christ and not through our own works. All of us in our sinful nature are prone to slide toward a works-based relationship with God.
And even though I have been preaching this kind of message for many years, I can tell you honestly it is so easy to revert in that direction because of our sinful human nature. And so a daily appropriation of the gospel is essential to enduring to the end. The third essential is a daily commitment to God as a living sacrifice. And for that I direct your attention to Romans In using the word sacrifice Paul was obviously drawing from the Old Testament sacrificial system.
Those sacrifices are set forth for us in the book of Leviticus, and all of them together portrayed the one great sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ. Whether or not Paul had in mind a particular sacrifice, one of them, I think, best helps us understand what Paul is saying when he says to present our bodies as living sacrifices. That is the burnt offering. I think the burnt offering helps us understand what Paul is saying because two things were unique about the burnt offering.
First, of all of the animal offerings, the burnt offering was the only one in which the entire animal was consumed upon the altar. With the others, only certain portions were burned on the altar, and the remaining portions were reserved for the priests or even in one case for the offerer and his family. But with the burnt offering the entire animal was consumed upon the altar. And for that reason it was called the whole burnt offering. And it signified not only atonement for sin but also consecration or dedication of the offerer to God.
Also, the priests on duty were to present a burnt offering twice a day, in the morning and in the evening, so that the fire would not go out upon the altar compare with Leviticus 6: In other words, there was always a burnt offering being consumed upon the altar. And so for that reason it has been called a continual burnt offering. So there were two descriptive terms — a whole burnt offering and a continual burnt offering. And I think that you can readily see the application that can be drawn from that. First of all, the whole burnt offering would signify that we are to consecrate our entire being , not only ourselves but all that we have.
The Secret to Finishing Well
Everything about us we are to consecrate, to dedicate to God, to present to him as a sacrifice. Then the word continually Leviticus 6: Just as we have a tendency to revert to a works-based relationship with God, we have a tendency to want to take back that which we have committed to God. Daily renewal of this consecration helps us to keep from doing that. Some years ago when our son and daughter-in-law were expecting their first child they had as their sole means of transportation a pickup truck. My wife and I realized they could not put an infant seat in that pickup.
And though he is an engineer, our son was teaching part-time as a lecturer at the local university in order to have more time for ministry among the large Muslim population in the area. We knew they could not afford to buy another car, so we decided to give them one of our two cars. We drove that car to their city and took the title with us. When we got there, we signed the title over to our son and daughter-in-law. At that time the car legally became theirs.
We presented it to them. But not only did we legally transfer the title, we transferred it emotionally as well. That is, once we signed the title over to them, in our minds it was their car to do with as they pleased. We knew that in another year or so they would be leaving the USA to minister overseas. We knew that at that time they would sell the car and use the proceeds as part of their passage money.
When we signed that title we not only made a legal transaction, we made an emotional transaction. Now fast-forward a few years, and they were coming home on furlough for three months. Again Jane and I realized they were going to need a car while they were here. We had replaced the car that we had previously given them, so again we had two cars.
And we decided that we would loan them one of our cars. It happened to be my car that was loaned. During those three months I had mixed emotions. On the one hand, I was happy that we could provide them with the car they needed. On the other hand, I missed my car since I had to always arrange with Jane to use hers.
Now God has not asked us to loan ourselves temporarily to him. The fact is, objectively this has already taken place. You and I are running toward a finish line we cannot see. So run, sister, run, strengthened by the cloud of witnesses that surround our every step. Keep gazing into the eyes of the One who adores you, and run straight to Jesus. Published by Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group. How to Finish Well in Life and Ministry. Avoid These Sneaky Pitfalls. Don't Make These 3 Mistakes when Giving. How to Deal With Disillusionment in Faith.