Spring 2015: Winning the Race and Seizing the Prize
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Summary: In this glorious race all may win this incorruptible prize.

The Apostle Paul in chapter 9 of 1 Corinthians likens the Christian experience to a race. The Apostle was acquainted with the Olympic games that originated in Greece even before he was born. He knew that although many entered the race, only one contestant would win the prize at the end. He goes on to explain that the contestants do this vigorous training for a corruptible crown, but as Christians we compete for an incorruptible one, but in this glorious race all may win this incorruptible prize. Paul knew what this incorruptible crown was that lay before him.

Yet indeed, I also count all things lost for the excellence of the knowledge of Jesus my Lord for Whom I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish that I may win Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith. Phil. 3:8, 9 NKJV.

His Eye on the Prize in Christ

The Apostle had his eyes on the prize and would not be discouraged in following Christ. His losses were gains that he might win Christ. What did he forsake to follow the Savior? He was honored by the Jewish general conference of his day (the Sanhedrin). This was the highest authority in the Jewish nation. To become a follower of the meek and lowly Jesus would receive automatic disfellowshipment from the synagogue and loss of his membership in the Sanhedrin. Nicodemus and Joseph of Aramathea were very reluctant to admit their identity with Christ and His teachings. Only when Christ had died did they come forward and reveal their true allegiance. What a blessed privilege they lost when they could have been one of the disciples of Christ for those 3 ½ years of His ministry. Sadly, the honor of men and the pride of life was more important to them. But, then again, they came forward when all the disciples had fled except the beloved John, and took care of the body of Jesus after the crucifixion.

After Paul’s conversion on the road to Damascus, he was ever after consumed in evangelistic service for Christ. He used every opportunity to share his faith with everyone who would listen. Mars Hill is a classic example. His life work and his labors of love for the infant church is an example of true sanctification. None of the other disciples could match the fervor of his faith and the extent of his loving service for his Master.

In Chapter 9 of Corinthians Paul reveals to us the secret of his success in running the spiritual race of faith. “Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things.” One of the temptations that Paul must have conquered was that of appetite. That was the test given to Adam and Eve in Eden. The 40 day fast of Christ in the wilderness was an example for us that this powerful temptation can be overcome as we trust Christ daily for victory. This wonderful promise is given to us by the servant of the Lord:

The controlling power of appetite will prove the ruin of thousands, when, if they had conquered on this point they would have had moral power to gain the victory over every other temptation of Satan. But those who are slaves to appetite will fail in perfecting Christian character. CODF 163.

All works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) must be overcome by those who are running the race and seeking holiness in the fear of the Lord. Those who are preparing for translation at Christ’s second coming must overcome the world, the flesh and the devil. (TM 445)

Our habits of eating and drinking show whether we are of the world or among the number whom the Lord by His mighty cleaver of truth has separated from the world. For those who are waiting for the coming of the Lord, meat eating will eventually be done away with. Nuts, fruits and grains must be the diet of those who will be translated from earth to heaven.

Ellen White has this interesting comment about our heavenly diet. “Will the people who are seeking to become holy, pure, refined, that they may be introduced into the society of heavenly angels, continue to take the life of God’s creatures and enjoy their flesh as a luxury? From what the Lord has shown me, the order of things will be changed, and God’s peculiar people will exercise temperance in all things.” CDF 381. Sad to say, this order of things has not changed even by some ministers today – even the pastor who baptized me was not a vegetarian, but he was a powerful evangelist.

We are not to be mastered by our appetites but to master our appetites by the grace of God. We are to strive for the mastery over self, our greatest enemy, because left to our own ways we are exceedingly selfish. Jer 17:9

The incorruptible crown that awaits the overcomer is the righteousness of Christ imparted to every believer who strives for the mastery over every temptation in Christ’s strength. “The one who stands nearest to Christ will be he who on earth has drunk most deeply of the spirit of his self-sacrificing love, - love that vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up, …seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, thinketh no evil" (1 Corinthians 13:4,5) – love that moves the disciple, as it moved our Lord, to give all, to live and labor and sacrifice, even unto death, for the saving of humanity. This spirit was made manifest in the life of Paul. He said,

For me to live is Christ; for his life revealed Christ to men; and to die is gain…" - to Christ; death itself would make manifest the power of His grace, and gather souls to Him. "Christ shall be magnified in my body," he said, "whether to be by life or by death" Phil 1:20,21. D.A. 549.

The triumphant words of the Apostle Paul comes ringing down the centuries to our time, “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give to me at that day: but not to me only, but unto all them also that love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8. They that love His appearing will be privileged to receive the seal of God and the latter rain that fits them for translation. TM 445; 1T187; 5T216.

What a race and what an immortal crown to win! Let us all run the race with certainty and seize the prize, is my prayer for His church.

Roy Davies is a layman who has a strong passion for writing articles about Jesus Christ. He was born in Australia but has spent most of his life in California, where he worked as as a literature evangelist and a maintenance person.

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