Final Salvation: Running the ‘Race’

This entry is part 2 of 3 in the series Initial and Final Salvation

The God of Creation who created the heavens and the Earth — together with everything in them (Isa 42:5) has set challenges for every person born upon the Earth to “seek Him while He can be found”:

Seek ye the LORD while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near: {7} Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the LORD, and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” 

(Isa 55:6-7)

Once modern-day individuals hear the Gospel message — who believe and then accept the ‘Good News’ by confessing Jesus Christ with their mouth, the Bible says that such people are ‘Saved’ from spending eternity in Hell (Rom 10:9-10). However, such people are yet to run the race God has established for every Christian to embark upon and successfully finish.

“…let us RUN WITH PATIENCE THE RACE that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…”

Heb 12:1-2

The ‘race’ is necessary because there is a Devil dwelling among us who does not like sinners ‘Saved’ out of his kingdom of lies, unbelief, sins, hatred, etc. into God’s kingdom of truth, mercy, peace and Godly love (i.e. “charity” — 2 John 1:3). 

After Satan has lost one of his own to Jesus, his role is to have such people:

  • Doubt what Jesus says (Matt 14:31);
  • Question everything written in the scriptures (Gen 3:1);
  • Embrace the false teachings of Satan’s preachers and pastors in the pulpits (2 Cor 11:14-15) thereby attempting to discourage God’s people from pressing into His kingdom in faith (Matt 11:12; Phil 3:14)

“O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth…?”

(Gal 3:1) 

Satan’s role in the Christian’s life

It is Satan’s purpose to win back into his kingdom every “follower of Jesus Christ” (Matt 10:38) by applying his temptations upon their weaknesses so as to become sinful once again. In this, he wages war against the new Christian’s mind, in his attemp to have him or her ‘backslide’ (Prov 14:14) away from God, and ultimately to withdraw from running the race God requires every Christian to run:

Now the just shall live by faith: but IF ANY MAN DRAW BACK, my soul shall have no pleasure in him. {39} But we are not of them who draw back unto perdition [or Satan’s kingdom through sin — 1 John 3:5-10]; but of them that believe to the saving of the soul [from Hell].” 

(Heb 10:38-39)

To prevent Satan from being successful in his attempts to pervert a Christian’s spiritual journey with Christ (Rom 8:1), God has established that every Christian should “RUN” their spiritual race to achieve Final Salvation.

All athletes run in races, but some fail to complete the course while others finish way behind the pack - due to a lack of endurance.
Running a race

Doing this will see the Devil left behind and ineffective near the Start line IF the rules of “The Race” are faithfully adhered to by the Christian. This has been alluded to in the video titled ‘Initial and Final Salvation‘.

“Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you.” 

(James 4:7)
This image illustrates the stages of spiritual maturity gained while participating in the 'Race' to achieving Final Salvation.
The stages of spiritual maturity gained while participating in the ‘Race’

The above image illustrates the following message for every Christian:

  • The ‘running of the race‘ commences with the New Birth symbolized by the “baby“;
  • “Works” and “Fruit” commence sometime afterwards with the “little child”;
  • The Christian has to continue “Growing in Grace”, Faith, Works and other godly qualities to increase their spiritual life, where he or she finally matures as a “father” or a “good soldier of Jesus Christ”;
  • The Christian’s goal throughout their race is the “Mark of high calling in Christ Jesus” (Phil 3:14)
  • Near the end of their life on Earth, the Christian MUST have competently resisted every temptation Satan has inflicted upon him or her that attempts to “hinder” them in their journey (Rev 3:21).

What does God’s Biblical ‘Race’ represent?

As in any sporting event involving athleticism, the participant needs to not only be physically fit in running the race and “enduring to the end” (Matt 10:22) , but he or she should not attempt to carry any ‘unwanted baggage’ that might hinder their performance:

“Ye did run well; who did HINDER you [with unwanted baggage] that ye should not obey the truth [that prevents you ‘running the ‘Race’]? {8} This persuasion cometh not of him that calleth you [but of Satan].”   

(Gal 5:7-8)
Unconfessed sin will always impede a Christian's spiritual development
Sin will always impede a Christian’s spiritual development

Therefore, if we assume that an athlete needs minimal clothes, together with the right footwear and the correct directions needed to cross the Finish Line, he or she should rely on “looking to Jesus” for His guidance towards crossing the ‘Finish Line’:

Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith…lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds.” 

(Heb 12:2-3) 

What do participants first need to consider?

Any ‘race’ involving athletes can take a variety of forms:

  1. A sprint to the Finish line;
  2. A footrace as part of a larger marathon;
  3. A vertical race up stairs where the Finish Line is at the top of a hill or building;
  4. A cross country race that requires use of directions and aids to help navigate unfamiliar territory;
  5. Other variations of the above.

In the spiritual sense, the cross-country race (4) typifies what God requires each of His children to ‘run’ (spiritually) throughout their lifetime on the Earth.

To prepare for such a race, Christians need to obtain the necessary ‘spiritual items’ needed along the route; as well as becoming spiritually fit enough to ‘endure’ to the Finish Line.

Items needed prior to the race

The following chart provides an indication of what a typical athlete might need to acquire as aids for the race — compared to what Christians need to acquire for their spiritual ‘Race’.

Item # Items needed
for a
Cross Country Race
Equivalent items needed
for a Spiritual Race
Bible
Reference
1. Clothing Your Righteousness Matt 5:20
2. Footwear The Gospel Message Eph 6:15
3. Directions The Bible Psa 119:105
4. Support crew Jesus and the Holy Spirit Heb 12:2
John 16:13
5. Water The Scriptures Eph 5:26
6. Food Sincere milk /
meat /
sound doctrine
Luke 4:4
1 Peter 2:2
1 Cor 3:2
7. Courage Endurance Matt 10:22

Items NOT needed for the race

The following items should NOT be carried in the race as they will “hinder” the participant’s progress.

Item # Items NOT needed
for the Race
Equivalent items NOT
needed for the Race
Bible
Reference
1. Baggage Sins /
idols /
unforgiveness
Heb 12:1
1 Cor 10:14
Mark 11:26
2. Doubt Doubt Luke 12:29
3. Unbelief Unbelief Rev 21:8
4. Fear of the unknown Fearful Exod 20:20
Matt 10:28
5. The ‘Fear of Man’ Respect of persons Rom 2:10-11
6. Lack of preparation Idleness /
slothfulness
1 Tim 5:13
Matt 25:26

Stepping up to the Start line

Firstly, Christians should also have experienced the ‘New Birth’ into God’s kingdom.  If he or she experienced a genuine “birth”, they should be able to explain what each “saw” on entry into God’s kingdom.

“Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, HE CANNOT SEE the kingdom of God.”

(John 3:3)

There is no set day that the individual’s ‘race’ commences – nor does Jesus assign a particular period of time for the Finish Line to be crossed.  This is an endurance race — so “enduring to the end” (Matt 10:22) is the prime standard God uses for His children on Earth to successfully finish the race.

The race will involve navigation from a ‘map’. This involves observing signs and landmarks along the way, so as to reach the Finish Line successfully.  The Christian will need guidance from the scriptures (the directions) and the Holy Spirit (each Christian’s personal guide) for the correct changes of direction in the route to confirm the route from the ‘landmarks’ observed along the way.

Naturally, there will be a “hinderer” (1 Thes 2:18), who will swap or rotate signposts (among other distractions) in his attempt to confuse the participant throughout the ‘race’.  Unless the scriptures are used to confirm the ‘way ahead’ is the correct direction to proceed (Psalm 119:105), the child of God could end up heading in the wrong direction or become exhausted and ‘lost’ because of the hinderer’s actions.

Therefore, prior to approaching the Start Line in this ‘race’, each Christian should have a good understanding of God’s word (meaning Sound Doctrine — Titus 2:1) so as NOT to be led astray by the Devil.

Babies cannot run in this ‘race’

As with most athletic events, there are age groups in which competitors can participate.  All “babes in Christ” must first have grown into some level of spiritual maturity after being ‘weaned from the breast’ (Psalm 131:2; Isa 28:9) — meaning, separation from reassuring doctrines such as “Jesus loves you” by partaking of the “meat of the word” (1 Cor 3:2) that involves “…the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Heb 6:1-3). 

Once Christians spiritually ‘mature’ because of their diet of ‘spiritual meat’, these should progress into becoming the “sons of God” through the following growth stages:

  • little children” (1 John 2:12 )
  • young men” (1 John 2:13)
  • strong young men” (1 John 2:14)
  • fathers” (1 John 2:13-14)
  • a good soldier of Jesus Christ” (2 Tim 2:3)

Therefore, if any of the above listed “children of God” commence their unique ‘race’ as “little children”, it is a course that God has arranged for each of them so they can “grow” into one or more of the other mature states as “sons of God” prior to reaching the Finish Line (Rom 8:14; 8:19; Phil 2:15; 1 John 3:1-3).

Feel free to leave any comments or questions below that you may have about this teaching.

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2 Replies to “Final Salvation: Running the ‘Race’”

  1. Please pray for me so that I can understand and follow after these initial things and grow into the final stages of a believer in Christ

    1. Marcia – thank you so much for you prayer request. Of course I’ll be praying for you. Better still, Jesus will be praying for you to our Heavenly Father because of your response to this post (Heb 7:25).

      We live in the days when Christians will NOT accept sound doctrine as was prophesied some 2,000 years ago (2 Tim 4:3). That is why I have hundreds of hits on my blog posts but almost no response through a comment or an email. By your own admission, you acknowledge that you have fallen short of the Mark of High Calling in Christ Jesus (Phil 3:14) which puts you way ahead of your average luke-warm Christian because you have let your “yea be yea” in your request for prayer:

      “But let your communication be, Yea, yea [Yes]; Nay, nay [NO!]: for whatsoever is more than these [by remaining silent] cometh of evil.” (Matt 5:37)

      I encourage you to read the other posts on this blog and in doing so keep “pressing into the kingdom” (Luke 16:16). This is accomplished by “studying the doctrines published here to show thyself approved unto God” (2 Tim 2:15).

      If you keep doing this and do all you can to “glorify God in your body and your spirit which are His” (1 Cor 6:20) – Jesus will NEVER forsake or leave you, Marcia (Heb 13:5).

      I will be praying for you to keep up the good work and by doing this, “endure to the end”.

      If you have any questions, feel free to send me an email through my Contact form.

      Many blessings! Brother Alan

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