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Devotional - week of June 17, 2012


FINISHING THE RACE

 

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  2 Timothy 4:7

 

With this statement, Paul indicates that his race has been a fight. Also, he seems to imply that he had been tempted to quit the race. 2 Timothy 4:7. Acts 20:23-24 records Paul as saying:

 

… the Holy Spirit testifies in every city, saying that chains and tribulations await me. But none of these things move me; nor do I count my life dear to myself, so that I may finish my race with joy, and the ministry which I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God.

 

In the last part of these verses, Paul gives two reasons why he was going to finish his race in spite of the persecution that awaited him. First, his ministry was given to him by the Lord Jesus, the one he had persecuted. Paul never forgot his acts of persecution of Jesus.

 

Second, his ministry was testifying to the good news of the grace of God. He was telling the lost that they could be saved by grace through faith. He was telling the saved that they could live their lives by the grace through faith. Romans chapter 7 shows that sometime after his conversion, Paul tried to live by law which was living by his own self effort. He calls the result “death" (Romans 7:9). Then at some point, God revealed to him the life of grace. He began to live it out and the “death” turned into the "abundant life."

 

Paul knew by personal experience that when one lives by grace, he lives out of the resources of God and that when does not live by grace; he lives out of his own resources. He knew by experience that God’s resources keep us running the race in spite of the hard times that always come.