Thursday, January 20, 2011

Finishing the Race


I've made a lot of messes in my life. I have made foolish decisions, stupid remarks, and demonstrated rude behavior. I've been inconsiderate of others, selfish, and hateful. I've lied, stolen, gossiped, and envied. I've been arrogant, unteachable and cruel. These things litter the trail of my life. I'm ashamed of all these things. I wish that I could return and clean them all up. I wish that I could ask forgiveness from all the people who have been hurt by these things, and while in some cases I have been able to do so, there are many others whom I have hurt that I'm not aware of or have forgotten. I'm confident that their memory of me is not a good one and that their negative opinions of me are well deserved. Given the quantity of the mess I might be tempted to despair. But then there's this:

20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:20-21

The grace of God has come behind me and, in an enormous show of mercy, He has forgiven all my messes. More than that, He began a good work in me that He has promised to complete (Phil. 1:6). I became His workmanship in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:10). Now, in Christ, I have the genuine hope of finishing better than I started. I still make messes, but thanks to the Holy Spirit's work of sanctification, I am making some progress. My mind is being transformed (Rom. 12:2), and I am being conformed to the image of Christ (Rom. 8:29). Given my history, it is indeed a tribute to His amazing grace that I have reason to hope that I will one day be able to say with the Apostle Paul:

7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 8 Finally, there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give to me on that Day, and not to me only but also to all who have loved His appearing. ―2 Timothy 4:7-8

2 comments:

  1. Very timely, Pastor Booth. Before falling asleep last night I was meditating on the grace of God in my life and the life of our family. Thinking about where I was when I was young and foolish and what God has done with me all these years. Thanks be to God for the blood of Jesus that washes our sins and gives us new mercies every single morning.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Randy: The(negative)observations from all that introspection are doubtless true since you (like we all) are part of fallen humanity. I can say and have said much of the same about myself, and worse. Nevertheless, I know from experience that you have also helped, strengthened, instructed and encouraged a few needy individuals from time to time. God bless you.

    ReplyDelete