Winning the Big One – “It is Finished!”

Winning the Big One
winner medals

I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:14

In every field of endeavor, one award is considered the epitome of recognition and success. An Olympic gold medal, a Grammy, an Academy Award, or a Nobel Prize are among “the big ones.” But there is a greater prize that anyone can obtain.

The apostle Paul was familiar with first-century athletic games in which competitors gave their full effort to win the prize. With that in mind, he wrote to a group of followers of Christ in Philippi: “Whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ” (Phil. 3:7). Why? Because his heart had embraced a new goal: “I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings” (v. 10). And so, Paul said, “I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me” (v. 12). His trophy for completing the race would be the “crown of righteousness” (2 Tim. 4:8).

Each of us can aim for that same prize, knowing that we honor the Lord in pursuing it. Every day, in our ordinary duties, we are moving toward “the big one”—“the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us” (Phil. 3:14 nlt).

Dear Lord, when I get discouraged, help me to keep pressing on, looking ahead to when I will be with You forever.

What is done for Christ in this life will be rewarded in the life to come.

By David McCasland
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“It is Finished!”
winterr scheme bridge

I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. —John 17:4

The death of Jesus Christ is the fulfillment in history of the very mind and intent of God. There is no place for seeing Jesus Christ as a martyr. His death was not something that happened to Him— something that might have been prevented. His death was the very reason He came.

Never build your case for forgiveness on the idea that God is our Father and He will forgive us because He loves us. That contradicts the revealed truth of God in Jesus Christ. It makes the Cross unnecessary, and the redemption “much ado about nothing.” God forgives sin only because of the death of Christ. God could forgive people in no other way than by the death of His Son, and Jesus is exalted as Savior because of His death. “We see Jesus…for the suffering of death crowned with glory and honor…” (Hebrews 2:9). The greatest note of triumph ever sounded in the ears of a startled universe was that sounded on the Cross of Christ— “It is finished!” (John 19:30). That is the final word in the redemption of humankind.

Anything that lessens or completely obliterates the holiness of God, through a false view of His love, contradicts the truth of God as revealed by Jesus Christ. Never allow yourself to believe that Jesus Christ stands with us, and against God, out of pity and compassion, or that He became a curse for us out of sympathy for us. Jesus Christ became a curse for us by divine decree. Our part in realizing the tremendous meaning of His curse is the conviction of sin. Conviction is given to us as a gift of shame and repentance; it is the great mercy of God. Jesus Christ hates the sin in people, and Calvary is the measure of His hatred.

I have no right to say I believe in God unless I order my life as under His all-seeing Eye. Disciples Indeed, 385 L

OSWALD CHAMBERS

Brokenness: The Process

Romans 8:29-31

How tempting it is to think we need very little improvement. Ask around, and you’ll hear many people concede they could probably use a little bit of “maintenance” on one or two problem areas, but preferably without being caused any discomfort. Yet most will add, “But I’m a good person.” Don’t be fooled—the Father refuses to settle for humanity’s meager vision of “good enough.”

We could say that God is our “interior designer.” God sees each believer as the person he or she will be when fully yielded to Jesus Christ. He then sets about achieving that complete renovation by transforming the individual’s present self into the image of His Son.

An essential step in God’s remodeling work involves removing whatever is unnecessary, damaged, or outmoded. In our case, what must go are the areas of self-will. I can tell you from experience that being a man under construction is uncomfortable! God targets habits, attitudes, and even relationships wherein we act independently of His purposes. He applies pressure to direct our attention to those places so we will surrender them to Him. Then the Lord even takes hold of interests that are dear to us. He does so until we ask a humbling question: “What would You have me submit to You, Father?”

Conforming our will to God’s changes who we are. In the midst of our transformation, pain from His tools may temporarily obscure the beauty of His design. But nothing is more splendid to God than a committed, obey-at- all-costs follower. Submit to Him so that He might remake you into the son or daughter He desires.

A Marvelous Thing

“The man answered and said unto them, Why herein is a marvelous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath opened mine eyes.” (John 9:30)

A “marvelous thing” in the Bible is something that generates awe or wonder. Sometimes it refers to a miracle, but more often to something very unexpected and remarkable.

But the most marvelous thing of all is that unbelievers still persist in their unbelief. In our text passage the Lord Jesus Christ had just performed one of His most amazing miracles of creation—making perfect eyes for a man with no eyes, blind from birth. As the man testified to the frustrated Pharisees: “Since the world began was it not heard that any man opened the eyes of one that was born blind” (John 9:32). Yet these religious intellectuals, so opinionated in their prejudices, refused to believe what they saw and heard. Similarly, “when the chief priests and scribes saw the wonderful things [i.e., ‘marvelous things’] that he did, . . . they were sore displeased” (Matthew 21:15).

There are none so blind as those who refuse to see. One of the saddest verses in the Bible is John 1:10: “He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not.” And, “he came unto his own, and his own received him not” (v. 11). Even when He raised Lazarus from the dead, “the chief priests consulted that they might put Lazarus also to death; Because that by reason of him many of the Jews went away, and believed on Jesus” (John 12:10-11).

Modern “intellectuals” are still the same, rejecting the overwhelming testimony of the created complexity in the cosmos to the fact of a personal Creator in favor of an impossible scenario of chance origin. “Herein is a marvelous thing!” Such people “willingly are ignorant” and “without excuse” (2 Peter 3:5; Romans 1:20). HMM

The Seared Conscience

Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled. —Titus 1:15

But when a conscience has become seared, when a man has played with the fire and burned his conscience and calloused it until he can handle the hot iron of sin without shrinking, there is no longer any safety for him.

Titus wrote in his epistle about those to whom nothing is pure any longer, “but even their mind and conscience is defiled” (Titus 1:15).

Here Titus speaks of an inward corruption, revealed in impure thoughts and soiled language. I am just as afraid of people with soiled tongues as I am of those with a communicable disease.

Actually, a foul tongue is evidence of a deeper spiritual disease and Titus goes on to tell us that those with defiled consciences become reprobates, something just washed up on the shore, a moral shipwreck.

Oh Lord, deliver me from that “inward corruption.” Guard my mind and my tongue; convict me of any carelessness or straying. Keep my conscience alive and active. Lord, I really don’t want to end up a dirty old man, “washed up on the shore, a moral shipwreck.” Amen.

Tearless Teachers Have Harmed Us

Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations…. Acts 20:19

It is not a reassuring thought that the writings of the grief-stricken prophets are often pored over by persons whose interests are curious merely and who never shed one tear for the woes of the world.

They have a prying inquisitiveness about the schedule of future events, forgetting apparently that the whole purpose of Bible prophecy is to prepare us morally and spiritually for the time to come.

The doctrine of Christ’s return has fallen into neglect, on the North American continent at least, and as far as I can detect, today exercises little power in the lives of the rank and file of Bible-believing Christians. For this there may be a number of contributing factors; but the chief one is, I believe, the misfortune suffered by prophetic truth when men without tears undertook to instruct us in the writings of the tearstained prophets. Big crowds and big offerings resulted until events proved the teachers wrong on too many points.

Another field where tearless men have done us untold harm is in prayer for the sick. Thankfully, there have always been reverent, serious men who felt it their sacred duty to pray for the sick that they might be healed in the will of God. But when tearless promoters took up the doctrine it was turned into a lucrative racket. Smooth, persuasive men used superior salesmanship methods to make impressive fortunes out of their campaigns—and this in the name of the Man of Sorrows who had not where to lay His head!

Glamour Instead of Glory

Therefore, brethren, standfast, and hold the traditions which ye have been taught, whether by word, or our epistle. 2 THESSALONIANS 2:15

One ominous sign in the social structure that surrounds us is the false attitude toward anything that can be called “ordinary.” There has grown up all around us an idea that the “commonplace” is old-fashioned and strictly for the birds!

This existing mania for glamour and contempt for the ordinary are signs and portents in American society. Even religion has gone glamorous!

In case you do not know what glamour is, I might explain that it is a compound of sex, paint, padding and artificial lights. It came to America by way of the honky-tonk and the movie lot; got accepted by the world first, and then strutted into the Church—vain, selfadmiring and contemptuous. Instead of the Spirit of God in our midst, we now have the spirit of glamour, as artificial as painted death!

Say what you will, it is a new kind of Christianity, with new concepts that face us brazenly wherever we turn within the confines of evangelical Christianity. The new Christian no longer wants to be good or saintly or virtuous!

Lord, I pray that the pastor and other leaders in my church will so humble themselves before You that nothing but the sweetness of the Lord Jesus will attract people to worship You each week.