Run to Win
By Arlen L. Chitwood
1. Preparation for the Race
2. Participation in the Race
3. Goal of the Race
Preparation for Meeting the Bridegroom
When He Is Approved
The Willful Sin
Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may obtain it [the prize].
And everyone who competes for the prize is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a perishable crown, but we for an imperishable crown.
Therefore I run thus: not with uncertainty. Thus I fight: not as one who beats the air.
But I discipline my body and bring it into subjection, lest, when I have preached to others, I myself should become disqualified [‘be rejected’] (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).
The race in which Christians presently find themselves is, in the light of Hebrews 11:1ff and other related Scriptures, a race of the faith (cf. 2 Timothy 4:7). The “saving of the soul” is in view (Hebrews 10:39), which is what Peter in his first epistle referred to as “the end [goal]” of the Christian’s faith as he runs the race — “Receiving the end [goal] of your faith, even the salvation of your souls” (1 Peter 1:9). And the saving or losing of one’s soul has to do with occupying or being denied a position with Christ in His kingdom (cf. Matthew16:24-17:5; 25:14-30; Luke 19:12-27).
Thus, the race in which Christians are presently engaged is being run with a kingdom in view; and it is being run, more specifically, with a view to proffered positions on the throne with God’s Son in that kingdom.
This is what is at stake. And there can be no higher prize than that of one day being elevated from a servant in the Lord’s house on this earth to a co-regent with Christ on His throne in the heavens.
How many Christians though know these things? How many, for that matter, are even interested? Christians talk about being saved and going to heaven, though most don’t have the slightest idea concerning what is involved in saved man’s association with the heavens.
Being saved, with a corresponding assurance of heaven, is often looked upon as an end in itself. However, if such were the case, where would the race in which we are presently engaged fit in the Christian life? It couldn’t, for one’s eternal salvation and assurance of heaven are based entirely on Christ’s finished work, completely apart from the race.
One is saved with the race in view, and the race is for a revealed purpose. The teaching so prevalent today that views salvation only in the light of eternal verities — i.e., one’s eternal destiny is either Heaven or Hell, depending on the person’s saved or unsaved status, with that being the end of the matter — is a theology that completely ignores and obscures the Word of the Kingdom. Teachings concerning the importance of salvation have not been balanced with teachings concerning the purpose for salvation.
If ever there was a group of individuals on the earth with something to live for or something to die for, it is Christians. They are in possession of the highest of all possible callings. But in spite of this, the world has never seen a group quite like those comprising Christendom today — a group of individuals who could profess so much but really profess so little.
The message is there, but where are the Christians who know and understand these things? The race is presently being run, but where are the serious contenders? The offer to ascend the throne with Christ has been extended, but where are those who have fixed their eyes on this goal?