Working Daily Towards a Goal
Working Daily Toward the Goal
2 Tim 4:7 "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." I admire Paul's confidence in saying this without being in the least bit arrogant. Every day I have to challenge myself to walk the walk so that when my time on this earth draws to a close I too can utter these words knowing, that while nowhere near perfect, I have given my all and done my best for the Lord.
One of my axioms is that perfection is a destination, but excellence is a journey and the joy is in the journey. The closer that I get to God, the more time I spend in His Word, the more I find myself lacking. Don't get me wrong, this is not about guilt or shame. That is what the enemy would like to turn it into. He would love to point out all the situations where I have fallen short in order to discourage me. I am talking about the "holy discontent" in my spirit placed there by the Holy Spirit as God spurs me on to be more like Him. The reason that Paul's letters to Timothy have survived to become a part of the inspired Word of God is that they are a model of how God, through His Spirit, talks to us. Encouraging, exhorting, rebuking us when needed, but always, always spurring us on to the goal. Pushing us to get closer to Him, being more like Him and a result acting more like Him.
Paul understands the here and the not yet of the kingdom and so he opens this chapter with:
2 Tim 4:1 "In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom,"
He knows that there is a day of reckoning coming when Jesus will, first appear and reveal Himself to all of creation and, second establish His kingdom fully. In that day what is imperfect will be made perfect (1 Cor 3:10).
We tend to think of salvation as an event; we pray the prayer and it is done. If that is the case then why are there the following Scriptures:
Phil 2:12-13 "continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose."
1 Cor 1:18-19 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
These verses seem to suggest that salvation is a process and the process is finalized and made complete when Christ returns.
Rom 13:11 "because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed."
1 Peter 1:4-5 "kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God's power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time."
Please don't misunderstand, I am not saying that we are not saved until Jesus returns or that our salvation is somehow dependent on our good works. No, a deposit is made in our hearts and our spirit is made new, born again. But lest we forget, our soul and body still remain in their unredeemed form until He returns. That deposit is our guarantee against that day lest we believe that we can earn our salvation.
Heb 12:2 "Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith,"
He has started a good work in us that will be made perfect when the day of His return comes. Jesus gives us the assurance of our salvation. Were I to die tonight I am sure of spending eternity in His presence.
So where does that leave us. We work to continuously get closer to Him, to "know" Him better and as a result of that yielded relationship to serve Him with all our mind, will and emotions. Not because it earns us our salvation, but because through serving Him and getting closer to Him, the author and perfecter of our salvation, we move closer to that day when He will make our salvation perfect in us.
For now, we are fighting the fight, running the race and keeping the faith and doing it just a little bit better every day.
Pastor Jay Molina