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Run the Race Peter Simpson

To win the gold medal the Olympian must remain focused on the goal, to win your reward at the Bema Seat the Christian must put forth their very best effort and stay committed to the task requiring exactly the same disciplines as the sports person whatever their activity may be.

The book of Hebrews compares the Christian life to a race. The apostle Paul writes: “Let us lay aside every weight and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus the author and the finisher of our faith”. (Hebrews 12:1-2).
The Christian life is not a sprint therefore – more a marathon that requires both patience and endurance.
The Apostle Paul would have been familiar with the Greek culture of the day and particularly its passion with athletics and keeping the body in top condition. Even some words that the New Testament writers used in reference to the ancient Olympics are now part of our everyday vocabulary.
Those early believers would have easily related to the important messages that God was giving to them through his servants. Paul purposely used running several times in his illustrative letters because he recognised that the Christian life was like a race and the only way of completing it was through discipline, endurance and conviction.
The words of Hebrews chapter 12 were penned to encourage believers who were facing great persecution to “fix” their eyes upon the perfect example of the Lord Jesus Christ who Himself overcame the toughest obstacles such as the cross at Calvary.
Nevertheless as Paul illustrates the lonely struggle of self-effort- his inspired writings also reveal an amazing God of love who has provided a way for us to complete the race with honour.
Sadly some will miss out on gold, silver and bronze. Some will be left devastated and disappointed beyond measure at not attaining their prize. It will seem as a great disappointment.
10 According to the grace of God which was given to me, as a wise master builder I have laid the foundation, and another builds on it. But let each one take heed how he builds on it. 11 For no other foundation can anyone lay than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. 12 Now if anyone builds on this foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw, 13 each one’s work will become clear; for the Day will declare it, because it will be revealed by fire; and the fire will test each one’s work, of what sort it is. 14 If anyone’s work which he has built on it endures, he will receive a reward. 15 If anyone’s work is burned, he will suffer loss; but he himself will be saved, yet so as through fire.16 Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are. 1Corinthians 3:10-17
This section of verses all talk about the test of building (Metz 334). Paul first talks about that there are many alternate material that one could use to build which are opposite of each other (Metz 334). First you have the “rich and durable” which is strong and stand the test and then you have the “paltry and perishing” which is weak and will topple over if bothered (Metz 334). After talking about the materials that one could build a foundation with Paul talks about how the “Day” which is the Day of the Lord will come and their foundation will be tested with fire (Soards 72).

Paul could have used gold, silver, and costly stone as his imagery because these were the types of materials that ancient temples were made of and could convey the picture of perfect doctrine (Mare 207). On the other hand Paul uses wood, hay and straw as examples because these were materials that ordinary houses were made of paralleling this too the false and confused wisdom of human nature (Mare 207). Paul is trying to make the point that if they are careless in what they believe and study then they will not be rewarded with eternal life (Metz 335).

At the end of verse 15 Paul talks about someone escaping through the flames. Here, Paul is meaning that it would be possible for someone to be carless in their “building” and still be saved because of a personal choice, but this is dangerous because it is like a man escaping from a fire (Metz 335). Paul is warning the Corinthians of the dangers of doing “spiritual work with carnal, selfish, or inferior motives” (Metz 335). In these verses Paul is telling them that righteousness will be rewarded (Soards 74).
Matthew Henry remarks on 1Corinthians 3:10-17. There is a day coming that will show our actions in the true light, without covering or disguise. Those who spread the true and pure Gospel, doctrines and love of the Lord Jesus Christ, and whose work will abide in the great day, shall receive a reward. And how great! How much exceeding their reward! There are others, whose corrupt opinions and doctrines, or vain inventions and usages in the worship of God, shall be made known, disowned, and rejected, in that day. This is plainly meant of a figurative fire, not of a real one; for what real fire can consume religious rites or doctrines? And it is to try every man's works, those of Paul and Apollos, as well as others. Let us consider the tendency of our undertakings, compare them with God's word, and judge ourselves, that we be not judged of the Lord.
7 For we live by faith, not by sight. 8 We are confident, I say, and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord. 9 So we make it our goal to please him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. 10 For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each of us may receive what is due us for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad.
11 Since, then, we know what it is to fear the Lord, we try to persuade others. What we are is plain to God, and I hope it is also plain to your conscience. 12 We are not trying to commend ourselves to you again, but are giving you an opportunity to take pride in us, so that you can answer those who take pride in what is seen rather than in what is in the heart. 13 If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. 14 For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
16 So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. 17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come; The old has gone, the new is here! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. 2 Corinthians Ch5 v 7-21
Matthew Henry remarks on 2 Corinthians Ch5 v 10,11we must all appear; the great Judge before whose judgment-seat we must appear, the Lord Jesus Christ, who himself will appear in flaming fire; the recompense to be then received, for things done in the body, which will be very particular (unto every one), and very just, according to what we have done, whether good or bad. The apostle calls this awful judgment the terror of the Lord (2 Corinthians 5:11), and, by the consideration thereof, was excited to persuade men to repent, and live a holy life, that, when Christ shall appear terribly, they may appear before him comfortably. And, concerning his fidelity and diligence, he comfortably appeals unto God, and the consciences of those he wrote to: We are made manifest unto God, and I trust also are made manifest in your consciences.
Paul again states in 1 Corinthians 9:24 - “They all run to obtain the prize”. What an encouraging thought today.
You or I may not be able to run or partake in an Olympic or great sporting event, but with God we are already assured of a great reward we keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we compete in race of life.
In order to win with God, let’s not forget, however, that we must be willing to lay aside the sinful habits and attitudes that hold us back and instead fix our eyes on Jesus. “Ye did run well, who hath hindered you” adds the apostle Paul to the believers of his own day.
Only by focusing on and following his example of love, surrender and obedience can we win the race. Jesus told his followers - “But he that shall endure until the end shall be saved”. (Matthew 24:13).
Run so that we may obtain what God has in store for us today. In life’s struggles, persecutions and trials, strive toward endurance and seize the destiny that God has promised us. Get ready to set aside any selfish ambitions and be a victorious in Jesus Christ.
Paul also writes: “This one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus”. (Phil 3:13-14).”
If we fight the good fight and finish the course, if we keep the faith then we are promised a crown of righteousness which the Lord the righteous judge will award to us on that great day.
Forget the negative things in life and press on with God is the essence of what Paul is saying - the prize awaits and the prize is worth it – the Lord Jesus Christ.
We may not stand upon any podium, but we will stand in heaven and get to hear those most sought after words from Christ Himself – “Well done good and faithful servant”.
But always remember, "For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast." Ephesians 2:8-9. The concept of grace is unknown among the pagan gods, idols, cults and false religions invented by man. All those who practice these false religions to some degree are seeking to merit or earn the right to heaven. However, true biblical Christianity is in a class all by itself because salvation is received by FAITH based on solely the GRACE of God.
Sadly, even among the "Christian" religions there are those who do not understand God's grace, Christ's atoning work or biblical salvation. These misguided churches teach a false salvation, based on adding men's good works, church membership, baptism, and a host of other religious acts to biblical grace. They teach that man is saved by God's grace plus the added righteous works of man.
Their assumption is that they can somehow work for their salvation degrades the Christ's suffering and death on the cross for the sins of mankind. However the Word of God explains in Romans 5:12-21 that death came upon all men because of the sin of Adam. Further God says, "For if through the offense of one many be dead, much more the grace of God, and the gift by grace, which is by one man, Jesus Christ, hath abounded unto many" (Rom. 5:15).
Nowhere in this passage or anywhere else in the Bible does God say a man can in any way justify himself. The atoning for sin was the sole work of Jesus Christ, the Son of God who was without sin. The Bible says:
"Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."(Acts 4:21)
It is solely Jesus Christ who atoned for sin and no man can offer his own righteousness for his sins, because all men are born sinners and under the condemnation of sin. This erroneous doctrine of grace plus works is not God's plan of salvation, and therefore damns those that believe it to the devil's hell.
What then is Grace? The dictionary defines Grace as..."disposition to grant something freely the condition or fact of giving favour. In theology it means the "unmerited love and favor of God towards man." Further the word refers to the divine influence of God to change a sinful man and make him pure and justify him before a holy and righteous God.
Thus grace by its definition and nature is something which is freely given to man by His Creator in which there is no requirements is set other than to freely receive it. Heaven is not earned....nor deserved, but offered as the free gift of God.
It is after we are saved that we are compelled to use our God given gifts and talents to serve our saviour with a heart of gratitude and thanksgiving. Having gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, in proportion to our faith; if service, in our serving; the one who teaches, in his teaching; the one who exhorts, in his exhortation; the one who contributes, in generosity; the one who leads, with zeal; the one who does acts of mercy, with cheerfulness. Romans 12:6-8
Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ. For the wrongdoer will be paid back for the wrong he has done, and there is no partiality. Colossians 3:23-25

"From now on, every generation will call me blessed! For He, the Mighty One, is holy, and he has done great things for me. And God will show his mercy to every generation who will worship and serve him." Luke 1:48b-50
Mary knew that faith and obedience are the keys to God's blessing, so she chose to go with God's destiny for her life.
I want God to bless your life. I want him to bless you. I want him to bless you. But if you have a plan for your life without putting God first, I'll tell you, you're on your own.
God did not put you on earth to live for yourself. He put you on earth for something much bigger than that. And when you go with his plan for your life, he will bless it.
Mary could sing about God's plan for her life because she was excited about it; even though it would cause her problems, people would misunderstand her, and she would be accused of wrongdoing, Mary trusted God. She knew God would bless her and that generations to come would remember what God did through her.
The same thing is true of your life too. What you do with your life will be remembered not just on earth but in eternity forever and ever.
Could Mary have said no to God's destiny for her life? Yes. God never forces you to go with his plan because he wants you to choose to love him. That's why he gave you a free choice instead of making you a puppet. That's why the vast majority of people miss God's destiny. They choose to go their own way instead of saying, like Mary, "whatever you want to do with me, I'm your servant and I accept your destiny for my life."
No other race on earth can guarantee such success. Dr J Vernon Magee translates Hebrews 12 like this – “Let us now get out of the grandstand, let us get down unto the racecourse of life and let us do whatever God has called us to do wherever he has called us to live, move and have our being. Let us run the Christian race and let us go for gold and for God”.
See separate Study on
(A word of explanation and clarification) about The Doctrine of Rewards, BEMA SEAT “WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO ME”?


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