UV 2915/10000 The Race of Grace
Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,
Hebrews 12 v 1
As the dove that brought back a green leaf, a sign of the flood that had receded, the death and threat of death that had ceased, the raging storm that had ended, each of us are part of a great and extended formation of witnesses of God’s will and plan being fulfilled in history and our connected biographies in distinct geographies, times and climes. A witness is one who adduces evidence and experience of some significant happening. While in the human lexicon, a witness adduces evidence of a crime or some mishap or disaster or untoward incident of a negative nature and consequences, a witness of the Word or of Christ is one who adduces evidence of his experience of something wholly positive and perfect- the agape love, the endless mercy, the infinite power and grace of God in Christ. The uni-verse suggests that since we have experienced it first hand and our faith is also greatly strengthened by the testimony of a large number of others, contemporary as well as those who lived before us, we should endeavour to identify and cast off everything that hinders our faith and our testimonial lives, everything that blocks the pathways of receiving God’ s ever increasing love and grace and mercy and blessing into our lives.
Though we are saved by our faith in the remission of sins by the shed blood of Jesus, the Christ, we can so easily be beguiled, tempted, stained, hindered, hampered, harmed by the sin caused by the inherent lust of the eye, lust of the flesh and pride of life in us. We need to crucify the flesh in us and be dead to sinful tendencies like covetousness, envy, pride, egoism, bitterness, greed, loose talk. As Peter wrote in I Peter 1 verse 2, “ lay aside all malice, all guile and all envies and all hypocrisies and evil speakings.” We are called out of the rat race wherein we fight each other into a race of grace where we fight the good fight with our own flesh and spirit and soul. We contend with our own souls to present it perfect and full of spiritual fruit, the attributes of Christ to the Lord and Giver of life. Every day with Jesus should see us better than the day before and this will happen when we identify something that is weighing us down, slowing our progress on the pilgrim’s path back to the Lord, unnecessary thoughts, unwanted habits and ways of reacting or responding to the stimuli of our company or the world, unworthy words, goals and plans that are not wholesome and in alignment with the word and will of God.
Running a race requires discipline- with regard to our training in righteousness in terms of intake or our daily diet of the Word of God, our daily exercises in obeying the Word in all the details of our lives. We have to let go of what is evil in our lives and cling to the baton of the hope of the gospel- the news that ranges from good to great. We are to patiently endure the hardships of the race of grace with the help of our divine coach- the Holy Spirit, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author who put us on the track to salvation and the one who is the finisher, the one who will encourage us with His presence and His words each step of the way, who will pick us up and put us back on our feet when we flail and fall, who will give us the burst of energy needed for the last lap towards the finishing line where He is waiting with the everlasting prize and rewards for a life of faithfulness, discipline and obedience.
Prateep V Philip